Five ways to jumpstart a neglected digital communication strategy

Table of Contents

Normal is a misnomer. The world is always in a stage of change; what worked last year, what was tolerable, liked or disliked, is differently received this year. A pandemic only accelerates the rate of change. Assumptions that were valid before the pandemic are no longer valid. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in how we work and interact with one another. The ways we manage, coordinate and communicate, both internally, between workforces, and externally, with audiences, have been reshaped.

We finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, this time, it’s not a mere shaft of light – squeezed through a crack in the roof, mistaken as the other side – but an end to our travails. Soon, we’ll pick up the pieces, throw out the old-world textbooks, and discover a new baseline, embracing the best of the past year – the knowledge of our adaptability and resilience – whilst moving eagerly into the next. We’ll rework our catalogue of shoulds: how the world and organisations should work, how audiences should be spoken to.

Times of crisis challenge our routines, our ability to be attentive and focused. Communication strategies agreed upon with the best intentions may have become deprioritised as other concerns vie for the top spot. Efforts stubbornly stall. The last year has had a bewildering, lethargy-inducing effect on all of us. It’s made even the simplest of tasks – the day-to-day operation of a social media account, for example – appear fraught with complication and uncertainty, harangued by the variables of audience reception, the opaqueness of meaning.

A restart – or jumpstart – may be necessary. Here are five ways to inject new life into your digital communication strategy in 2021.


1. Content cadence (and consistency)

After a crisis, it’s normal to survey the damage. This doesn’t mean a would’ve-could’ve wistfulness, however, which is an easy and tantalising trap, but a period of introspection and retrospection. Things done well. Things done poorly. Schedules maintained, or areas neglected. Forgiveness may be necessary; to understand that, faced with uncertainty, fear often prevails. We often defer to non-action when we’re unsure of the right action. Our routines aren’t the same, nor are the pressures we face, on a personal or organisational level, which naturally makes it more challenging to maintain schedules and rhythms.

Like exercise following a lethargic holiday, the key to starting again is small steps. Reignite the engines, as it were, and agree to a regular posting schedule. It may not be as ambitious as that originally imagined, but once the rhythm is achieved, the cadence can be increased. It’s better to start and start slow, deliberately, methodologically, then not at all.


2. Reevaluate your brand’s positioning

How has your market changed in the past year? What new opportunities have emerged? Times of upheaval are the birthplace of new perspectives. If your audience is thinking differently, chances are they want something different. This is either a difference expressed on the product level or the communicative level (that is, how you’re talking about your product).

It can be healthy to take a long look in the mirror. To see how your appearance has changed, and whether the image you’re putting out there is the image you’d like people to see. Likewise, your voice. Now’s the time to do a soundcheck, a script reread. Reevaluate your language. Your messaging, taglines and slogans. Has your audience’s language changed? And does yours need to change in turn?


3. Feedback and community dialogue

Before you jump straight back into your digital community strategy, take time to listen. Use polls, Q&As or community forums to gauge engagement of your brand or product. Just as you’d gather feedback from employees, checking in on their welfare, the same approach can be applied to audiences. Different means of gathering feedback should be used. Not everybody engages the same way. Some love polls whilst others are more comfortable with surveys, or with providing feedback unprompted through their preferred platform.

Again, walk before you run. Maybe nothing has changed. But even a small change can lead to an incorrect assumption, and this stage of feedback-collection will allow you to challenge those assumptions with better insight. In a time in which we’re all humbled by our shared experience, with our differences still apparent but momentarily less significant, open-door policies work best.


4. Take stock. Publicise achievements. Recognise challenges

There’s value in being the voice of positivity in a sea of woe – to show that contained within these less-fortunate times are things to celebrate: achievements and against-the-odds victories. Most have no shortage of each. We’ve thrived when few expected us to, adapted what previously seemed fixed and unmalleable: our routines and behaviours.

It’s also a time to recognise challenges. Publicly recognising challenges creates a bridge for your audience. It makes your organisation more relatable, less a box of corporate-speak and tactful disclosures. Public recognition of achievements and challenges presents a balance, and engenders a sense of trust and transparency. It gives audiences a means to easily reengage with your product or brand. Allow them to see the work you do, and experience the reciprocation of openness and trust.


5. Analyse channel success

Social media platforms are facing unprecedented scrutiny. As a result, the way audiences use social media – and the specific platforms they use – is changing. High profile pieces such as Netflix’s Social Dilemma have underscored the dangers of excessive social media use, and exposed how platforms coop our attention and time. Couple this with stay-at-home orders, and most of us are more aware than ever of the negative impacts of compulsive social media consumption.

Before you restart your digital communication strategy, take time to consider the impact. Analyse the metrics of your chosen channels. Maybe you’re receiving attention but not converting, or maybe your product sells but your brand engagement struggles to grow. Examine, also, how audiences are responding to these platforms, and whether there are either new platforms or new features on existing platforms that should be considered, either as supplements or replacements.

Remember, when jumpstarting your digital communication strategy, step back, survey and scrutinise. Challenge assumptions, and remain vigilant to the change unnoticed. Take your time, and achieve rhythm before you target volume. For further information on how to re-energise your digital communication efforts in 2021, contact us today.

Contact us

We offer specialised expertise in complex digital channels with unique services and customised solutions for growth, reputation management, research, analytics, and SEO.

Your Privacy Choices

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

We won’t track your information when you visit our site. But in order to comply with your preferences, we’ll have to use just one tiny cookie so that you’re not asked to make this choice again.