It's that time of year again, where we have a look back at all things Digital Ready in 2022.
Doctor Digital Says
Another 12 months have flown by, and as is the tradition in December, we like to reflect on what has been dominating the screens and minds of Tasmanian business in 2022. It would be fair to say that the big ticket wake-up call for all businesses this year has been cyber security. Digital Ready has been promoting the need for proactive action from businesses of all sizes, but the massive Optus and Medibank data hack events of this year have really underscored the devastating reach that a hack attack can have. As our global connections get wider, and our businesses are completely enmeshed across operations with some form of internet or networked connectivity, the exposure to cybercrime is a matter of when not if. If you want somewhere to begin, you can read our Cyber Security factsheet, and use the Digital Ready website search function to find a stack of resources on how to stay safe. The big takeaway is that the portal for cyber criminals to access data is almost always human error, so small forgetful, or rushed moments can lead to big headaches. Keep your staff and yourself up to date and reach out for help if you need to.
It hardly seems to be digital news anymore that video continues to dominate all social media channels, and that most businesses need to at least consider their video strategy. All social media channels are optimizing for it and offering various ways to engage on their platforms with customers through video. It's fair to say we've passed the novelty peak of video, what we are seeing now is a more nuanced approach, where, as always, the consistent and authentic voice of your brand and business needs to shine. Quality over quantity is the name of the game, both in length and frequency. The content needs to have a purpose and advance a narrative across your platforms. With so much content washing around on so many channels, your digital strategy is more important than ever to make sure you are approaching social media content with the right amount of focus, and not missing some of the more fundamental planks of connection and conversion with your customers.
While we are speaking about social media, it is timely to remember some of the issues that have arisen in 2022. Facebook parent Meta showed the world what no control over your content looked like when it flexed its muscles and shut down a number of Australian sites over a political issue it was having with governments. Twitter also has had its fair share of controversy this year with a change in ownership, impacting the type of brands and voices which will thrive in that environment. Instagram has been plagued with cyber attacks that have hijacked accounts and destroyed years of work overnight, all of which point to the frailty of using social media as your dominant customer engagement strategy. The upshot? Social platforms are part of the fabric of marketing, but they are only one part and they absolutely need to be understood in relation to what happens if you can no longer access them. Businesses ignore the bedrock of a great website and a current and active email list at their absolute peril. The very clear message is especially that Facebook/Instagram is not a substitute for a website, and that in any situation where you don't have control over your data and content, your brand has an inherent vulnerability.
One of the evolutions of social media this year is the rise of subscription only content. Pushed by platforms such as Patreon and Only Fans, now Instagram has released a pay-for-content subscription, and website mega businesses such as Squarespace have simple members-only tools to monetise your content for paid subscribers. If content is your game, this is a clever way to create exclusivity and that covetable limited edition feel.
While we are in the exclusive rabbit hole, inclusion has been a big topic this year, with brands who genuinely make their products and services open to all faring better not just in a brand sense, but also with Google's accessibility algorithms. Inclusion covers everything from accessibility to language, content choices, representation, and who is being unconsciously excluded from participation with your products and services. As always, an end-of-year audit is a great idea to check out where you might have shadow spots in your inclusion policies that might be impacting how you are able to be found and engaged with not just by Google but by your customers. A great place to start is with a Digital Ready check up using our free tool.
At the end of another year, it turns out that humans are still fundamentally lazy, or perhaps consciously efficient, so integrating and streamlining your online sales process with as few clicks as possible is continuing to find consumer favour. Understanding your user journey is key to this approach, and knowing how to map the process from awareness to sale means you can tweak your platforms to make any purchase decision swift and decisive. Some of the key reasons consumers abandon carts include expensive shipping, having to create a new account, lack of payment options, security concerns and that they are simply doing research to purchase later. Making the customer the focus of all your business decisions is smart, and will ultimately lead to a better experience for everyone.
One thing that never changes from year to year with Digital Ready is that there is always something new. To help you get across those constant changes and bed down your basics, this year we created a Digital Fundamentals course so you can go step by step at your own pace through all of the key elements you need to know to be Digital Ready. Of course it's free and only a click away. While you are winding down towards the end of the year, take the time to acknowledge all of your great work in 2022, how you grew and became more resilient through another year of, how do we say, agile trading conditions and focus on some of the wins you may have missed. Celebrate the small stuff, and know that we celebrate you and your business and can't wait to do it all again in 2023.
UPDATE: The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have banned the use of TikTok on government devices for security reasons. While there is no ban currently for businesses or citizens in Tasmania or nationally, it is suggested that TikTok users consider the way they manage their security and content when using the platform. The following advice was provided to the Tasmanian Government public service staff from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) when using TikTok as below and can be used as a guide for some basic security protocols for your business:
- do not use it on a phone that can access any official information (email clients, MS Teams, passwords, personal identifying data),
- if a phone does have TikTok installed, keep the phone away from any sensitive conversations,
- remove metadata (such as location information) from photos and videos before uploading them to TikTok.
Time is really really REALLY running out to use up your 2022 free coaching allocation, click here to make a date for your business with a Digital Ready Coach and end the year ready for everything 2023, coz when you stay digital ready, you don't have to get digital ready!