It’s crazy to think that in just a few short years most of our communication is being done in digital form – text messages, email, Skype, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. Of course, to me there is no substitution for a face-to-face, personal connection, but I have to admit – and I’m not sure when this transition happened – that my communication and relationships, whether personal or business, have tipped over to more on the digital side. The first thing I do when I wake up is to reach for my phone to check the weather. Listen to Spotify on my phone while driving to work. At my desk, my email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are in the background. And when I want to take a break, I check Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube in search of something to entertain me.
Let’s face it, it’s futile to fight the new arena of digital communications, and one must adapt or be left in the dust. You must be thinking that there has to be some sanity in the madness and a way to harness success in the digital communication world. It’s starting to feel more like the Wild West, back in the days of old. By that I mean that it’s exciting because of the possibilities, but people are lost on which way to go. Well yeehaw, pardner – saddle up for the eight rules of digital communication to help tame the wild world of social media for future campaign success.
- Email is still king. Nine-four percent of adults online use email, according to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project Surveys (2008-2012). It may seem old-fashioned now but used appropriately, email continues to be the best way to reach the masses and the essential foundation for digital communications.
- Mobile email will soon be the norm. Still thinking that emails are only read on computer desktops? Hate to break it to you, but it is 2013. Most people will, if not already, be reading their emails on mobile devices. What does this mean? You’ll have to start thinking about cross-platform promotion and simplicity. Less is more, but make it shareable in multiple ways.
- Multi-channel for maximum reach. It’s not unusual for people to go to different places to get what they need – TV, radio, newspapers, Internet, mobile phones, Facebook, YouTube – the list can go on and on. Don’t be afraid to try out new communication channels, but be mindful of your goal to make sure you’re reaching the right audience.
- Measure your effectiveness. The only way to find out if you’re successful is to have a measurable objective. Don’t forget to measure your results based on your targeted goal.
- Look into online communities. Kudos to social media for slowly breaking through silos organizations have unknowingly built up. While it’s important to understand your work, existing primarily in your own world does nothing to deliver your message to your audience. Don’t expect everyone to know who you are. Look into online communities and listen in to what other people are saying about the topic you care about and offer to be a resource. Engage and get feedback.
- Be a storyteller. No one wants to hear facts. Well, okay, some do, but for the most part, readers want to relate to your story. If possible, tell a story rather than stating a statistic.
- Have one voice. It’s important to find your voice, whether you’re casual, professorial, funny or sarcastic. I don’t recommend angry. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you why. But have fun and be consistent.
- Leverage real-time communication. Social media has provided a way to interact with people that is timely. It engages people and makes for a more dynamic relationship but know when to respond and what messages to respond to.
Got your boots on and ready to take on the next viral campaign? I leave you with a word of caution and a funny video about sexting. Be provocative, funny and smart but know that once you hit send, there’s no taking it back.
twitter - @murielbmiller