It’s all too common for businesses to view digital platforms as individual silos – Facebook, Instagram, reviews, website, LinkedIn, YouTube – when they should view them as a collective whole. This is how their customers are viewing their business and so businesses themselves should take the customer lens and apply it to their own company.
A common mistake businesses often make is they view their online channels as independent entities from each other, but the reality is they are all interconnected – especially in the eyes of their customers and how they interact with a brand online. Often, customers will touch all available digital channels a business is on before making any sort of direct contact with the brand.
We should now know that businesses get judged online. A prospective customer will enter a business’s website, read their reviews, go to their social platforms, and from this, evaluate and make a decision about the brand. This is all before they’ve even submitted an enquiry, received a quote or called the store or office.
Before starting a new campaign or promotion, business should first complete an audit of all their digital channels. This involves looking at what social platforms they use and assess how they’re performing across the board. If one of your social platforms is well maintained but another is looking abandoned, you need to sort out the latter before moving forward with any new campaigns.
One element that’s crucial to your online presence but all too often gets ignored, is online reviews. All reviews need attention and must be responded to. Customers don’t book anything without first reading reviews and how the business has responded to them. The way a company responds to reviews, good and bad, gives the reader insight into how they handle crisis management and what their customer service looks like.
Having a PR strategy around your brand or the key stakeholders in your business is important for when people are researching your business. What they discover will impact their decision on whether you’re the right brand fit for them and build instant confidence and trust. The most effective way to do that is have third-party credibility through an industry publication: a non-bias publication where your brand and business is featured.
Then comes social media. It’s where your audience is – so, it can’t be ignored. It’s essential that businesses make sure that if they’re going to have any social media platform, it’s regularly updated and has good quality creative and images.
Lastly, it’s about website experience. After potential customers have read a business’ reviews, seen a couple of industry related publications about them, and looked at their social media, they’ll head to their website.
Your website experience has to reflect the customer experience they’re going to receive when they finally sign up. It needs to be tidy, uncluttered, fast, efficient and informative. These are the questions you need to ask yourself.
When it comes to digital, you have to consider everything. It’s non-negotiable because it’s how you future-proof your business. Your customers are going to come increasingly from online, so you need to be ready by having it well maintained and designed to make it as enjoyable for the user as possible. You can’t afford not to.
Sonia Majkic and Tamara Alaveras, Co-founders and Managing Directors, 3 Phase Marketing