Three Questions x META Digital Marketing Experts
Digital communication should be seen as an organic part of well-thought-out modern PR, which must contribute to achieving corporate objectives. However, in practice, we often see a failure in noticing the opportunities that digital marketing can offer and that the basics of social media and digital marketing change so quickly that it is challenging to keep up with the latest innovations, tips, and recommendations.
That’s why we asked META’s digital marketing experts three important questions: Marketing Communications team Senior Consultant Karin Maandi and Consultant Helin Naska will help you navigate the digital and social media marketing landscape and decipher the benefits of the digital world, the most common mistakes, and the way forward.
1. What three benefits of digital marketing are often overlooked?
Karin: One of the key benefits is the ability to engage the customer better and drive their user experience. While other channels tend to be more one-way in communicating a company’s message or point of view, digital channels allow for a more two-way interaction, which helps to keep the consumer closer to the company. This way, it is possible to get immediate feedback and reactions and invite people to have their say on the product/service. But not only in terms of service and communication: clever marketers can use customer communication in marketing. Although customer testimonials and user-generated content are probably not alien concepts for any marketer, many companies today do not know how to exploit them in their marketing. In fact, this is free-generated content that marketers need to understand how to use in the proper channels. Yes, the GDPR does impose some restrictions, but this is nothing impossible.
Secondly, clever techniques in digital channels can give a quick kick-start to activities that might otherwise be scheduled in traditional channels. A ‘viral’ campaign doesn’t necessarily have to start on a digital medium, but the use of digital will speed up the spread. Good examples include a talented copy or outdoor posters created in a foreign country or physically located in another city, which spread far and wide within hours via social media channels. Often, people will share prominent ads organically, but it’s worth remembering that this process can also be consciously managed.
Helin: The plethora of different channels. From time to time, it can feel like new platforms are being created daily. In outdoor media, you can also use something “outside the box” as an advertising space, but in urban spaces, it is much more challenging to get these spaces than online. In addition, visibility is always higher online.
The diversity of channels is also associated with internationalisation. While different networks are in use in other parts of the world, certainly, there are platforms that remain the ones that connect us. It is possible to manage campaigns in all countries from one country in digital media.
“While different networks are in use in other parts of the world, certainly, there are platforms that remain the ones that connect us. It is possible to manage campaigns in all countries from one country in digital media.”
Karin: Digital media is where small businesses can get global attention. Even without a specific campaign, it’s much easier to gain visibility there than through traditional media. The key to solid visibility is a strong website and digital media presence. It is therefore an excellent channel for start-ups, which can achieve significant visibility on zero budget (or on a tiny budget).
But most importantly, knowing why it pays to be visible on social media or digital channels is essential knowledge, but it is even more critical to ensure that what you do there overlaps and is seamlessly aligned with your broader brand communication strategies.
Strategic communications that integrate digital with media communication—media communication, social media, advertising and more—all go hand in hand to support business growth. That’s why it’s good to manage all brand communications from an agency – with a deep understanding of media and messaging; we understand how different messages play out across various channels. That way, you can be sure that the entire brand messaging is coherently managed.
2. Three mistakes you’ve noticed in Estonia’s digital marketing or social media world?
Karin: Firstly, the underuse of keywords. I’ve noticed that many people start SEO by picking a few keywords, working with them, and feeling like everything they need is done. Keywords should be constantly monitored and even changed – it’s not enough to put keywords in place and then revisit them in three years. It’s worth looking at competitor keywords, doing background work, and keeping them updated. 93% of the online experience starts with the search engine.
Secondly, I would suggest thinking more about what happens to websites after the marketing activity. One of the mistakes is not thinking about how to ‘convert’ visitors into customers. Here, it is worth asking yourself some questions: what keywords are visitors coming from? What will they do next on the page? In the case of an e-shop, the keyword is the sales pitch: will the visitor get something for free, or will they be greeted with a special greeting, such as a video?
Thirdly (though less so): the mobile user tends to be forgotten. The number of people using mobile devices to go online is constantly growing. It is worth considering colours, volumes, and the environment. So, in the context of a digital campaign, it is essential not to forget to increase the mobile advertising budget but to pay more and more attention to it consciously.
“So, within a digital campaign, you should certainly not forget to increase the mobile advertising budget; rather, it should be consciously given more and more attention.”
Helin: One observation, which is rather peculiar to Estonian marketers: often, there is a lack of courage to test new platforms.
There are a lot of networks and environments that are entirely undiscovered in the Estonian context. One of them is Reddit, which is used by young people in Estonia but is not yet thought about in the context of marketing and communication. However, new channels are particularly favourable for first-timers, especially in the start-up phase—no competitors and a higher chance to stand out.
Of course, one should not do something for the need of doing it, but if you notice that a friend or a mother, for example, is active in a new channel, it’s a sign that it’s the right channel to reach them. It’s worth a try. A user may already be drowning in ads on widely used channels such as Facebook!
“There is often a lack of courage in Estonia to test new platforms. There are a lot of networks and environments that are still completely unexplored in the Estonian context.”
3. Where will digital marketing be in five years?
Karin: Augmented reality combinations will probably be more available and used more avidly in marketing campaigns. This could mean more interactive advertising and new experiences for the customer—for example, the possibility of 3D viewing on the phone. Voice-activated driving is undoubtedly a keyword. Maybe even dare we say that 50% of the searches in the world will be voice-driven.
In addition, I believe that content will change significantly. People have less time to concentrate: we need to think about how to get the messages across concisely and what kind of content requires the least time and energy from people. I believe this principle will become even more rigid on a channel-by-channel basis, and the length limits for videos will also become shorter.
Helin: I agree that in digital and social media, we need to be even stronger in the future in the channels people use. The more convenient life is for the consumer, the better. Everything we don’t have online yet will move to the Metaverse.
Recommendations: where do you get inspiration and keep up to date with the constant changes?
Karin: What’s great about META is that we have experts in their field, the top of the marketing and communication world—working with them guarantees that you will learn every day. Secondly, we have industry-leading clients and client-facing managers, who need to keep up to date with the latest developments daily to provide excellent advice, but who also offer a diverse range of knowledge themselves. On digital marketing, I dare to recommend: HubSpot’s blog. For good visual reviews, check out Social Media Today.
Helin: I try to be open-eyed—to see new ideas and channels in everyday life. When I see a friend spending hour a day on Reddit, it’s clear that there are more like them.
For everyday social media use, I recommend LinkedIn: you can find a lot of useful material for professional use and exciting case studies and thoughts from experts there.