by Olutayo Irantiola
The constant thing about life is change and in the less than eighteenth years, the communication space has been greatly impacted with the advent of social media. This has usually been the trend when there is a new introduction into any area of human endeavor. It is worthy to add that inventors have always had the opportunity of adding their names to the hall of fame of various professions.
Social Media came like a whirlwind as we came into the new millennium and it has successfully impacted the marketing communications industry. The debates that came alongside its advent were tremendous and it is still there till date. As people are querying the need for sidelining, integrating and even the sole usage of social media in their strategic communications.
All strata of human endeavor has agreed to this new maxim, “use social media or die”. This means that if we do not use social media as an individual, you have no reference on the internet; even with a corporate website or a blog, social media remains a major source of traffic to these sites. As such, we need to agree that strategic communication can be hinged on social media.
Equally, organizations have learnt that the attention span of people have significantly decreased, as such, there is a need to simplify the messages that go to stakeholders via social media. This brings to the fore the ease in which information can be served to people and the desire to know more about the topic of discussion.
The noise clutters in today’s world has spiked, for instance, ThisDay newspaper, a dailies in Nigeria, has between 8-10 pages of adverts of various brands every day. Industry experts have continued to ask if the message is actually getting to those that require the information, for example, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc recently launched Habari and the advert has been in the papers but the tendency that the trendy and hippy youths who need the information might miss the advert.
Similarly, only organizations with deep pockets can afford to pay for adverts in a newspapers. Interestingly, social media has ‘delivered’ people from paying these bogus amounts. Organizations now get a lot of value from social media reaching out to people and making work seamless from their workstations. Whereas, with the right targeting, organizations can reach people through social media and they will become very audible to their current and prospective clients.
On another side, social media has a downside, it can ignite fire that can consume an organization. Once there is an outbreak of crisis on social media and the organization does not have the social listening tools; the possibly is high that they will fight tooth and nail to recover their losses as a result of their ‘social media carelessness.’
In conclusion, social media has become a part of our lives, we cannot ignore the fact that strategic corporate communications has gone beyond just writing long articles and e-mails. Every organization needs to continually integrate social media to their communication strategy in order to ‘effectively sell’ their brands.