Digi is a new and exciting partnership between Leeds University Union (LUU) and our team here at Epiphany that aims to create a collaborative digital network, benefitting both students and Union’s organisations.

Around a month ago, we invited the Digi team to spend two weeks in our office, learning from channel experts including Malcolm Slade (Head of Technical SEO), Emma Travis (Head of CRO and UX), Andrew Crowther (Client Strategist) and Thierry Ngutegure (Senior Research Analyst).

The Digi team enjoyed their time at Epiphany so much, Joanna Tibbels, one of the Digi associates, has been sharing the team’s experience with us and telling us more about what they learned during their two weeks with us…

We spent our time at Epiphany absorbing all the information we could, drinking obscene amounts of coffee and attempting to look like we understood marketing abbreviations. Here are the five key learnings we took away with us:

1. Social media has become a “pay to play” environment

Social media bombards us with seemingly infinite amounts of content on a daily basis and a huge amount of this content is comprised of business owners and advertisers trying to sell to us.

While advertisers used to be able to rely solely on organic (unpaid) reach to increase their visibility and gain new customers, this no longer seems to be the case.

As Frances Rainforth (a Digital Marketing Executive at Jaywing) said to us, social media is now a “pay to play” environment.

After Facebook introduced paid advertising in 2012, many other platforms quickly followed suit and developed new algorithms that made it increasingly difficult to get attention for free.

Using paid social media advertising, or ‘sponsored posts’, has many benefits, one of these being that you can receive much more traffic than you generally would from organic reach.

It also allows you to be incredibly specific about who you would like to see your post, making it easy to reach your target audience, however niche it may be.

Despite this, organic reach still has a place within the world of social media as it is not only cost-effective and easy to maintain long-term but is also a means by which to appear trustworthy.

My takeaway is that the best form of social media advertising may, therefore, consist of a combination of organic and paid reach.

When using the latter, however, don’t forget to constantly track your social media insights to make sure that your content is reaching your target demographic and that you are achieving your social media goals.

2. Research is very, VERY important because…

  • It creates reliable narratives. Backing up your statements and business decisions with research and data establishes you and your brand as trustworthy.
  • It helps you understand who your customers are, how they think/feel and, most importantly, how you should engage with them.
  • It allows you to understand and learn from your competitors.
  • It aids decision making. It will help you decide where to spend your budget, where to engage with your customers and where you may find some potential opportunities and/or threats.
  • At the end of the day, research helps you lower business risks (and helps you justify your decisions to your boss/client!). So data should underpin many, if not every, decision you’re going to make.

BUT: Never forget to always question your research, its sources and how it’s going to be used.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when dealing with research and data: Do I fully understand this research? Does this make sense? Is there a story here? Do I trust this source? Have I represented this data accurately?

3. The marketing industry has A LOT of abbreviations

It is easy to feel a little overwhelmed (and a little clueless) when communicating with marketing professionals who regularly use abbreviations.

Here are a few abbreviations I came across during my time at Epiphany. If you are interested in digital marketing, you may find it useful to learn these:

  • PPC = Pay per click
  • SEO = Search engine optimisation
  • UX = User experience
  • KPI = Key performance indicator
  • CTA = Call-to-action
  • B2B = Business to business
  • B2C = Business to consumer
  • CRO = Conversion rate optimisation

We’ll leave it at that…for now!

4. Digital is not the solution to everything

Sometimes, we have to go back to basics. Forget that the internet exists for just one second - drastic, I know - but increasing your brand’s physical availability and developing an ‘offline’ marketing strategy can sometimes generate more positive results than digital solutions.

For instance, social media and online advertising are incredibly saturated markets where it is so easy to get ignored or overlooked.

Giving consumers tangible promotional material can help you get noticed. Being able to physically hold and touch something is often more impactful than simply scrolling past a promotional post.

Offline marketing, like networking events for example, also provides great opportunities to build relationships with potential consumers/clients.

Despite technological efforts, the feel of face-to-face interactions cannot be digitally simulated. These interactions help you build rapport and can promote trust and brand loyalty.

5. Every office should be dog-friendly

I think I’ve said enough.

Hendricks

To learn more about Digi, visit our website.