As marketing continues to evolve some older practices still work, one of those is a S.W.O.T. Analysis. This time lets conduct one for your digital brand.
First off, what exactly is a digital SWOT Analysis?
A digital S.W.O.T. is a strategic analysis of your business to help identify your brands online STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES and your THREATS. By going through this process you will have a better idea of of how strong your brand’s online presence is and where you have opportunities to improve. This process also helps you identify untapped resources, and opportunities to better optimize your content for increased search results. The threat part of the process helps with competitive analysis and preparing your brand for threats from competition and from the Internet such as Google algorithm updates which are occurring more regularly as the web continues to evolve.
While the power of the Internet continues to grow, so does the competition. At the core a strong digital foundation for a brand starts with an easy to navigate, content managed website. From there you need to layer in social media networks, blogging, content creation and content curating to utilize as a promotional channel for your online brand. The more focused, targeted and relevant the content the more effective you will be in building a relationship with your consumers.
For best results connect all of your digital assets.
As the world of advertising and marketing continue to change creating conversational content is important. But before you can be effective no matter how awesome your content is you need to have a strong, interconnected digital foundation.
Before, I proceed with a new client it is required to conduct a digital SWOT analysis of the brand to set a foundational benchmark. Huh? Successful digital marketing requires checks and balances, well if you don’t have a starting point then how do you know if your marketing efforts are successful?
Before a strategy and a plan is formed it is important to review your online portfolio, social profiles, website and listings. You would be surprised how effective you can be with just making some minor tweaks and updates. As the web and social media networks have made updates the tools and options available make it important to check on a regular basis.
Why is it important to review your online listings and profiles? Many brands may have jumped on social networks and filled out profiles on industry listings, however when was the last time you reviewed and updated those profiles? First impressions may actually occur more often on-line then in real life. And for those that take place in real life, you best be aware of what customers and guests are saying about you.
Let’s see if we can turn some of those WEAKNESSES into STRENGTHS.
How Do I Conduct a Do-it-Myself SWOT Analysis of My Digital Brand?
Search begins and ends with Google and so should your digital brand audit.
Step 1 – Search Engines
1. Search for your brand using search engines, don’t just stick with Google try Bing, Yahoo, MSN, etc. Make sure you sign-out if you are logged in or you can use Google Chrome’s Incognito mode so that your activity and connections don’t compromise the search results.
Step 2 – Review Your Social Branded Company Pages
2. Facebook – Check to make sure you have filled out the “About” section on your brand page, this of course assumes that you have a company page. Hello WEAKNESS. Did you include links to your website, blog and other social profiles? Include all contact info under “Basic Information” be sure to choose your categories from the drop down menu. This is important as Facebook rolls out Graph Search, Is Your Business Ready for Facebook Graph Search?
3. LinkedIn – You do want your business to get found, right? You will notice the pattern with all of these social profiles that allow companies and small businesses to create and manage branded pages, even if it benefits them by driving traffic to their network you have an opportunity to gain additional search listings. Invest Time in LinkedIn by filling in all of the required fields with keyword rich descriptions. Make sure the copy is consistent with how you market your brand elsewhere. We will touch on this later but make sure your employees are linked to the company page. And yes, you should be sharing content on your page, especially your content.
Consider Google+ an untapped resource.
4. Google+ – I consider Google+ an OPPORTUNITY for most brands, as it is one of the newer and lesser utilized social networks. Most brands have yet to realize the true value of Google+ with seamless YouTube integration to Google Local, Reviews, Hangouts and so much more. Google Authorship in and of itself is worth the price of admission (which is free by the way).
5. Twitter – Of all of the social networks I see more mismanaged and abandoned Twitter profiles then on any other social network. For some reason Twitter still remains a foreign language to many brands, but the benefits should not be ignored. Did you include your website link on your profile? How about those precious keywords in your bio, you did fill out the bio right? Include a profile image and a background image. The background image has valuable real estate that you can use, tips on how to create the perfect Twitter profile.
6. The rest of the lot: Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Tumbler and so on… Make sure that all of these profiles are merchandised on your website (include visible links to connect to your profiles), and that the branded content is consistent. Use the same brand elements; logo, colors, brand voice and images.
Tip: Make sure that when you use images that you are optimizing them for search results. It doesn’t matter if the images are on your website, blog or social networks if you don’t include image alt tags and descriptions you are missing a great opportunity to be found. Ever do an image search on Google? Exactly.
Step 3 – Your Employees
7. Follow the same process in Step 1 and do a little check on the people within your organization. Yes, I am talking abou doing a background check to see what comes up on your staff and employees. You might just be surprised to see what you come up with, lets hope it’s all good.
8. On a positive side, lets assume all of your employees are model citizens and let’s make sure you are using their social graph for the benefit of the brand. This means to check your employee social profiles and confirm that they are pointing towards your companies pages and listings. Even if your employees aren’t sales people they still are extensions of your brand, and they should be one of your greatest marketing assets. At the very least make sure they list you as their employer on LinkedIn.
Caveat: Make sure that you have an employee social media policy in place.
Step 4 – Owned Digital Media – Your Brand’s Blog and Website
9. Your Company Blog – If you are blogging then go ahead and pat yourself on the back, as this most definitely becomes a STRENGTH. However, many brands don’t take the extra steps to optimize their writing content for search, 10 Tips for Writing Content that Ranks.
3 very power letters… SEO.
10. Your Central Marketing Hub is also known as your website – I left the most important digital asset for last, this is by far the most under appreciated and under utilized asset in most brands marketing arsenal. Why? Because believe it or not most websites are often ignored and left unchanged for far too long. Two pieces of advice optimize the heck out of your website and make sure it is content managed so that you don’t go years (heaven forbid decades) without updating, improving and regularly adding new, relevant content.
Today websites are about performance, and if you have been following many of the tips here they revolve around being found on search engines. You should start by performing an audit for your website’s SEO.
Now of course this is a lot of work but if you require any help with this process feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line. The important take-away is that digital content can and should be monitored, checked and updated on a regular basis.
How often do you Kick the Tires on your Digital Brand? Any tips of suggestions please add them in the comments below.