This is a term that we use a lot in my line of work but probably not so familiar to people outside the digital world. I thought it would be a useful topic to write about and share with people who are looking to start a business or indeed for those who are already business owners.
In short a digital life is our online footprint. Most of us use the Internet in multiple ways, be it for online banking, buying goods, socialising, communicating and researching. As we all know our movements online do leave a trail, especially when we start to use the Internet for socialising and buying goods. As an example, if you use Facebook for socialising you will notice adverts appearing on your page and if you look closely you will see that the adverts are very targeted. Have you ever asked yourself how Facebook knows how to target you with specific ads?
I often get adverts appear on my page about retirement plans, but worse I seem to be targeted with adverts about funeral costs! That’s unsettling but nonetheless, these adverts are targeting me because obviously Facebook knows my age and therefore is sending adverts that might appeal to me.
What I am trying to highlight here is that as time passes the picture of you online is building your online profile. Whether we agree with it or not, this is the reality and short of rejecting all technology our digital life is growing. So as an entrepreneur the question is What are you going to do with your digital life?
Leveraging the Internet for your business needs
There is no doubt that the digital economy is growing and it is growing at a rate that will very soon surpass the traditional economy. What this means is that more and more people are going online to spend their money. I will share an example of how the Internet is changing the way we buy goods online. The young generation like to personalise their Nike trainers, they go online, customise a design and pay a little extra for a pair of trainers exactly as they want them. This is big business for Nike and other retailers are following suit.
If you have your own business, be it a traditional business or an online business then learning how to take advantage of the various online marketing methods is probably one of the most important new skills you should learn. Yes you could just hire someone to promote your business for you but if you are just starting out then this could turn out to be a very expensive cost. Also if you learn the skills yourself then you will be well informed when deciding to hire someone to do this for you.
I have heard too many small business owners tell me how much they have spent on a new website and the costs are sometimes criminal. Of course you should have a good website but what is the point of a website if nobody knows it’s there? It’s like opening a shop in the middle of nowhere and expecting customers. Better to start with a template site like Wix, where you can quickly and easily DIY a site that looks great and costs very little.
What a lot of internet marketers are offering is SEO strategies and that is really more useful after you have first established your online brand. The real power is in knowing how to market your business through social media and that can be pretty cheap to start of with, if you are well informed and develop some of these skills yourself.
The Importance of Your Digital Life
Back to the point of this article, the importance of making the most of your digital life. What this means is that in order to capitalise on the advantage of online marketing, you need to build your digital life. You need to promote yourself along with your brand. As we move away from traditional marketing and people become more used to mixing social media with ecommerce, your personal profile could be what pulls the customer.
To demonstrate how important it is to take control of your digital life I am going to use the story of Starbucks tax avoidance. The following is taken from the BBC News Website reporting the story:
“But the tide of public opinion is visibly turning. Even 10 years ago news of a company minimising its corporation tax would have been more likely to be inside the business pages than on the front page”
“What is more dangerous for companies is social media, he says – citing #boycottstarbucks, which was formed in the wake of the Starbucks story – because “a small number of people [can] activate and ferment dissent among another group”.
This shows the power of social media and if it can do that to Starbucks then surely it is wise to start using this new medium for your business needs, in a more positive way of course.
Simple tips to get started
For those of you that are already using Social Media to promote your business then well done to you. If you want to make a quick start today then:
- Set up a business page (make sure you separate your business from your personal profile)
- Create links to your site
- Add some content and images
- Start to spread the word through targeted advertising (this is the trick!)
- Make sure you are tracking your adverts so that you are not wasting money on ads that are not performing
- Keep on experimenting with your ads, looking at how effective the pictures are, the text and your targeted audience
- Don’t expect to get it right on the first attempt
If this all sounds too complicated or overwhelming then invest in your education so you are making informed business decisions about marketing your business online. Just putting up a website and expecting it to have an impact is like opening a shop on a desert island.
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