How to define the best communication strategy
In today’s business model, communication is key in order to be successful and create added value for your brand. The way companies communicate has moved from a monologue – a one way stream – to a dialogue, where customers and other stakeholders interactively participate, where they exchange, promote and share information. As a company you cannot ignore the role of social media anymore, even more, you have to add this communication channel into your marketing & communication mix. The good news is that a lot of companies are considering integrating new and traditional media. However this is not always done in a straightforward way, and mostly a strategy is missing or not properly defined. The results of a live short survey we conducted during ‘European Dynamic Marketing Summit’, in Brussels November 2011, clearly outlined that there is a lot of interest, but also that many companies have questions about how to start, how to integrate and how to define a ‘new communication strategy’, both internally and externally.
Review your current communication channels: today.
Here’s a few tips if you are planning to review your communication strategy:
First analyze your current communication channels
• are they all successful?
• why? or why not ?
• can you measure the feedback/response rate?
• are you using them at the right time?
• for the right audience ?
• do you have budget / resources to set it up?
Set up a ‘communication task force’, with participants from all divisions of your organization (not only marketing and IT !!) to answer these questions. Discuss the results with the steering team and evaluate.
You have a lot of information available now, so it is time to define your strategy and tactics. Keep in mind that the most common error in implementing social media is a missing strategy. Or the strategy is not (well) defined, not up-to-date, there are no guidelines, no best practices, or there is no structure. Sometimes companies are not using the right channels, products or tools, and most of the time there is no ownership: a team to ‘make it work’ and keep it going, and often there are no dedicated budgets or resources.
Be prepared and avoid pitfalls.
The top 5 mistakes:
- No (or not enough) monitoring tools or even worse: no defined KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)
- Down sourcing: no support from senior management
- Speed before perfection
- Faking your social media presence, faking your on-line reputation
- Abuse of social media for ‘pure’ commercial activities
Select the right channel for your communication
This table outlines the strongest points for both traditional paper communication (direct mailings, letters, …) and social media (twitter, FaceBook, blogs …)
Social media channels are non-stop communication channels, they’re a great way to stay in touch with your customers and with the market, 24/7, but that requires resources, time and budgets.
Good content is key, whether it is an opinion piece, paper, direct mailing message or a twitter message. If the content is bad, people will turn the page of your direct mailing, but they will also stop following you in a social media channel. The ‘tone of voice’ can and will be different for each channel, but good content is a must. Digital media results (ROI, response rate, feedback, …) can be measured more easily than paper or printed communication results. Please use that advantage to monitor your efforts frequently. And last but not least: it is not print OR social media, it is print AND social media. Using both channels is a good foundation for a strong, direct and responsive communication platform, as they are most complementary.