We live in turbulent times. The world is only a few decades into the digital age, and yet we have already seen drastic changes in the technological and social characteristics of the online environment. From intranet to internet, email to social media, web 1.0 to 2.0, individuals and organizations have had to learn and adapt quickly to rapidly changing technologies. And there is no reason to believe that change will be coming any slower in the future.
It is incredibly important and often challenging for corporations to determine how to navigate these technologies, especially concerning communication. To be fair, public relations and marketing professionals have done outstanding work so far in adapting their communication practices to new media. However, there is always growth to be achieved and better practices to establish. If we want to measure the success of social media communication in economic terms, consider the following: a July 2016 survey found that a little over half (55.3%) of social media users polled reported that a brand’s social media presence has some effect on whether they buy that brand’s products during the holiday season.
It’s safe to say that while basic reach- and awareness-based communication has its place, it is inevitable that corporate communication can and will evolve far beyond this paradigm in the coming years. Lee and Taylor write about homo dialogicus – a communication framework based on conversation between consumer and corporation as equal participants. Essentially, this new model of corporate communication posits that organizations need to talk less and listen more, empathize with their constituent groups and interact with stakeholders, customers and the general public alike in a genuine and respectful manner. If you like the way this sounds but are unsure about how to affect these changes in your business or organization, a good place to start is changing up how your organization communicates internally. These basic tips of creating time for conversation, creating and sharing a lexicon, introducing a dashboard, challenging your colleagues and sticking to meeting times, will help you master internal corporate communication that can be applied to communication with external audiences as well.
Regardless of the industry, understanding how to communicate effectively in the modern online environment is vital. Companies that understand how to not only reach their audiences but engage and interact with them will only become more successful as social media become more complex, more personal, and more powerful. In order to succeed at this communication, we have to look beyond the technology and address the people first.
By: Wesley Marcum