Three Ways Brands Can Maximize Digital Channels in the Social Media Era

by Gregg on March 31, 2012

Last week, Phil Gerbyshak and I used our blogs to dissect why some brands appear to be neglecting their websites for social media, along with the potential implications. Today, Phil and I are going to conclude this miniseries by providing six tips on how brands can more effectively utilize all available digital channels, including its primary website(s). I’m posting three here at Branding Bricks and Phil is posting three at his blog.

I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever approach is ultimately implemented begins with not just a content strategy, but a content philosophy. Like any philosophical position, it has to be supported by rationale and reason, and it has to have adherents. In other words, it’s not enough to simply mandate policy – an approach has to have buy-in from across the enterprise, not just those who will be implementing it. In short, everyone has to believe in it.

Taken through this lens, then, I submit to you three ways brands more effectively utilize its primary website(s) in the social media era.

  1. All roads lead to Rome. That phrase resonates from ancient times, and the same principle applies. If a brand’s primary website is Rome, then the social media channels it chooses to leverage could each be viewed as roads that lead back to Rome. Rome was the center of the known universe at its height, and so it must be for a brand’s primary website – the place where rich content that solves problems is found. The social media channel, and the engagement, are merely the gateway to that deeper experience with the brand.
  2. The relentless, efficient conquest. Rome conquered most of its known the world, and did so by being efficient and relentless. Brands can apply this to its website(s) by streamlining the content development and approval processes (including legal), so changes can be made more frequently, thus providing something new on a near-constant basis. If your brand views a website update as an event that comes and goes and is quickly forgotten, it’s time to change the philosphy.
  3. The importance of advisory. In many ways, the Roman Senate operated similiarly to our own political system – bills introduced and voted on, impassioned speeches, etc. Truth be told, the emperor had most of the power, reducing the Senate to an advisory role, but consider the importance to the efficiency with which the Roman government operated and apply it to a brand’s primary website(s). For example, many print publications have an editorial board that advises on the content and presentation. Why not create an website board of review, consisting of third parties (customers, vendors, etc.) which can comment periodically throughout the year via electronic survey  – i.e., is the content and presentation remaining true to the brand’s core vision?

I’m a firm believer in the T.A.M.I. principle (Think, Act, Measure, Improve), which is really a philosopical approach to just about anything -including websites. The most important component, in my opinion, is thinking, which is the basis of all philosophy.

Good thinking from the very beginning will benefit a brand’s cross-channel digital experience, including – and especially – target audiences’ website interaction. Lack of thinking will lead to a website in perceived disarray – which is something Phil and I, and probably you, have noticed.

(Image credit to http://apod.nasa.gov/.)