Here at Dundee Social Enterprise Network we put a lot of work into supporting and developing our member social enterprises. So we always love it when our efforts are rewarded by progress, especially when our members go digital.

We had the pleasure of working with and learning from SCVO, both as a One Digital anchor organisation and a digital champion participant. The experience gave us a better understanding of one of the most important third sector programmes for digital learning and engagement in Scotland.

The digital landscape

The online wilderness is dominated by huge brands that tower over a landscape scattered with small enterprises and organisations trying to get by.

So how we can have our share?

It’s all about trust. That’s why communication is essential.

Small organisations have the advantage of being able to personalise their offer and build ongoing, relationships with people, whereas big businesses simply can’t.

Small teams get to know their customers, service users and client base well, allowing them to build trust through regular communication.

Trusting a big, established brand is different to trusting a small team. We trust a big brand because we assume it can provide a product or service without failure, and if not, it will offer some kind of compensation.

The lesson: small organisations should communicate their human side and avoid clinical, sterile text.

Understanding and reaching out

One Digital made me aware of the need for digital tools in the third sector.

Not all organisations are tech savvy. Some lack knowledge, skills or confidence, while others may not see how digital tools fit their line of work. But they’re usually keen to hear about the benefits of keeping up-to-date with the online environment.

I am fortunate that the team at Dundee Social Enterprise Network is so digitally minded (and I am not just saying this, because they will most likely be reading!)

Two very useful tools for me are the online graphic design platforms Canva and Piktochart. They let me share visually striking updates with our stakeholders, and are very effective. The number of likes on our Facebook page has doubled in the last few months, with an increase of referral sources and visitors to our web pages.

And this has not gone unnoticed – we’ve had organisations asking for website advice!

Along with implementing web monitoring, search engine optimisation and Google ad word tools, One Digital has helped us determine the value of each web and social media page we create.

This in turn has influenced how we approach creating new content, especially with a personalised touch. For us, pages with a higher quality and quantity of visually relevant information are much more likely to engage web users than pages with only text.

Knowing who your audience is an important aspect of any form of marketing. It is actually getting easier to do this online.

Whilst it may not feel like the most proactive thing to do because you’re not making something or publishing something, it helps you to focus on communicating with the right people in the right way.

Otherwise you’ll become lost in the online jungle.