Capturing the attention of your external community is crucial to reaping success. However, a strong and clearly-cemented strategy is imperative in order to reach that stage.
External communication should focus on connecting with people outside of your organization. As much as it should sync up with your overarching marketing strategy, it needs to reach the right prospects. A strong external communications strategy will allow you to draw attention to your current marketing activities; you can highlight how you compare to your competitors, why your company is worth investing in, as well as improvements and developments you’re working on.
Social media has changed the way we communicate on a personal, B2B and B2C level. Its purpose is no longer solely to keep us up to date with our friends and peers; it’s now a platform for storytelling, raising awareness and sharing information instantly – which is important in a fast-paced world.
Here’s five ways your business can better use social media to improve external communications:
Create an employee blogging scheme and share company-wide knowledge
Research shows that organizations with blogs are 13 times more likely to experience a better ROI – if that isn’t enough to make you want to prioritize external communications, then the fact that blogs can generate 67 percent more than their non-blogging competitors should sway you.
Creating a regular blogging schedule will allow your employees to have the platform and opportunity to share their expertise. As well as being able to share your business’ knowledge and skills of the industry, it will promote you as an authentic brand which is of increasing importance in today’s society. To stand out from your competitors, consider carrying out unique research or asking employees to write about their personal experiences in the industry. By asking your employees to share their thoughts and opinions, you will be showing potential customers that you value employees’ expertise and time; it will highlight that you are a passionate, keen and industry-leading company.
If you do create a blog, it’s important that it’s updated regularly. Some would argue that an old, abandoned blog is worse than not having a blog at all.
Urge your employees to use their own social media platforms
You need to remain authentic in every way that your brand is presented – especially online, as consumers can be quick to jump on brands making mistakes on social media. However, one way that your brand can be presented online – whilst maintaining authenticity – is through employee advocacy. Your potential customers and clients may be closer than you think, for example, they could be relatives, friends or acquaintances of your employees.
Each social media platform has the potential to reach different prospects. For example, LinkedIn allows businesses to create long-term connections with customers, stakeholders and clients, whilst Facebook and Instagram are often used to keep in contact, on a less formal basis, with personal networks, contacts, friends and small businesses. To decide which social media platform is best for your employees to use, consider the type of content they’ll be sharing – is it a photograph, company news, a well-known industry article or just their thoughts on the way their workplace operates?
Email marketing adds weight to external communications
New technologies have enabled brands to create more intelligent email marketing strategies. This technology can do things such as track user behavior, personalize content within the email body and target users in a more professional and controlled way.
Think about when you’ve received an email and it’s been specific to you – it’s likely because you’ve been targeted, and the content has been tweaked to fit your demographic. Try and implement this in your own email marketing – your email open rates will be far higher if they’re specific to each individual. If you’re sending out the same email to the likes of your customers, clients and prospective clients, the content could be irrelevant as well as confusing to the receiver.
Personalizing emails is important in order to gain the attention of your users, but regularly checking-in is too, so be sure to follow up with them every now and then.
Research also shows that mobiles are now the most popular way to check emails – especially because everyone is now on-the-go. A study analyzed the way people access content and fifty-five percent said it was on a mobile phone. This means the email content you’re creating should be accessible on a variety of devices, as well as fully-responsive on mobile.
Make it a priority to interact and engage via social media
Research shows that 67 percent of consumers use social media – and one of the main reasons they use it is to interact with brands and make service inquiries. It is vital that customers receive prompt and helpful responses from your social media or the likelihood of them pursuing their sale after a negative response could be slim.
Make sure you’re showing your customers and potential customers that you care for them and want to help them with their questions. Interacting on a regular basis should be a standard procedure.
One way to make sure your social media activity is regular and within your brand’s tone of voice is to develop a social media calendar that features a variety of topics that you’re happy to talk about. Further, having a human manage your brand’s account, who can respond to customers regularly, will show that there is a personality behind your company. One example of a brand that is great at this is Innocent; they’ve managed to create an informative social media brand that interacts with its customers in a humorous and ‘human-like’ way.
Don’t neglect face-to-face interaction
We live in an era of technology and it’s often easy to forget the simplest – but arguably one of the most effective – communication platform; speaking directly to one another.
Interacting with your external community is important – if customers can see and put a face to a brand or a name, they are more likely to trust you. When it comes to interacting with clients and stakeholders, face-to-face meetings can be more effective. Meeting in person is a powerful business ethos and highlights that there is a human behind the emails you’ve been sending. By meeting with someone in real life you are able to connect on an emotional level and invest in one another’s time.
When looking toward the future of communicating, there’s no denying that there will be even more platforms for you to use in order to enhance your business’ external communications. Only 30 percent of people believe social media is the future of communications, compared to 70 percent who believe it is just another channel, suggesting the role of social media as a principal communications tool will continue to be discussed moving forward.