The right use of different media (II)

In the last article, we saw that communications are constantly evolving. The communications as we conceived them have not changed so much but have added new tools that need consideration. We will work with some colleagues who are not very used to communicate in a proper manner, but, despite that, we need to maintain some classic strategies attached to the website at the same time that we need to include new communicative tools.

Now we cannot conceive communications without including social media as an integrated tool.

In the last article we discussed about:

  • Evolution of communications.
  • Non-disruptive communications.

We still have to talk about:

  • Trans-media communications.
  • Disruptive (and sometimes invasive) communications.
  • Temporary communications.
  • Specific content distribution.

Today we are going to talk introductorily about trans-media communications and disruptive (and sometimes invasive) communications. Always in a very comprehensible non-academic way.

Trans-media communications

The following chapter is the addition of social media and instant messaging to the structure and strategy of communications. Opening new social media accounts and managing the existing ones in this conference was the following step.

In order to manage and optimize the Conference branding, the first thing I did was unify the username of the conference in all the social media accounts. Before each existing account had a different name and username, making very difficult to find the profile or page unless you had the exact name for each account. Now it has been standardized as @adventisteffn for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Sanpchat, and will be for all new platforms to be added. Sadly, with Google+ and YouTube is not that easy and will take some time to change the existing usernames.

Within the strategy of branding, the following step was changing the logo and main banner images, unifying them using different templates to adapt the same image with the new Adventist Identity kit to the different screens, mobile devices, tablets and computer screens. That took me several days only to find out the optimal sizes and templates to build upon the images and logo.

Once the work is done, now I need to train and in a certain way educate all the Conference personnel in how we should use the different media and try to set up the correct use and correct content in each media.

Not all the content is suitable for each different social-media account. If we want to promote one activity, all the information needs to be published in the website, since always will be there reachable, at least the time needed. But, if we have one poster to promote the activity, that same poster should NOT be published, for instance, in Instagram, unless it is really very visual. That’s not normally the case, since we trend to include as much information as possible in that poster, such as dates, address, schedules, all the titles, and so on.

It is preferable to create a different simpler image, more visual, more “esthetic” or artistic for Instagram with one link in a comment. In another moment, we will talk a bit about hashtagging.

Summarizing, adding new channels of communications doesn’t mean that all the publishable content is suitable for all the networks.

Disruptive (and sometimes invasive) communications

We know that disruptive communications by excellence is the telephone. When someone wants to reach you right away, will pick up a mobile and dial your number. No matter what are you doing, you will have a phone call ringing at your side. That will interrupt your activity unless you decide to ignore it or activate one mode to avoid be disturbed.

A new mean of disruptive communication is the timeline of many social media. Yes, and probably this has not been very considered but for those who work within the big companies in the marketing and publicity sections.

Normally the Social Media users choose to who they want to follow, so, in a certain way you are “allowed” to appear in their timeline by “invitation” either if you have a profile or a page. We need to cherish those followers like family and avoid to “overflow the flow” of their timeline.

Once I was in a communications summit in Germany, I spoke about Facebook with some German people, to find out that the way they use Facebook it was far different of what people do in Spain. If someone publishes more than one or mostly two new “statuses” per day, that person will be either unfriended, or unfollowed, or masked, or silenced if not blocked to avoid new friendship demands. To arrive to that point in Spain you should publish at least 10 statuses per hour…

As a Conference, now I find a misuse of social media, which is comprehensible since it is brand new to many of my colleagues who have recently opened one or more accounts in different social media.

Impulsive sharing is not the way. Many keep the idea that Instagram, Twitter or Facebook work like a webpage or e-mail. If someone is really interested will visit your wall or profile timeline, but we need to think that others will interact in the network as we do. We come to Instagram not to see what others have been eating in the last few hours or where they have taken their last foot picture. Normally we seek for interesting content, either short videos or attractive images or short quotes framed in an interesting image.

Same thing happens with other social media. We come to Twitter to learn news and short messages, and, if really interesting, some enchained messages (now less since the 280 characters). In any case, unless we are prompted by any souvenir or particular interest, we do not seek for people’s wall or accounts, we go to the timeline to “see what’s going on”.

We are “rubbernecks” or little “voyeurs” stalking someone else’s life. If someone starts to abusively post things to “disrupt” your timeline, that may obtain some benefits at the beginning, but after a while, that person will unfollow you because you are becoming disruptive within his/her timeline. So, it is a very short-term benefit. It will be better to pay some money and put in place a small campaign of publicity. Please, Do Not Post at discretion. I have seen colleagues (more than two or three) posting six, seven or more posts at times like 6 or 7 am when none enters their social media accounts. This is worthless, since all the posts will be gone in a few hours, sinking in the timeline and forgotten.

If anyone of the readers of this article hesitates, please, check the big accounts such as the Bible Society of your country and verify when and what do they post in every social media… Pay attention to the timing.

Bottom line, we may become disruptive with social media, trying to “rewrite” the timeline of other people’s social media accounts. We become one account too invasive in the narrative they want to see and read while connected, making people dislike our account and unfollowing us. At the other side, our efforts out of time might become sterile and unnoticed.

Summarizing. Today we have seen the imperative need of including new media such as social media and instant messaging in the strategy of communications of our church or institution. It is not as easy as to just open a social media account, there are many items to pay attention to. Depending in the use we do of the social media we might turn them into invasive and disruptive media achieving an unwanted outcome such as the loss of followers and damaging our institutional reputation. In the next and last article we will see how communications have become more and more temporary and content targeted, so we will need to pay attention to the publishing timing as well as the content.

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