Communication has undergone a significant change in the past two decades or so, allowing people to connect with various audiences through different channels. This is very evident not just in daily lives, but also in business. Different businesses, both big and small, have gained immeasurable concrete and tangible benefits from the way they leverage technology in enhancing their respective communication strategies.
Using Social Media to Enrich Your Communication Strategies
Many organizations use different types of social media to communicate with their internal and external customers, such as:
1. Social or Relationship Networks. These are services that allow connection between two or more people or groups. The relationships formed through these kinds of networks – the most popular of which are Facebook and LinkedIn – vary from the personal to the professional.
2. Social Publishing Platforms. These are composed of blogs and microblogs which allow content to be shared with subscribed users. Examples include Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress.
3. Media Sharing Networks. These services allow users to upload, view and share different kinds of media like videos and photos. YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram and Flickr are just a few examples of this type.
4. Forums. Discussions forums are known as the oldest form of social media. Even before Facebook, people have been discussing many almost anything under the sun online through forums. The most popular forums of today include Quora, Reddit and Digg.
5. Bookmarking Sites. These sites allow users to collect interesting content from anywhere on the Internet so they could save in their own accounts. Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Flipboard are among the most common examples of bookmarking sites.
6. E-commerce Sites. These sites facilitate the promotion and sale of products and services through the Internet. Through technologies like electronic fund transfers, data collection systems and Internet marketing, the buying and selling of goods are made possible even without brick and mortar stores.
These types of social media are not just cost effective; they are also easy to implement and incorporate in your communication strategies. From the simple email, which used to be the main method of communication, technology has developed in leaps and bounds, making communication work in ways we never thought possible.
Social media tools have closed the international communications gap, allowing businesses to deal with investors, customers and other stakeholders regardless of their locations. These communication tools also raise awareness about the competition and the market in general.
Implementing Social Media in Your Communication Strategies
While social media seems to be a boon to businesses today, it can also be the bane of organizations that do not have properly planned and targeted approaches. As such, you cannot just jump into social media and ride where the current takes you. To make sure you are on the right track, consider the following:
1. Your objectives. Why do you want to use social media? Which type will you use and what are your desired responses? These questions will serve as your guide in incorporating social media into your communication plan.
2. Your overall communication plan. Social media can form a part of your strategy, but should not be THE strategy. Reliance on social media alone will cause you to miss out on a bigger audience and a wider potential market.
3. Your key message. What does your brand embody? This message should be consistent in all your communication tools, not just in social media.
4. Your social media manager. Make sure you employ someone who knows your brand well. S/he must constantly update your information, monitor what customers say about you and communicate your message consistently.
5. Your website. Make sure that whatever social media platform you use is linked back to your website in order to increase traffic and to bring your brand and your message to more people.
Through careful planning and consideration, you will be able to harness the power of social media to complement and enhance your overall communication strategies.