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What is digital communication, and why is it essential to doing business in the 21st century?

CareerBuilder | August 12, 2022

digital communications jobs

What is digital communication? Learn about leveraging digital communication channels to stay in touch with clients, vendors, and employees.

If you've ever scrolled through your social media account, you might notice many ads that seem to relate to you. They might highlight certain events or products that might interest you, but how does your feed know what you might want to learn more about or purchase? The professionals behind these marketing tactics work in digital communication. What is digital communication, and how does it impact business in the 21st century?

What is digital communication?

Asking that question 20 or even 10 years ago would give you a completely different answer, especially since technology continues to evolve. Social media essentially changed the face of modern-day business communication so that more companies are gravitating toward digital communication instead of traditional ways such as television, newspapers, mass mailing, and face-to-face meetings. While these ways of communication worked well in the past, new avenues exist for sharing information much faster.

Digital communication involves forms of technology. The different facets of digital communication are called digital communication channels, including email communication, video conferencing, webchats, podcasts, blogs, and phone calls. As companies realize that time is money, the switch to digital communication gives employees a way to provide short and snappy responses instead of the time commitment of a phone call.

Digital communication also took center stage when the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to change their practices to adapt to remote employees. Companies shifted to use video conference calls and email because that was a way of corresponding, almost like employees were still working in a nearby cubicle.

What's the purpose of digital communication channels?

Digital communication channels can help companies build a brand with their audience. They can also help businesses understand customers' behavior to intensify sales. These channels bridge the company and its audience. Knowing how to operate each channel to its highest capacity is fundamental. Knowing which type of channel to use is up to every business. Some perform better via email, while others rely on social media. Regardless, it's often best for companies to use several channels to maximize customer service options.

Why is digital communication important?

When companies want to communicate with other businesses, vendors, clients, or customers, they want convenient and effective ways. Digital communication supersedes traditional communication due to several aspects:

  • It's more interactive: A company can interact with people immediately with instant communication. If either party has follow-up questions, individuals can provide answers quickly instead of sending physical mail. Companies might set up live chats to speak with customers so that both parties can get instant answers.
  • It's instant and fast-paced: As soon as someone clicks enter, submit, or send, the message becomes instantly available to the audience in seconds. As a result, companies can minimize delays in sending valuable information.
  • It's extensive: Another advantage is that a company can send the same information to thousands of people instantaneously. Millions can view a social media post, and you can send a post for many people. Digital communication cuts down on costs. For example, companies can create a PDF of dozens of pages instead of spending money getting the same pages printed and mailed.
  • It allows for more participation: Instead of organizing a face-to-face meeting or conference, digital communication will enable employees to gather from all areas of the globe via video conferencing. Employees can also have real-time conversations with almost anyone without leaving their desks.

How can you use digital communication?

When you want to communicate with others via digital communication, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Use different channels: Using several digital communication channels can maximize the number of people with whom you connect. A decade ago, email was the best way to correspond, but instant messaging, video calls, and social media have become popular ways of corresponding. Each channel should have a unique goal and purpose, so consider using several to maximize the number of people you can reach.
  • Tailor the message: Since you can use many digital communication channels, think about tailoring the message based on the platform. For example, it's better to use quick questions and clarifications for instant notifications rather than lengthy discussions. For further discussions, video chats might work better.
  • Pay attention to your audience: One of the best ways to reach a new audience is to continually provide them with new information or encourage them to be proactive to receive more communication. However, don't forget to include your existing audience since you don't want them to unsubscribe.
  • Avoid overloading others with too many notifications: After you get the hang of digital communication, you might become overwhelmed by trying to stay on top of all the communication. Urgent and time-sensitive messages should be separate from other types of discussions.

Many companies use a range of digital channels to connect with others, and they need digital marketing professionals who have a keen understanding of how to best leverage this technology.

Should you consider a field in digital communication?

If you're interested in working in this burgeoning field, there's good news on the work front. According to a 2018 study conducted by McKinley Marketing Partners, digital marketing professionals were the most hired positions for all marketing professionals. Many companies use a range of digital channels to connect with others, and they need digital marketing professionals who have a keen understanding of how to best leverage this technology. These professionals are responsible for various aspects, from creating online brand assets to building a social media audience.

Employers across numerous industries seek digital communication professionals with specific skills sets. Several of the soft skills they're seeking include:

  • A passion for storytelling: Those who work in digital communications focus on the art of persuasion, and one of the best ways that people do that is through storytelling.
  • Commitment to lifelong learning: People need to participate in ongoing education to stay current in this industry. This participation allows them to remain marketable and at the forefront of the industry.
  • Have flexibility: Those who seem to do the best in digital communication are highly adaptable since priorities in this industry can fluctuate.
  • Be curious: People with natural curiosity tend to excel in this position because they want to know more about the process and channels.

What jobs are available in digital communication?

Since digital communication is such an evolving industry, it's essential to pay attention to what types of careers are available. Before you upload a resume, consider some of the following jobs:

  • Content marketers: Those who work in this field plan, create, and share content that engages audiences. Content marketing involves more than promoting a service or product, but it's more about being a credible source of information that resonates with customers.
  • Digital advertisers: These professionals develop and execute strategies to reach specific audiences via several channels.
  • Search engine optimizers: Individuals in this field implement, analyze, and update website content to ensure a company's search engine rankings are high for digital content.
  • Social media professionals: These individuals develop and execute social media marketing campaigns to influence a target audience.

Although digital communication hasn't been around forever, its convenient and practical applications have become the primary way many companies choose to correspond. Whether you're interested in changing careers to capitalize on its popularity or someone who already has a passion for technology, working in digital communication might be a smart move.

Related reading for digital communication:

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