We are all well aware that, due largely to the increase in social media platforms & visibility on the internet, organizations are interacting even more with their customers and implementing online marketing techniques to attract new clients and increase sales. While they certainly need to integrate social media marketing plans with measurable goals into short & long-term planning, they also need to develop communications strategies to not only maintain consistent connection to their audience but also deal with negative posts in a way to spin them around positively. This requires companies to hire and train excellent communications coordinators who can read between the lines of someone’s comment, anticipate their needs and expectations and take initiative to suggest a solution. Herein lies another challenge – how to decipher between true & honest comments, internet trolls, bots and fake news?
The New Normal – Avoid Fake News and Utilize Wisdom
Along with the threat of losing control over one’s social media image, these platforms have opened the gates for the bombardment of fake news. Even science is affected by this fake news phenomenon. In her TED Talk ‘The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows’, philanthropist Laura Arnold speaks of how the science community is motivated to publish studies that have a high ‘impact factor’; which often promotes results where data has been cherry picked or skewed in someway. This ultimately creates potentially dangerous misunderstandings and assumptions from publicizing the ‘research’ as fact. She says, “In an ideal world, scientists and researchers would be motivated by one thing: the pursuit of truth.”
Barry Schwartz in his 2009 TED talk Our Loss of Wisdom calls for us to not only employ knowledge but to tap into our practical wisdom and use it everyday in order to help rebuild the world; which I believe is more true in today’s world. ‘The truth is that any work you do that involves interaction with other people, is moral work. And any moral work depends upon practical wisdom… We are always teaching – someone is always watching; we are always on.’
The Predicting the Future
Numerous articles such as Social Media Trends to Watch For in 2018 by Bryan Adams point out that Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat will continue to dominate. Shama Hyder points out in her video 4 Massive Digital Trends to watch for in 2018 that the future still includes creating content (especially video), making everything accessible on mobile (for our phones, tablets etc.) and maximizing the power of data using tools such as Google Analytics. In his video Mobile is Already Running Our Lives | Nordic Business Forum 2016 | DailyVee 349 Gary Vaynerchuck pointed out the next features to watch were Instagram stories, Alexa (and other voice assistants) as well as Snapchat. At the time he predicted that in 10-15 years Snapchat will be popular among the 30-50 year-olds; much like how today Facebook is more popular with the crowd who started using it when it was first introduced to only University students. With the most recent update to Snapchat stirring some major negative feedback, I guess time only will tell!
How Do Organizations Adjust?
So with all of this information out there, and with a variety of different platforms to choose from, how do companies figure out the best path to maximize their efforts? A renewed focus on communication must also include an implementation & follow-up plan as well as using data analytics SM measurement & monitoring. However, I think the true value of social media is in sharing information, our stories, and creating connections. Because of this, I think organizations will also need to focus on honesty & transparency along with a wise and truthful approach to consistent, clear communications.
Our world is being documented and recorded in various ways and information is shared in a matter of seconds. Transparency is quickly becoming a topic of conversation as we see more regulations in the financial services industry, among others. This transparency has also opened the gates for a more productive feedback system, among other benefits. As businesses demonstrate having their clients’ interests at heart, this creates a friendlier environment allowing for candid feedback that is more open & honest. This is a major tool to help companies eliminate friction in order to make their client experience even more seamless and user-friendly.
Kids of the future will still need to build character and study – including learning how to respect themselves and each other – in order to be successful in any field. Learning and practicing various social media marketing tactics and developing communications skills will certainly be useful almost everywhere as well – especially when combined with developing a personal identity and building wisdom along with way. Of course, it can certainly help to be witty as well! Fast food chains like Wendy’s can often be caught trolling their competitors and starting very public online banter, which creates a visible interaction their audience can relate to and will continue to talk about. This ultimately helps both brands with increased recognition, followers and potential customers; simply by being effective, transparent communicators.
What are some other ways businesses can improve their communications strategies using social media?
[TEDEx Talks]. (May 30, 2017). The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows | Laura Arnold | TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue [Video File]. Retrieved February 14, 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2y7BzjbSNo
[TEDEx Talks]. (February 2009). Our loss of wisdom – Barry Schwartz [Video File]. Retrieved February 14th, 2018 https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom