14 differences in digital communication that managers, marketers and entrepreneurs should know
Ogilvy has always known how to say the right things in the right way. I agree, that there is no digital marketing, only good marketing. A lot of people seem to forget that going digital is not the magic pill, but doing marketing well, is. At the same time, it is vital to know a few differences that digital and regular marketing or communication in general has.
There are a variety of communication models created throughout the years, each one more complicated then the other. One of my favorites is the one below, that is still rather simplistic. This transmission model of communication, (photo from here) shows how there is the message deliverer with his/her goal and message, the message itself and the person who receives the message but who also has his/her own presumptions, knowledge and expectations. Around with all that there is the noise that can be coming from variety of things, and there is the channel used to convey the message. I believe that digital communication which is basically the „channel“ to convey the message is also the biggest noise disturbing the clarity of message. Anyone who uses digital communication, thus, should be aware of the differences and special sides of it. If you are a blogger, management consultant or social media marketer or a regular person, who is researching Google for information, then you should be aware of the important sides of digital communication.
14 nuances of digital communication
Information is easily accessible. And there is a lot of it.
There is not a thing you can’t find from Google. Or Youtube. That means you have to be a skillful searcher and make a difference from bad and good quality of what you find. You can find useful information but also information that is distracting or plainly fake. The latter is more common in the light of recent Events (fake news issue).
There are more channels to choose from then ever before.
You can choose from social media channels, from channels using videos, pictures or texts. You can create your own portal or use channel created by someone else. No more restricted corporate-managed channels that “everybody” follows and that is hard to access and use as your message board.
It is easy to be the first one to say what you want to say in a way you want to say it.
The first commandment of public relations is that you have to be the first one to define the situation. Digital channels make it possible to easily and quickly put your message out there without others censoring it and disseminate it to huge audience. You can also be visible with new and up to date information to your audiences without much effort.
We are all public figures.
Even if you have decided not to put information about yourself in the world wide web, someone else can do it (unknowingly) for you. Accidental photograph, your listings in sports events that are public. This makes everyone also vulnerable and controllable. If you are lying, it is easy to others to figure that out and reproach you with memes like it happened with Pow Wow when he claimed to be in a private jet but wasn’t.
Message reaches far quickly and is forgotten even faster.
The message you put out in the web has the potential to reach everywhere in the world where there is Internet. At the same time, there are many more people and businesses who release their information and with this pushes your information – be it a blogpost, Instagram photo or status update below and makes it invisible. Demanding you to update and update and update your messages. This need has created a situation where both people who put messages out and who are looking for them, have the FOMO, fear of missing out.(of information).
Sure, it is easy to create a false identity. There are millions of fake accounts, people with hidden names and anonymous commentators. At the same time it pays to have a proper, well formed information about you available and easy to find. This way people can check your profile and figure out if you are trustworthy or not. That is why LinkedIn profiles are so useful for management and expert careers. Your words and actions both in real life and online should be similar, because it is being checked by people you meet. The easiest way to do that is to be authentic in your actions and in your self-presentation.
Influencers as guarantee for quality (?) and choice makers.
Digital world has made it possible for vast amount of people to come into limelight without any particular expenses. I believe that 2018 will be the rise of influencers, the bloggers, Instagram celebrities, content creators and tweeters in making consumers feel and act in a certain way about a product, societal issue or other people. It is possible because each influencer speaks to his/her strengths, to people who get him/her and want to be him/her. That makes it much easier to persuade then any corporation can. Thus, personal branding is more important than ever before. You, just like anyone else has a chance to stand out, design your work and life and define your success.
Quality is important. Consistency and creative content is more important.
Many of my clients struggle because they feel like they are bad writers or don’t know grammar well enough. I say that these things can be sacrificed and are manageable if your content is creative, relevant and you do it consistently. The fact that you HAVE something to show is more important than the fact that you have some typing errors. Sure, when you claim to be the most detail oriented person, small mistakes are bad for your brand and make the reader doubt your words, but if you are an activist, the few mistakes are not that big of a deal.
The results of communication are easier to measure.
It has been always an issue for PR managers to express the results in numbers or euros. It just doesn’t work that way and it takes a lot of time both for the message to go out there and the message to have the influence AND the message to pay back in euros. With digital communication, things are a bit easier IF you know how to do it. It is easy to add trackers to your campaigns and have the data show how when who where got the which product and made which sale. But yes, first you need to have the skill to measure digital marketing campaigns.
World is in one place, online environment.
If you are a new entrepreneur or start bringing a new product/service or an idea to the market, first question you ask is “Where are my customers?”. In digital world, the answer is: online. Finding clients in the real world may be quite tiresome, needs thorough analysis and sometimes quite a huge amount of money. And can be geographically challenging. In digital marketing, the path is much shorter. Usually they are also cheaper if your customers are online in the first place.
Digital marketing means that you need to be a great time manager. Especially when you are not the best in marketing and if you don’t know or don’t have strategies and goals to measure against (in this case, do please start with goals and strategies!). If you are good in those things, digital marketing can offer fast success and profits. This is the reason why online businesses are popular among those wanting to live life as digital nomads, free from place-constraints. For them, the focus is to automate a digital product and thus lessen the amount of time spent on work and use it to do something else (sleep under the palm tree, for example, or be a volunteer in Bali, raise a family). If your client is not mainly online or your service is not easily automated, digital marketing can be a waste of time in a large scale.
New skills needed.
It is no news that everything related to IT and computers is a hot topic and a hot skillset to have. The more you know, the better it is for you and your career. Even if you don’t like it. I still have hard time with social media marketing because I like the traditional ways more. But I know that to be successful and ahead of others one must be aware and skilful in digital marketing, programming and information research and analysis.
What is allowed to Beyoncé in social media is not allowed to you? The flexible stiff rules.
We are bound by many rules and norms. If you are a corporate marketer, you have to follow the company values and style. If you use a certain channel, you kind of have to follow those rules. Ever seen a blog post about “10 rules to gain followers in Instagram?” Though these are important rules to follow (sometimes, oftentimes), digital communication rules give us a freedom to create our own rules. If you are good at what you do and you have the power to influence, regular social media rules will not matter to you, you will make your own. Your general personal brand, identity and personality and skillset, proven record of accomplishment is still what counts most. Have a look at Beyoncé’s Instagram, she won’t follow regular rules because she is the Queen B who has her personal brand written in stars.
Clarity of the message is most important of all.
What do you want to say with your website? Your Facebook feed? Your Instagram photo? Why are you doing what you do and why I as a follower should care? Why is what you do different from the other professionals? A lot has been said already, but if you are authentic, know your field and sincerely want to make a change, add value with your message, product, service then there is always YOUR WAY of saying and doing things. The right words will come. Starting with digital marketing, it is wise then to set your digital communication strategy, your personal brand promise. May it be the basis of everything you do and you cannot fail.
Authenticity, personality and ability to control
We can’t escape from digital communication so we must embrace it and distinguish it from traditional way of communicating. I believe that authenticity, personality and the fact that the information laid out is easily controlled are the key features you must keep in mind in your marketing and communication. Expressing yourself as you are is the most powerful tool you have and digital communication surely enhances it.
— Lucy Richardson (@Saint_Louisan) May 10, 2017
Share your thoughts on digital communication
What is your experience in digital communication? Do you have questions? Will you need some support in bringing your personal message out and show your personal brand? Do write me email@example.com
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