It is impossible, in 500 words, to even scratch the surface of the communications revolution we are experiencing.
But, with a nod to those reading on a mobile device, here are just over 400 words on two key aspects of our digital transformation.
I’ve spent 30+ years as a journalist and editor; the past decade immersed in digital communications. That has meant a front seat to perhaps the two most dramatic changes ever in the relationship between companies, organizations and people they want to reach: The demise of the “middleman” and the rise of the mobile device.
The mainstream media continues to struggle mightily, cutting staff and content, and in some cases shutting down. Savvy communications professionals are moving the fill the information void.
Instead of sending media releases in hopes of coverage, comms departments can create carefully crafted messages and deliver them directly to existing or potential customers, clients or, indeed, any segment of the population. Say hello to native content.
How they do it is constantly shifting. There are newsletters, email campaigns, digital subscriptions, contests to encourage customers to “opt in” to future communications, and on and on.
But “sponsored content” on massive social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter is an increasingly popular method.
The beauty of these campaigns, particularly on Facebook, is the ability to drill down and target as specific an audience as you like.
Want 20- to 30-year-old working women in the Saskatoon area? Done. Oh, and they need to be pet owners? Click. Voila.
Those 28-year-old Saskatoon women will probably view your sponsored content on their smartphone, maybe even while walking the dog. That means you’ll want a visual component, either a crafty image, meme or a short, eye-catching video.
And a great hook to encourage them to click.
WORD OF CAUTION
But while you might control the message, be careful to tailor it to your audience and their needs. Consumer cynicism is very high, and a social media misstep can be disastrous.
Factor in interaction, because your audience can and will post comments and replies. Be prepared to acknowledge somehow, or to answer questions.
They expect you to engage and to do it quickly. It’s the millennial way. Actually, it’s more the way of the new millennium … I’m no kid anymore but I don’t feel like waiting hours or days for a reply either. Especially not if a reply SHOULD come fairly quickly.
Age doesn’t really matter. Every consumer, customer or client is now an equal in the digital space.
How your communications staff deal with that reality will determine your success as a company, or an organization.