The Pressure of Blogging & a New Approach

The Pressure of Blogging & a New Approach

The blogging struggle is real. No, seriously, it is.

 

In the world of digital marketing, you’d think blogging would be easy with thousands of topics to write about. Well, it’s not. Why? Because if you google every topic, you’ll find thousands of others who have chimed in with why their approach is the right one. I won’t even go into how-to posts as well. You can only reinvent the wheel so many times before it’s so saturated nothing stands out.

 

So that is why the struggle is real.

 

2016 is year 5 for ME Marketing Services. I’ve had great success with this blog, providing opinions and how-tos for the world of social media marketing. But I’ve gotten bored with it. Or maybe the pressure of figuring out what to write has gotten to me. Either way, I’ve decided it’s time for a change. We’re not going anyway, so don’t worry about that 😉

 

I’m more of an op-ed person. I like to read things and then give my opinion on the matter. How-tos and 101 posts are great and helpful, but you can’t really get into the meat of things with those. A lot of times those posts are just merely fluff. Content we publish should provide value. How-tos and 101 provide value for those just learning things, but rarely do they inspire more thought-provoking comments and conversations. That’s what I want to get to.

 

So I’ve said I want to make a change. Been there and done that with the how-tos and 101’s (you can search them on this site if you want to read them). I want to get more into the meat of matter – inspire thought-provoking and slightly debatable conversation. Some posts may be 200 words, some may be 2000, but my goal is to provide more meaty content. We may have a post a week or more or less. Let’s pick apart what’s going on in the world of marketing (on and offline). Let’s discuss what changes are going on and how they ultimately affect us.

 

This decision has been coming for a while. In a conversation with the amazing Mark Schaefer back in May 2014 he encouraged me to find my voice in the blogosphere. I had an inkling of what that voice was but it never really seemed to work itself out. Maybe as you get older, you get more bolder, willing to put a voice out there that may not be what everyone else is doing, but you know what? That’s okay. We’re all different in our approaches and mannerisms, so so what if I write like I talk? Or can be a total smart ass sometimes. That’s me, take it or leave it.

 

As I look ahead to 2016 and what year 5 looks like, it’s time to make that change and have a fresh approach to my writing. Less mashed potatoes and more steak.

 

Sound good?

8 Fun & Easy Holiday Marketing Ideas

8 Fun & Easy Holiday Marketing Ideas

The holiday season is the time of year that businesses can be made or broken. Many businesses, such as retail, depend heavily on the holiday season that runs mid-November through New Year’s Day. This is one time of year that you should not skimp on the marketing! The holidays make marketing so much fun – the contests, the deals, the relevant engagement – everyone needs to get into the spirit!

 

Here are some of the holiday marketing facts (source: Adept):

  1. The days from Black Friday through Christmas pull in 50-100% more revenue compared to shopping days throughout the rest of the year.
  2. 78% of shoppers used the internet for holiday research last year.
  3. 1 in 3 retailers dedicate 31-50% of their total online marketing budget to holiday efforts.
  4. US retail e-Commerce will grow 16.6 % this holiday (up from a 15.3% increase in 2014).
  5. 86% of retailers expect their 2015 online holiday sales to increase.
  6. 22% research a product on their smartphone while in store.
  7. 72% of millennials research online before heading to brick and mortar stores.
  8. 49% of shoppers view products in person, then find cheaper prices online.
  9. 27% read online peer reviews of a product while in store.
  10. People who shop both in person and online spend 66% more than those who only go to stores.
  11. On Black Friday, mobile sales accounted for 27.9% of total online sales.
  12. Email marketing drove 27.3% of orders on Black Friday in 2014
  13. 65% of marketing emails were opened in 2014.
  14. 1 in 5 shoppers made a purchase after opening a retailer’s email on their mobile device.
  15. 2,013,943 social media “discussions” on retailer channels happened on Black Friday in 2014.
  16. Last year, e-Commerce orders coming from social media grew a staggering 202%.
  17. 20% of online shoppers say that Facebook helps influence their decisions.
  18. 10% of online shoppers say that Pinterest helps influence their decision to buy.
  19. Only 1.7% of E-Commerce orders on Black Friday through Cyber Monday came from social media (including FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest).

 

Now that you know the facts, how does that factor in to your marketing plan? Here are 8 tips to help…

1. Get festive!

You want your business/brand to be relevant, so that means “decorating” your social media accounts! Change out your Facebook cover photo to something Christmasy (if you celebrate that) or have your Twitter background be a field covered with snow. Show the world that you are ready for the holidays.

MEMKTG_2012

2. Post interactive content.

Ask questions each week, share favorite holiday memories.  Connect with your market on an emotional level and get to know them.

Dear Santa SOMS

3. Give sneak peeks.

People like to have exclusivity. If you are offering a deal in your brick and mortar store, offer it to your social media fans or email list a day early. If you are debuting a new product or service, leave bread crumbs so they are hungry for it when you debut it.

Sephora

4. Offer a discount or special deal. 

You do not have to do this to be successful, but sometimes this will help you convert those browsers into customers. It can something for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It could be a month-long discount on a product or service.

holiday-specials-blog

5. Utilize your email list!

Your email list is almost like gold. These are people who have said they want emails from you – use this wisely! Segment it and send carefully crafted messages. Send email list-only deals. You have a captive audience, so make the most of it!

holiday2

6. Give back.

I believe all businesses should donate to charity (whether it’s time or money). During the holiday season, share what you support or support something new. Do boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Donate to Toys for Tots. Adopt a local foster child. Take a group of your employees and do a shift at a local soup kitchen. Show that you are more than a business and that you truly care and want to give back.

7. Use some traditional marketing.

You will always have a segment of your market that is not online. Make sure to infuse your online holiday marketing plan with some aspects of traditional.

8. Have fun.  

It is the holidays after all. Show some holiday cheer and have fun with your fans and those who come into your office/store.

Facebook-Holiday-Marketing-Tips

Are you ready for the holiday season? What tips would you share?

5 on the 5th - Sara Nickleberry

5 on the 5th Interview: Sara Nickleberry

I love this month’s interviewee. We first got to know each other through a social-media-“expert”-who-shall-not-be-named’s private group and later bonded over our not-so-great experience with this person. We were both part of the now-disbanded Social Solutions Collective and have stayed in touch. Sara is extremely talented and doing great things up in Michigan. Below is my interview with her, so when you’re done – go follow her 🙂

Name: Sara Nickleberry

Title: CEO

Company: Social with Sara

Website/Blog: www.socialwithsara.com

Twitter handle: @socialwithsara

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

I chose to work in social media marketing because I had a genuine interest and enjoyment in it. Before I started doing social media marketing, I was doing automotive marketing events which were definitely fun and always something new at each event. I studied Public Relations, Advertising and Communications long before social media was a thing, and social media marketing has been the most enjoyable work I’ve done so far.

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

I read and study a lot. Books, articles, anything that keeps me up to date on the industry. I stay engaged with the digital marketing community through social media and online groups. I also like to take online courses and workshops. My alma mater, Eastern Michigan University has a Center For Digital Engagement where they collaborate with business and community partners on the evolving nature of digital engagement. They’ve had speakers like Chad Wiebesick, Head of Social Media for the award winning Pure Michigan site, representatives from the Detroit Tigers and Fifth Third Bank. I like it because you get to hear firsthand from people who are currently working in the industry. So much of what they share you can relate to and immediately apply.  I’ll be attending their upcoming Search Marketing Workshop in November.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

I love the AHA! moments the most. When your efforts yield results, when relationships are built and collaborations are established.

What bothers me the most is when people use social media the wrong way. When people spam, annoy, oversell, are self-serving. People don’t understand that social media marketing is more about providing value and building relationships.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

Letting clients go. Sometimes it’s just better to part ways. When clients don’t hold up their end of the bargain, or don’t follow your recommendations, or “go rogue” :), then it makes your job nearly impossible.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

“If it ain’t right don’t do it and if it ain’t true don’t say it.” This has stayed with me because it just makes sense. It will help you avoid a whole lot of trouble.

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

Hello! Beyonce! 🙂

 

popularity-is-not-an-indication-of-quality

Popularity is not always an indication of quality

Let’s just call it what it is – “Best of” contests are nothing but a joke. They are nothing but advertising ploys by newspapers and magazines to sell ads in special sections. I can say that because I worked in newspaper advertising and I ran several of these contests.

 

But that’s not what this is about. This about the ones who fall for the fact that being dubbed the “Best of” something actually means they are the best of that particular category. Now, some, a rare few, truly are, but they are few and far between.

 

These local “Best of” contests are just popularity contests, much like being named Homecoming Queen or Prom Queen. It’s who can get the most votes. It’s not based on your quality of work or work product. Not even a business’ reputation. It’s who can get the most people online to vote for them. And I won’t fall for it or beg my friends and family endlessly to do it. Therefore, I never win and my competition always does and always will.

 

And that pisses me off to no end. Because I know I’m better when it comes to social media & digital marketing.

 

There I said it. Actually, I typed it. I know I am. Look at my work product, look at my client list. Look at who calls me up to ask for my advice, asks me to collaborate on local projects, sit on committees….they are calling me, not them. And yes, I cringed when I typed that out because if you know me, that’s not something I would normally say out loud.

 

Yet, I’ve never been awarded a “Best of” title in my town.

 

My clients have won “Best of” titles and my company has had clients win the “Best Website” and “Best Facebook Page” categories for some of these local contests but does ME Marketing Services or myself take any credit? Nope. We are never mentioned nor do I ask to be. Why? Because it’s about my clients. Maybe that’s where I fail – because I don’t seek the “fame and glory” some of these other local companies do. I currently partner with one of the region’s oldest local marketing company (who came to me to outsource social marketing for a client, by the way) and they works like I do – for the clients, not seeking the credit or praise for himself or his company. THAT is how a business owner or company should work.

 

Yes, I published a few posts asking for votes for this “Best of” contest. I hated doing it. It felt so wrong. To be honest, I only did it because these other competitors were doing it and I figured I might as well.

 

“Best of” anything should be based on WORK PRODUCT AND REPUTATION, not popularity. If I win an award of any kind, I would hope it would be based on that. I work hard to walk the talk and produce for my clients and because of it, 2016 is looking to be our best year yet.

 

I firmly believe that respect is a lot more important, and a lot greater, than popularity. – Julius Erving

The Dark Side of Social Media

The Dark Side of Social Media

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. – Isaac Newton

Social media is no different.

 

The weekend of October 17th showcased that to its fullest thanks to college football. College football brings out the most passionate fans and while the majority have a sense of right and wrong about their passion, there’s a group who have to limit.

 

Let’s start with this –

 

So how does the end of a college football game have to do with the dark side of social media? Well, let me introduce you to Blake O’Neill. Blake O’Neill is the punter for the University of Michigan, you know, the one who fumbled the ball in the video above.

 

Now I present exhibit A of the Dark Side of Social Media (and the only one necessary) –

blakeoneill

Image Source: Saturday Tradition

 

To be honest, the minute I saw (or at least when my husband told me what happened while we were sitting in the stands of our game) I knew what would ensue online. Working in social media, you just know when things like this are going to happen.

 

Now it’s time to get on the ol’ soapbox.

 

What kind of idiot “fan” would make threats like that against a college athlete? He’s just 20 years old or so. This is the dark side of social media. It’s a place where people (trolls) sit behind their screen of choice – laptop, smartphone, tablets, etc. – and hurl insults and threats they would not dare make in person. I dare each of those ones in the picture above to say that to his face, but you know what? They won’t do it.

 

Social media has given everyone the ability to hide behind their screen and say things they wouldn’t ever say in person. Bullying, death threats – they are all there. If people are going to do that, they need to grow a pair and do it in person. But wait, they won’t do it because it would cause them to actually get out of their mom’s basement and do something and put themselves at risk. Blake O’Neill isn’t the first person this has happened to and sadly, won’t be the last. College football has passionate fans. Soccer has them. The NFL has them. Every sport on earth has fans who take the social media airwaves to air their grievances. Yes, even I have criticized our school’s quarterback on social media, but it wasn’t anything I wouldn’t walk up to his face and say. Hurling death threats and such is another matter entirely. That is crossing a line.

 

What it is going to take for this dark side to go away – or at least shrink?? This is an issue that transcends sports – it’s cyberbullying, insulting others to make you feel good, even displaying a false image of your life online. For every negative post, there should be at least 3-4 good ones to make up for it. Cutting people down to make yourself feel better or in Blake’s case, taking your hurt and frustration out on a player because of one mistake (other than that fumble he had an amazing game) and how it made you feel is never okay. Ever. I know the world is full of mean people and trolls who will always be there, but we all need to speak up stop this. If you can’t say what you post to someone’s face, then why post it at all?

 

Stepping off the box now.

3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Social Media Reach

3 Easy Ways to Increase Your Social Media Reach

If I had a dollar for everytime someone asked me how they could extend themselves online, I’d be super-rich. Well, maybe not super-rich but definitely rich.

Every business, when using social media, wants to get the most return on their time. Once you’ve established the basics and have that rolling, there are other things and areas you can branch out into to keep the growing exposure going. When you get to that point, and you will, here are three actionable ways to extend your social media reach –

Use hashtags.

Hashtags are a great and easy way to have more if your posts found. Just be careful and not use more than 2-3 hashtags in one post. You don’t want to be the one to overkill it. Using a hashtag will make your post searchable and if you happen to use a popular hashtag, you’ll see more traffic to that post and your account. Hashtags are also a great way to hold social media contests, brand your posts and communicate with others. #HashtagsRock

Participate in Tweet Chats.

Tweet chats on Twitter is an amazingly great way to connect with new people and extend your brand on that platform. There are tweet chats for just about every topic under the sun. They can move fast, but are always centered around a hashtag (see above). Whenever I’ve participated in a tweet chat, I’ve always walked away with more followers and more exposure to my brand. The best site to use when participating in a tweet chat is www.tweetchat.com.  To find a chat to particpate in, check out Tweet Reports, Twubs, or this Google Spreadsheet.

Collaborate with Other Businesses.

Finding a like-minded and focused business to partner up with can expose you to a brand-new audience. Of course, make sure it’s not the competition, but finding a business that targets who you want to target can open new doors. A no-brainer example would be photographers and florists. Doing joint blog posts or sharing each other’s social media posts will put each of those businesses in front of each other’s audiences, thus extending their reach to a whole new fan base. Business partnerships like this can usually be mutually beneficial. Just make sure you’re not doing all the work.

You can put as much or as little time into each of these three ways as you want. Each of these will extend your reach on social media and expose you to brand new fans.

Have you tried any of these and had success? Comment below and share your experience!

 

This post was written for The Southern C and has been republished with permission.

Why Twitter Needs to Keep Their Share Counts

Why Twitter Needs to Keep Their Share Counts

Oh Twitter, how I love thee – let me count the ways…or on second thought, let me rethink that.

 

In the past week Twitter has announced that their share counts will no longer appear with Tweet buttons AND third-party direct access to tweet share stats will be curtailed.

 

This is a HUGE mistake.

 

Warfare Plugins wrote a brilliant article about this issue expressing their opinion on the matter and why Twitter should change its mind. They brought up three situations/consequences we’ll face –

 

  • If you’re a blogger, your Tweet button won’t show visitors how many times your latest post (or any post) has been shared – Could lead to fewer shares and less interaction?

  • If you’re an online pro who gets paid big bucks for helping promote brands, you’ll lose a primary way of showing advertisers how popular you are with the online masses – Social Proof. That could put a dent in your bank account

  • If you’re a third-party app developer, you may be in deep waters – without access to Tweet share counts, your app may lose a critical part of its functionality, and you may lose subscribers

 

The one that really resonates with me is social proof. Social proof is big y’all. How many times do you look to see how many times an article has been shared before you share it or reference it? We all place value in how many times a piece of content has been shared – I know I do. I’m more likely to reference/share something that’s been shared several hundred times already over a piece (of the same age) that has less than 50.

 

Social proof is used in validating not only content but people. Influencers are measured on their social proof (even though I in principle disagree with some of that). If Twitter takes that component out of the equation, what are we to base it on? Facebook and who has the most money to spend to get their content seen? Small businesses cannot do that.

 

Here are two effects they mention that we may see if this indeed happens –

 

  • Access to “vanity metrics” will be sharply reduced – other social media platforms may follow suit and cut off easy access to their analytics data

  • Many social media third-party app developers will be hit hard – some may shut down entirely for lack of affordable access to information

 

I would really hate to see great companies fall away or eliminate Twitter access because of this. That would make the lives of us social media strategists/managers/marketers a lot more chaotic.

 

Warfare polled 15 “social media power influencers” (I do not agree with who is on their list and do not consider a few of them influencers in any way) and there were six reasons that came out as to why Twitter may be doing this –

 

  1. Twitter wants to generate more revenue!

  2. Twitter wants to cut expenses by no longer playing (free) host to share count queries.

  3. Twitter hates that Facebook share counts generally make Twitter share counts seem paltry. Removing share counts may prompt other social platforms to do the same.

  4. Twitter knows the future of computing is predominantly mobile and wearable devices – where there’s not much room for share count displays

  5. The move makes no business sense whatsoever. Twitter is “throwing away dollars to make pennies.”

  6. Twitter wants to force users to login to Twitter.com, rather than use third-party apps as the primary access point. That will give Twitter more marketing capability. They can sell more ads and get more commissions.

 

I personally think numbers 1 and 6 are on the spot. It’s all about the money. Facebook went public and now 2 or so years ago and now you have to pay to get your content seen. Twitter went public not too long ago and… well, you can see the picture or what the picture will be. When you go public you have shareholders to answer to – not the people actually using your product. Bottom line – make money. I believe this is a driver in making this move. It also goes along with number 6 – if you log into Twitter.com you will see the ads, you will have to use them as your primary access point. Not Hootsuite or Buffer or Sprout Social anymore, but Twitter. And with more eyeballs on Twitter, the more ads they can sell and the more money they can make.

 

This, in my opinion, truly comes down to a business decision to be able to generate more revenue. They (Twitter) don’t care about social proof or validation. They don’t care about moving content and making it ignite. They quite frankly don’t care about us users and what we want. They care about money, just like Facebook did. I LOVE Twitter – it’s my favorite platform by far and I don’t want to see it develop into the love/hate relationship I have with Facebook.

 

If you are with me, join the hashtag #saveoursharecounts.

 

What are your initial thoughts about this?

5 on the 5th Interview - Mojca Mars

5 on the 5th Interview: Mojca Mars

This month I want to introduce you to someone I was recently introduced to, Mojca Mars of Super Spicy Media. Fellow social media peer and friend Ian Anderson Gray introdiced Mojca and I via Twitter. She is located in Europe and doing some awesome things on that side of the pond for businesses and their social media. I have enjoyed getting to know her and you will to!

Name: Mojca Marš

Title: Social Media Consultant

Company: Super Spicy Media

Website/Blog: http://superspicymedia.com

Twitter handle: @mojcamars

Question 1: Why did you choose to work in this industry?

Because I was good at it and I saw that the demand for good and effective social media managers and consultants was high.

At that time I was still working at the advertising agency, that was, before I got fired. I saw big companies creating their own Facebook pages and they suddenly needed someone with different skills to run that for them. Our agency didn’t do social media management so when I got fired, I started writing my own story.

Before I got laid off I was already helping a friend who had an ecommerce site manage his Facebook page. The results were good beyond belief. We were soon competing with bigger companies in the same space and that’s when I got hooked and been hooked ever since.

Question 2: How do you keep continuing your education and staying up on all the latest trends and changes?

I read, discuss and test. I read an enormous amount of articles about social media, books about it, watch videos. I also discuss about social media with my colleagues if I get the chance. What worked for them, what were the results? But the most vital part of educating is testing. I truly enjoy testing different approaches on social media, observing results and making conclusions. I publish those conclusions on my blog and educate others on that topic.

It’s hard to balance out the educating and working part, but both has to be done if you want to stay at the top of your game.

Question 3: What do you love the most about working in your industry? What bothers you the most?

I absolutely love the fact of how social media has changed the marketing landscape. Companies and brands can now connect with a user on the other part of the world within a few seconds. Even the smallest companies can achieve major successes on social media if they choose the right approach. I love to teach companies and brands on how to achieve that and go beyond the goals they set up for your business.

But what bothers me the most is industry’s lack of tracking social media analytical reports. A lot of social media managers rely on their gut feeling and create content without any insight into analytical reports. I’m definitely not saying that everything should be created based on analytical data (if that were true, we would probably all sound like a bunch of robots), but data shouldn’t be as ignored as it is today. It plays a vital part on a successful social media strategy, we need to accept that.

Question 4: What is the hardest situation you’ve encountered in your business and how did you handle it?

I mean … I had clients leave me at the beginning of my journey, I had to let clients go, I was dealing with late payments, I dealt with failed campaigns but I don’t think this would even qualify as hard. I perceive these situations as different tests. All of us are going through situations like this, the winners are the ones who will persevere.

Maybe I have a problem of taking these situations too easily. I always take a step back, acknowledge that things aren’t as hard as they may look at first and solve problems efficiently. I don’t want to spend my time thinking about the problems, but I find a solution and move on.

Question 5: What is the best business advice you’ve been given and why has it stayed with you?

Charge more. I have read so much content on charging more by Brennan Dunn and that changed my perspective and business in a way I couldn’t imagine. After constantly reading his content I decided to make drastic changes in my business. Based on the results clients were getting from my work I realised I’m seriously underpricing my services.

I completely changed my business after it. I created different packages, my proposals got an update, I started communicating differently and that enabled me to double my income in just a few months. The best thing of all? I attracted even better clients and even though I raised my prices significantly, they were a lot happier than previous ones.

One for the road…

Bonus: If you could come back to life as any person from the history, who would it be?

Steve Jobs. Because he was a badass.  

 

Why List Minimum Requirements Should be Banned

Why List Minimum Requirements Should be Banned

If I had $1 for every opportunity I had to pass on or get turned down for because I don’t have a bazillion people on my mailing list, I’d be rich.

 

I’m going to lay it out there – email subscriber list minimums totally suck.

 

Let me explain before anything gets burned down. I get lists and why some companies and individuals put a minimum as a requirement – they want visibility of their event or whatever they’re promoting. Nothing wrong with that, but I believe they are discriminating against a whole group of people that I happen to fall into.

 

I know it’s preached that our money is in our list (and I’ve even wrote about it – sigh) and it could be if used regularly and for the right reason. I get it, but for me personally, it’s not important. Yes, I have somewhere around 500 on my email list (not ashamed to admit to that) and I love each of them and appreciate them, but I’m not going to exploit them by bombarding them with emails about an event I’ll be at or to register for something. I just won’t do it. Those who have subscribed to my blog posts or my emails do so because of the content I’m publishing and I’m very protective of that.

 

Back to the list minimum thing…

 

List minimum requirements really puts a glass ceiling on so many social media pros and other business owners. I know so many worthy social media pros who would really do well for various social media marketing-related events, but because, like me, not having a bazillion subscribers immediately disqualifies them. The smallest list requirement I’ve seen is 3,000. True story – I had one event organizer ask me if I could get the 2500 or so I didn’t have in a matter of 2 months so I could participate in this one social media event they wanted me at. I told them that wasn’t going to happen unless I bought a list and that’s a line I will not cross. Needless to say I never heard back.

 

For me and my business, building a massive subscriber list just isn’t a priority. Those who follow me will subscribe if they want, but I would rather publish quality content across my social media platforms and let that and my work speak for itself.

 

I’m sure some of you right now are thinking “is this woman crazy? That totally contradicts a lot of what’s out there! How can she make it if she’s not actively promoting something to subscribe to???”.

 

Let me let you in on a secret – you can be successful without a massive email subscriber list. It’s about quality, not quantity. I’d rather have 500 people who receive my blogs and emails and have them find value in that content and share it than 5000 people who could care less (and maybe 100 find value in it). I’d be curious to see the open rates of the emails some of these ones who tout over 10,000+ subscribers. It’s probably much lower than you think.

 

So what can we do get around this list requirement for events and online seminars? Until they (the organizers and those in charge) change their thinking and approach, not much unfortunately. There is a glimmer of hope – your social following. I did have one waive the list minimum because of the number of followers I had on social media. I believe having a strong social media presence and following circumvents a having a certain number of email subscribers. Afterall, these are people who are actively following you and reading your content (like you are right now!).

 

So, what are your thoughts? Do you think list minimums should go away? I’d love to hear your view on either side of the topic!

6 Ways to Improve Your Communication in a Changing Culture

6 Ways to Improve Your Communication in a Changing Culture

It’s about 7:00am you wake up to your alarm blaring, you reluctantly slunk out of bed and begin to get ready for the day. Before you even finish brushing your teeth you receive two texts from your friends about lunch plans, and by the time you walk out of the door with a granola bar dangling out of your mouth your inbox is jam packed full of promo emails, spam, e-newsletters, and the occasional important email from your boss. As you turn on the radio you catch the end of the traffic update, and begin to listen to the news of the day. Finally to top off the morning your mother calls you to inquire about your siblings, and if you heard about Aunt Myrtle. It is nearly 9:00am and you feel like you have had your fill of information for the day.

Our society is on communication overload. We are a part of a selective, on-the-go, plugged-in community. The root of our cultural change: technology.

Technology has made it possible to access bookoodles of information, and simultaneously made it extraordinarily easy for us to ignore it. So how are organizations able to communicate to audiences that won’t even venture a glance at what they have to offer? The answer is more effective, strategic communication.

Communication is essential to connectivity, without connectivity an organization can not thrive. These six tips can help you improve your communication and form connections with your audience.

Take the time to listen: People love to talk about themselves and their opinions. The trick is actually listening to what they have to say. Analyzing and acting on the feedback you receive can transcend your communication strategies.  

Be smart on how you release your information: Who is your audience? When and where are they more likely to be receptive to your messages? Throwing out a story on Facebook at noon because it’s convenient for you does not necessarily mean it is convenient for your audience. Investigating when they are most active on social media, and on which platforms they are most active will improve your reception.

Choose what information you want to communicate carefully: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something,”–Plato. Don’t be a fool. Plan out what information needs to be said, and what information you want to be said. Differentiating between the two is critical to the success of your messaging. You may be under the impression your audience won’t know the difference, but they do. Don’t become a slave to that fallacy.  

Keep it simple: People do not have time to sit down and read a 10,000 word article about the environment of fire ants in the Deep South. Keeping your communication short, sweet, and to the point gives you an advantage when reaching your audience especially if they are immersed in technology and social media and constantly on-the-go.

Be Transparent: No one enjoys being lied to or not being told the whole truth. Being clear and honest with your audience is invaluable when earning their trust and loyalty.

Be Creative: Being creative in how you deliver your information will capture the eye of your audience and you will more than likely gain their respect causing them to return.

 

Implementing these communication tactics will improve your reach and will equip your messages when wading through the information sludge.

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