5 Tips – Digital for Small to Midsize Businesses

Digital media is essential in today’s business world, but there are some things you need to be aware of to make it successful

 

Many small and midsized businesses think they have a handle on their digital communications strategies, but they may be overlooking some key elements to make such efforts a core part of their overall messaging. Hiring professional communications professionals can lead them in the right direction by helping them hone their online presence, from developing compelling content, delving into the mobile realm and avoiding costly copyright-infringement lawsuits.

Start-ups are a booming business in the U.S. A 2012 study showed that 12 percent of American adults started or began running a new business during the previous year. In the Latino community, between 2002 and 2007, the number of Latino-owned small businesses grew to 2.3 million, an increase of 43.7 percent. Latino owned businesses billings are projected to increase from $345 billion in 2007 to $486 billion in 2013. I myself launched my own digital consultancy earlier this year. FWD-Action works with small to midsized companies and nonprofits to create smart digital strategies that help companies move forward and grow in the digital landscape.

There’s so much information out there for start-ups – about trends and insight into digital – it can be quite overwhelming, particularly for small to midsized businesses preoccupied with day-to-day operations.   It’s like an avalanche of data, numbers and opinions on what works, what you should be investing in and what’s hot. But first things first: get the basics right. Without a good foundation, all of your hard work will result in wasted effort and money

The 5 Tips

The following are some basic digital tips for small to mid sized business:

1) Don’t try this at home – hire professionals.

If you want your investment in digital to be fruitful, you should be consulting with experts from the initial architecture of your website to the content strategy and your social-media presence. You can’t afford to be absent in the digital world, and you certainly can’t afford to do it wrong. This goes for all things critical to your business, including taxes, attorneys, etc. Your company’s effective digital footprint can mean everything to your success.

Unfortunately, many small to midsized business owners know just enough to be dangerous. With so much information readily available, people think that by reading a few articles, they can turn their digital strategy into a weekend DIY project. But this isn’t the case. Digital is evolving quickly, becoming very sophisticated and it isn’t something amateurs should take on. It’s one thing to learn enough to upload your kids pictures to FB or a vacation video to YouTube, or tweet out an opinion or thought, but it’s quite another to tackle digital on a professional level, with consistency in terms of both delivery and messaging, making sure that your message gets out at optimal times and analyzing the metrics for each. You could certainly learn the mechanics of deploying digital  content, but this is more like a media department and traffic function in an advertising agency.

2) Make sure that you have the rights and clearances to use the material in any and all of your company’s communications and digital presence.

Often a client will say, “We can use that image or music because I found it on a Google search on the Internet.” Don’t do it. It’s not worth the copyright lawsuit you could be facing.

I recently met with a copyright attorney who shared an anecdote of a long-standing copyright lawsuit that had to do with polka dots – yes, circles and dots. Intellectual copyright laws are nothing to play with, and a lawsuit is easy enough to avoid by using trusted stock houses for still images, video and music. Most aren’t very expensive, and it’s worth every penny knowing the material is clear to use. Some of my favorite sources are istcock, shutterstock, Getty Images. Here’s a list of the top stock photo agencies.