Having a website is great for getting your message out to the world. There are two ways of looking at websites: one is to see them as brochures listing what you do and how to contact you, this is often the first step in the process of ‘going digital’, the second is what is sometimes termed web 2.0, this is where your website contains dynamic content and is connected to other online tools, websites and resources. A web 2.0 website seeks to offer features and functionality which go further by offering the visitor the ability to interact according to their needs.
A more dynamic 2.0 website will offer:-
- recent information on your activities
- links to other relevant websites
- links to other online platforms
- external information from feeds/widgets etc.
- ability to interact e.g. communicate with groups associated with your field
- could include downloads, sales, forums
- will collect user feedback/analytics
This kind of website requires continual input from you with new content and activities but offers much greater power in attracting interest and interaction. You could see it as a way of maintaining a network online using social media tools rather than face to face via the golf club or the pub. This is not to say these approaches are mutually exclusive but rather maintaining a digital footprint is another option for your organisation. An online network has the potential to reach far more people than you could meet in person.
Once you become the custodian of your digital footprint you can undertake some analysis of your followers/subscribers/contacts. What are they interested in? How often do they visit?, where are they based? You can view comments, forum posts, conduct surveys, and use web analytics to gain insights into these questions. Finding out what people are looking for should inform your own organisational development plans. The idea is to use your web presence as a means of creating a feedback loop. Rich insights on your customers/clients/users should then be harvested, analysed and built into your planning. You may start to create online activities to entice people to engage. Offering free advice or materials could be a great way to increase visitors to your site and hence raise your profile and/or business leads.
Your Digital Footprint is made up from a variety of online tools which will refer to each other to form a whole. So for example, when you publish a new blog post or web page you will notify people via the different social media tools you are using. Your notification, for example, a tweet, will contain a link to the new post/page. This way your various online tools are working together to maximise your reach.
Once you develop an online profile, create a like minded community, and interact and respond with that community you have the opportunity to move toward becoming an Agile organisation. Moving your organisation toward being agile is seen as the key to success in a competitive and dynamic environment.
Once you begin to curate your digital profile you will identify new ways of finding your voice and promoting your mission. If you would like to explore this topic further, get in touch.