The Art of Digital Communication: Picking Your Sandboxes
Gone are the days when the only social opportunities on the Internet where to be had in forums and chatrooms. The advance of technology is not only fun, it affords us the opportunity to reach people in ways we hadn’t even imagined a decade prior.
Digital marketing and social media marketing aren’t one size fits all solutions to marketing your business online. Any good online marketing endeavor is backed up by research, planning and strategy.
And, boy, are there a lot of channels to choose from right now.
How does a business owner decide which sites, platforms or digital marketing techniques to invest their time, energy, and money in?
Where Does Your Audience Play?
If you haven’t built your brand messaging and defined your target audience yet, go do that first and then come back to this article. (I’ll wait….)
Once you have your target audience defined, it’s time to figure out where the bulk of them spend their time online. What sandboxes do your potential clients play in? This is THE golden ticket for pre-vetting your prospects. In a permission-based marketing world, you need to locate your people and then convince them that what you offer is worth paying attention to.
The first step, is finding where they are. Do some market research, set up a poll, call up people and ask - find a way to track and measure where your ideal clients prefer to go when they are browsing the web.
Does It Make Sense for Your Business?
Not all sandboxes (or platforms) fit with every business, industry or niche. If your target audience is on Pinterest, but your biz doesn’t photograph well - you are going to need to get pretty creative in order to be viable and interesting on that platform.
Likewise, if you want to do something local - marketing to a national (or global) audience might not be for you.
If your people are playing there, but you can’t find a way to make it work, don’t force it. Just find another sandbox where your audience hangs out that works better.
Does it Make Sense for You?
This is where I see people slip all the time. I’ve heard a lot of marketing and social media people say otherwise, but my heart-felt belief is that if you don’t enjoy using the platform, you aren’t going to be successful on it. Every once in a while I’ll hear someone say that they can’t stand Facebook or that they don’t understand Snapchat, but that everyone is telling them they need to have a presence there.
Let’s think about this for a minute…
If you can’t stand using Facebook, how will you engage with your followers?
If you don’t understand Instagram, what will you do once you get someone’s attention?
If you think Twitter moves too fast, how will you keep up?
Yes, you can hire someone to handle your engagement. You can bring on a community manager to deal with the ‘nonsense.’ I'm not even saying that’s a bad idea. In the fast-paced world of social media, a moderator or community manager can be a godsend.
However, do you think the most successful influencers on social media never use the channel? It’s a hard truth but those who use Facebook best are going to be the ones who use it regularly, love its features, and understand how the platform works. The most successful brands on YouTube are not companies that post blindly without spending time watching any videos or responding to comments.
In the magazine world, editors encourage writers to read the publication first to make certain that their submissions will match the voice, tone, feel of the final product. To ensure that their readers enjoy the same level of consistency they signed up for. This is no less true when it comes to online marketing - if you don’t enjoy it, don’t play there. There are literally dozens of different marketing strategies to choose from. Just because ‘everyone is doing it’, doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.
In fact, you’ll probably be more effective playing in a sandbox that you actually enjoy. Marketing can, and should, be fun! I give you permission to buck what’s trendy and follow what resonates with you instead - find your audience, deliver value, connect and convert!