Don’t neglect traditional media in the race to become a social media powerhouse

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By Managing Director Becher Townshend

A number of years ago we put together the Font Social Media Index, which at the time was quite an informative thing. It told us who was using social media, what platforms they were using, when they used it and just as importantly why they used it.

At the time, many asked why we put the index together and the reasoning was quite simple, we were speaking to too many senior CEO’s, Managers and Board Members who were predominantly male and couldn’t see the sense in engaging with social media.

Figures such as 75 per cent of the Tasmanian community use some form of social media at least once a week soon started to grab the attention of decision makers and the rest as they say is history.

Now a few years on and I think few would disagree the impact of social media and its important role particularly from a communications perspective.

Not only is it an effective way of communicating with others, but it is also a direct way in which individuals and the broader community can send you a message or give you feedback on what you are doing.

From a reputational point of view, there are times when many organisations might not like what they see on social media, but frankly platforms such as Facebook are the modern day ‘canary in the coal mine’ in terms of gauging community sentiment about the reputation of an individual or an organisation.

It is important to ensure that social media communications is not just done for the sake of it, you must have a clear objective in terms of what you are doing and always work towards it.

If not done properly, a poor social media presence or a social media identity which does not align with your brand can be counterproductive to your reputation and brand.

Just as importantly hold in mind like many new emerging areas there is some good and some bad.

When it comes to best practice communications, more and more organisations have now shifted 180 degrees and where once, would not go near social media, now they are only communicating via this medium.

While it is great to see organisations grasp the nettle on this, it is important to not lose sight of other more traditional platforms that are still relevant today, albeit not at the level they were prior to the rise of social media.

Not everyone is on social media or across a particular platform when you are attempting to engage with them.

This is particularly important in the area of communications, because only focusing on social media can leave organisations ill-equipped to deal with media issues and just as importantly lacking any reputation or relationship in terms of radio, television, print as well as the section of the community not engaged on social media.

Sometimes you simply can’t beat face to face interaction or a newsletter through the letterbox.

Basically, there is still an audience on traditional media platforms and if you don’t have a relationship with the media or directly with the local community, when something goes wrong and they are on your door, you’re already on the back foot.

To put it another way, it is all about the mix and just like determining which social media platform is best to communicate on, it is important when considering communications exercises to ensure all bases are cover and from that point of view, traditional media relations should be front and centre.


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