07 Apr The Changing Communication Landscape
Remember when internet platforms were social networks? It was about knowledge-sharing and interconnection – venues for like-minded people to connect. Then, it became a lot less social and a lot more about paid ads. Stirring the pot even more was the avalanche of hate speech, fake news and the twist-and-turn debate about freedom of online speech and who gets to decide what is allowed and what gets removed. It was not a big surprise to anyone when people started saying “I’ve had enough!” Facebook accounts were closed and many social users swore off the small screen of their mobiles as an information source. It’s called social media fatigue.
So, what does all this mean for your business? Should you continue using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn? How do you weigh the pros and cons of what you hear in the media and from your network?
Reframing the Online Relationship
Users are absorbing information differently and reframing their relationship with social media. As one of the region’s first agencies to devote an entire department to social media (the same year Facebook was born), we are watching this closely and evaluating the trends. GillespieHall looks at what will change in communication in the coming months and years – particularly online communication.
Overall, usage of all social media platforms continues to grow. This is especially true of business social media use – particularly LinkedIn. What we are seeing is the need for communication strategies that are designed to incorporate different communication touchpoints so businesses can reach different audiences in different contexts – the operative word being “flexibility!” The evolution continues: today’s social media has morphed into a more personal, organic experience with people looking to engage in one-on-one interactions.
People want more information before making decisions. A 2018 Demand Gen report on content preferences reveals that “buyers are becoming more discerning and selective in the content they decide to consume. A majority (88%) agree that content producers need to focus less on product specifics and more on the value that can be brought to their business.” In other words, people are doing a lot more research on their “buying journey” before selecting a product or service to purchase. More recent anecdotal reports seem to indicate that the pandemic only emphasized consumers’ focus on empathy, agile problem-solving and value-offering, social responsibility and “the human touch.”
The Road to Come
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to using social media for your business, and the strategy today could be very different from what it will be six months from now. The landscape is shifting, but social media remains an indispensable mile marker on the communications strategy roadmap. It does not work alone and never has!
As social media evolves, so should your communication strategies.
Public Relations Professional and Community Engagement Specialist Tita Cherrier leads GillespieHall in strategic public relations planning/implementation, content direction, crisis management counsel, and overall client relationship management.