Sort Your Digital Presence Out!

This post stems from a conversation I had with Ed Lee tonight (we agreed). Before anyone gets all upset, I’m a big advocate of social media… in the right situations… with the right foundations. This post is about those foundations.


Ever been in a meeting with a colleague, friend or client who has an idea or business, has a basic web presence, and wants to use social media to enhance that presence? What’s your reaction?

I’ve encountered this a few times over the last few years. My initial reaction to those conversations is fairly consistent. Something like:

“It’s great that you’re considering adding social media to your media mix. We’d love to help you with that. However, while we’re planning that, you might be better off spending your time and money strengthening your existing digital presence.”

Here’s the thing – social media has the potential to be powerful, if used in the right situation, in the right way, with the right other tools. However, given that social media tactics occur largely online, if they’re successful they’re likely to drive people to your website. It may not be the end goal (which might be feet through the door of your physical store), but it’s a likely step along the way.

If your digital marketing isn’t up to scratch, your social media investment could be largely wasted.

Rather than (or, long-term, in addition to) fostering or developing an online community, I would rather we help a company to bring its main website up to scratch; to sort out their search engine optimization (SEO); or perhaps develop a useful email marketing program.

I would rather they invest money in the unglamorous foundation now rather than try, and fail, to turn things on their head with a social media program that drives people to a 1990’s-esque brochureware website. Fortunately, I work at a company with people who are talented at both social media and “traditional” digital marketing, so we have that option.

Of course, while this is happening, we have the opportunity to listen and learn about the conversations that are occurring online, and to plan an effective approach using some of these new tools about which I write so frequently.

Foundations first, then experimentation.

What do you think?

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.