What the heck is Strategic Communications? Sounds fancy, but it’s pretty simple. Don’t even be confused. Strategic Communications, aka Integrated Marketing Communication, is the coordination and integration of all communication avenues of an organization, (print, tv, radio, web, social media, email) and systematically developing a strategy in order to plan the flow of information in a consistent, cohesive, and organized manner. A communication strategy is designed to maximize the impact on customers and other stakeholders, and builds overall brand awareness. It is typically outlined for a certain period of time with the intention to meet short and long-term revenue goals.
The strategy conveys deliberate message(s) to targeted audience(s) within appropriate media channels at a relevant time to achieve the desired effect. Communication is strategic when it is completely consistent with the organization mission, vision, values, and when it is able to enhance the brand awareness and market competitiveness.
If you own a business and you do not manage any social media channels, or let your channels sit idle, YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON A TON OF POTENTIAL NEW CUSTOMERS! Why am I yelling? I’m not. I’m emphasizing a point because I’m enthusiastic about what I do.
According to Brandwatch, 1 million new active mobile social users are added every day. That’s right. ONE MILLION PER DAY!!! Social media users have risen by 176 million just in the last year. I bet even YOU have at least one personal social media account. Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Of course you do. And I bet you follow businesses that relate to your interests, and they alert you to specials or events that elicit action from you, right? You go out to that restaurant, to the movies, or that concert of your favorite musician, or to the community festival. How did you find out about it? Chances are through social media.
Why is advertising so popular on social media? BECAUSE THOSE CHANNELS ARE FREE TO USE, AND THERE ARE BILLIONS OF PEOPLE TO REACH!!! Yep, there’s that enthusiasm again. 🙂 Well, unless you buy ad space, but that’s a different story. If you do it right, you won’t need to purchase ad space. All you need is time. And if you don’t have the time, or the motivation to do it, then I can help you. All you have to pay for is the manpower of someone else to do it for you–SOMEONE LIKE MYSELF.
But forget TV and print ads. Well, maybe not completely, but share the wealth. All you’re doing is talking AT your customers. What you want to do is talk WITH your customers and potentials new customers. TV, print, and radio ads are expensive. You get no feedback and you’re not targeting a specific audience. You are wasting your money on a lot of people who don’t care about what you do. And these days people DVR everything anyway and fast forward through the commercials. You do that, don’t you? But if you do catch the commercials, you’ll notice that every television ad says to follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Innovative companies would rather you engage with them, and consumers like specialized attention. It makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So get yourself on social media PRONTO and you’ll get a better response. You’ll be able to interact with your consumers one-on-one, or all of them at once along with potential new ones. You’ll communicate your message to your niche groups, those who are interested in hearing what you have to say.
- There are 7.3 billion people worldwide. 3.17 billion of whom use the internet.
- 2.3 billion internet users are active on social media.
- The average user has nearly six social media accounts.
- Snapchat users watch 6 billion videos every day.
- A 2011 study by AOL/Nielsen showed that 27 million pieces of content were shared every day.
- Social networks earned an estimated $8.3 billion from advertising in 2015.
Scale that down to a local level, multiply that by the number of tourists that come to the coastal NC area, and this gives you perspective on the audiences that you can reach. I know for a fact that many people who don’t live here, but vacation in the area, or want to vacation here, or want to move here, are active in local groups and follow local business and happenings on social media that cover this area. I know because I’m in those groups and I’m watching the market. So you’re not just reaching local folks if you find the right forums in which to expose your brand.
You want to keep reminding our tourists regularly that you are here, not just when they are in town, and you want them to PLAN to make sure they stop by your business when they come. You want them to tell lots of people how great their experiences were with your business. You want lots of shares and mentions because the more social media users talk with you and about you, the more you’ll build your following. You want the social media user described in the graphic to the right! OK, that’s just a joke. But, you have to admit, that it’s funny.
The point is, the more attention you get, the better off you are, and before you know it, you end up in an article in the Coastal Living magazine as one of those “best places to visit”. Suddenly you have to hire more staff to keep up with the loads of business you got as a result of your strategic communications plan. You can only do that by putting your brand in front of consumer’s faces frequently. Repetition works. Top-of-mind sells your brand. Social media gets you there.
I am the perfect example of brand awareness and how it affects consumers. Before I moved to the North Carolina coast, I worked for a hospital coordinating outside services. Those vendors visited to market their services, facilities, and equipment. Aside from patient choice of vendors, those vendors that came in more frequently gained more business, because I remembered them. They put their brands in front of my face more often. Some of them built their business with the hospital to the extent that they needed to staff the hospital exclusively with a rep. Those that only came in once a quarter or twice a year, well, I’d forget about them and they were not “top of mind” for me to call for service. It works. You must remind your audience that you are still around, and communicate to them how you can make them a happy customer, wait for feedback, then respond back. A communication strategy can help you plan how to put your brand in front of customers and potential new customers more frequently, and social media is the link to getting there.
Now that you’ve learned what Strategic Communications is, hop on over to my Services page to learn how I can help your business build brand awareness.