Within a very short period of time, online communication and specifically social media has managed to revolutionize the way individuals and organizations communicate. This digital revolution has given the ability to easily and rapidly share information globally thus pushing organizations to adopt the new emerging technologies to increase public involvement.
Each organization is unique in terms of its goals, targeted audience, key message…yet the following steps are general guidelines to achieve a successful online communication strategy.
1- CRM (Customer Relationship Management): Since an organization’s success is based on developing effective management of relationships with key stakeholders, It is crucial to build a coherent system to manage and follow all aspects of interaction between an organization and its clients, board, staff, donors, volunteers, community partners and the general public.
2- Online Communication Platforms: A Company’s Website, Social Media Networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest…) , Blog, App and Email Newsletters must be connected together to provide relevant content and optimized for sharing across the web.
3- Online Community Engagement: Developing a vibrant online community requires time and commitment to prepare the proper environment that will get the targeted audience to engage with your business. The nature of content is crucial to gain people’s interest. Yet to increase user engagement, a company should listen to comments, manage aggressive criticism, solve problems and initiate positive interactions to empower people to talk, making them feel a part of the community and network.
4- Online Campaigns: Depending on measurable goals set, Campaigns can serve multiple functions offering an incentive for people to take a desired action. We can list few types of campaigns: Advocacy Campaigns, Donation & Fundraising Campaign, Community Building & Social Sharing Campaign,and Promotional Campaign for Events. All Online campaigns should be launched at once across all platforms (website, social media, blog…) and should include attractive visuals and a clear call to action.
5- Evaluation and Measuring Impact: By referring to the strategy set, the number of people reached and those who have taken the desired action in any campaign type are basic performance metrics for measuring impact. Monitoring tools are important to track campaign development and results thus achieving future improvement. Tools such as Google Analytics, Hubspot, MailChimp, HootSuite, TweetReach, check more tools…) depend on the nature of the online communication platform. For example, the effectiveness of an Email Marketing campaign is related to the “Open Rate” percentage and in the case of a Landing Pages the percentage of conversion rate (visitor to lead) shows whether the campaign is successful or not.
Note that the digital strategy is only one part of a company’s overall strategy and thus all steps mentioned above should be based on the Communication Plan set which defines Objectives, Key Messages, Target Audience, Desired Action, Preferred Communication Channel, and the Indicators of Success.