Communications in a Digital World
Communications has been around a long time…
Before Facebook, before twitter or Linkedin and yes, even before My Space, people have communicated. From cavemen to kings, poets to authors and paupers to politicians, people have been communicating to one another in ever changing methods. Words, pictures, carvings and even statues. It used to be that those with the most power got the most attention. Only companies, billionaires and anyone who could afford the services of a good PR firm could reach out and broadcast their message to the masses. Now all it takes is an epic fail or a cute pet on Youtube to go viral and you can get tens of millions of hits. Times have certainly changed but two things haven’t:
People still love a good story and quality counts.
We can’t help it. People respond to story telling and something that engages our emotions. A feel good story or an interesting fact that puts life in context, something that helps us connect to the people around us. In keeping with that message, here are some simple tips and a few things to think about when it comes to modern communications in the digital world.
My Golden Rules of Communicating in a Digital World:
- Stop selling and start telling.
- Be generous.
- Have a social mission.
- Be genuine.
- Good news travels fast, bad news is instant.
- Make a communication plan that works.
The Golden Rules: Communications in a Digital World
Stop communicating about products: In other words: stop selling and start telling. Show why something is useful innovative or fun and do it in a way that is memorable not just another interruption on our day to day life.
Be Generous: Share ideas and experiences that you think will add value. Have you come across some great product or service? Tell people about it. If there is a way that this can benefit you, great. If not then know that you’ve helped other people and good social media karma is a powerful thing.
Have a social mission: This ties in with the note above: try and have a social mission not just a commercial goal. If your company believes in a certain cause or donates to a charity then let people know. You might get people involved in a cause you believe in and everyone feels good. True many brands succeed without this but many more brands have also engaged people on social values and all the emotions that go with that. It’s a fine line but if you’re being honest and not just predatory then you will build a very loyal and dedicated group of followers with similar values.
Be genuine: We all make mistakes so communicate the good with the bad. If your company or organization did something wrong, own it. It’s another part of telling a good story and will help people understand there’s real people standing behind your business.
Good news travels fast – bad news travels faster: It’s human nature but again, it’s part of people enjoying a good story. This has never been more true than in the age of twitter and youtube. Monitor what people are saying about your business or organization in the online world. You might learn some ways to improve your messaging or your product.
You can’t make everyone happy: With so many people online you’re going to have haters – people who just love to leave nasty messages, bad reviews and sometime say unfair things. Respond if you need to but don’t get in a tug of war with them. Be professional and you know you’ll never make everyone happy. Forget them and move on.
Make a communication plan and work it: A basic communication plan still works and is more relative today than in the day of Mad-Men. If you’re not sure what a communication plan actually is then look it up. A solid communication plan is timeless but depending on the plan your use, you might have to make some adjustments for modern technologies and social media platforms.
Get help: If it all seems too much then get help. I work with small companies to help them establish simple and realistic communication plans that work. You don’t need to do it all.
What’s the takeaway from all that? It’s this:
Don’t always be on the hustle, care about the world you live in and find a way to contribute to it. If you have a success story then share it, if mistakes happen then admit it, learn from it and move on. Whatever your business or group is involved in, if you approach communicating in a real and honest way then people will respond and hopefully, success will follow.