Digital Consulting Defined
So, What Does a Digital Consultant Do?
Perhaps someone has advised you to should seek out a digital consultant. Besides not knowing any digital consultants, you may not even be sure of what such a person does or is. Don’t worry. You are not alone. Many people wonder what does a Digital Consultant do? There is a good chance that most of your peers also do not know what a digital consultant is or the advantages of employing one in their business. Unfortunately for you, a few of them do. Those are the ones who are eating your lunch. They seem to always be a few steps ahead of you no matter what you do. They are first to the trends that matter. They get positive Yelp reviews. And they have a lot more Twitter followers than you do. It is past time you learn about digital consultants, what exactly it is they do, and why you should be contacting one right now:
Digital Consultants Wear Many Hats
A digital consultant is a wearer of many hats. The title itself is a catchall for all of the digital needs of a business. There is the real world of analog business realities like buildings, computers, employees, signage, staplers, and anything else you can lay your hands on. Those things are not the domain of digital consultants. Their domain is everything else. Once you turn the computer on, you are now in the binary world of 1s and 0s. You are in the online world of email, social media, search, advertising, and everything else that can be accessed by touchscreen, keyboard, or mouse. That is the world of the digital consultant.
To some degree, the digital consultant has to be a polymath: a jack of all digital trades and a master of, well, all of them. If not a master, at least very competent. No one person can do all of the jobs under the auspices of digital consulting. Think of the consultant as the quarterback of the digital team. He or she must know all of the positions well enough to direct them. Here is some of what he or she is ultimately responsible for:
One of the most recognizable jobs of a digital consultant is search engine optimization (SEO). The task of SEO is a full-time job all by itself. This is one of those situations where the digital consultant may not be doing the day to day of SEO. But he has to be on top of it to the point where he is probably the one doing SEO audits.
Search engine optimization includes, but is not limited to the following:
Inserting high-quality, relevant content on your website
Insuring appropriate back-linking
Google guideline compliance
Social media mentions
Managing SEO is a big job that can make or break all your digital efforts. And it is just one of the hats worn by the digital consultant.
Digital advertising is yet another one of those full-time jobs overseen by the digital consultant. Advertising responsibilities include knowing where to invest advertising dollars on the web.
What about podcast ad buys? There is a reason the same 4 or 5 companies dominate the podcast world. Are banner ads still worthwhile considering how prevalent banner blindness has become?
Is there more to social media marketing (SMM) than buying an ad on Facebook?
How much of the budget should go to buying a Google search result ad versus other PPC campaigns? Digital advertising requires a lot of specialized knowledge, not just about advertising in general, but about the digital space where modern advertising takes place.
Again, you don’t need to be a web designer to direct the web design efforts of the company. You do have to know what that job entails since the most visible manifestation of your business in digital form is your website. The most important aspect here is User Experience. A good digital strategy will keep the UX (which by the way is also part of SEO) front and center during any web design.
If you are a global business, your website is likely the only manifestation most people will ever see.
For starters, your website is going to have to have a mobile responsive redesign (if it hasn’t happened already).
A mobile responsive site is one that can rearrange itself to look as if it belongs on small mobile devices as well as large desktop screens. Your audience is on mobile. Your website has to be as well.
Your site must also be accessible. Devices like the Mac, iPad, and iPhone are completely accessible to the blind and visually impaired. More people with disabilities are accessing the web than ever before.
Your site needs to not only comply with web standards but accessibility standards as well.
Web design must also be intuitive and purposeful. People can’t just be greeted with a confusing wall of text, images, and ads.
There needs to be a clear path for their eyes to follow, and an obvious next step to take. Otherwise, there is little point in bringing a person to your site in the first place.
There are other considerations like what content to present at what stage of the visit, when to ask for the sale, how e-commerce will be handled, and how you will collect and secure personal information.
These are not minor issues. And most sites do them poorly. This is why your digital consultant and your web designer need to be in constant communication.
Social Media Expert
How many social networks are you able to name outside of Facebook and Twitter? When counting, did you consider major social networks popular in other countries? If your business is global, you should. Have you mastered the hashtag? Managing social media requires the proper use of hashtags.
Tweets receive 21% higher engagement if they have only 1 or 2 hashtags as opposed to those with more than 2. There is a delicate balance of getting people to engage with you on social media, and being a nuisance. Facebook is getting ready to experiment with auto-play videos with sound. People are already annoyed by silent auto-play videos. Do you really want to be the first talkie in their stream?
Nothing about managing social media is easy. But it is an integral part of what a digital consultant does on a daily basis. A digital consultant does so much more than meets the eye. They may specialize in only one of these areas. But they have to be conversant in all of them including:
Despite the many hats they wear, their main job is to make you successful online! To the extent that all business is done online in some form or other, you can’t afford to be without one.
Want to learn more? Get in touch today. I’ll be happy to walk you through whatever you need to know.