“Social Communications” embrace all the ways that we have to connect today, and the technology to enable them, with security and privacy always in mind.
Variety is vital, because People are different, so they have their own preferred platforms, but they still like to talk, somehow.
A challenging area for marketers, because so much of this is new. It may well be feeding a human need, but the techniques have still to be mastered, because this is an evolution of freedom and of thought, and the rules haven’t been written yet. As soon as you try to write them, the arena changes, things move on, and another “new way” emerges.
Open, public, pictures of cats, dogs, cars, babies, and plenty of conversations in between.
Started as a route for people to meet and chat and make the world a small place – coffee shops before Facebook! Now marketers have virtually taken it over – and they have a thirst for eyeballs – because advertising has changed, if not quite died out yet, and we, the #ConnectedConsumer, demand to be approached in a different way, so we can do our own research, and make our own decisions.
It’s still about People, so we want to know who the People are that are running, or representing, the business.
Some of them don’t quite get that concept yet – even though it’s one of the oldest principles of human existence – we still like to look people in the eye.
Because it’s important to be able to do it anywhere, and the burgeoning technology industry has latched on to this, but still hasn’t quite got the idea of “cross-platform” perfected yet. So competition – a good thing in the evolutionary process – means we have an ocean of handset/carrier/platform/gizmo choices to make, only to be faced with the “next thing” appearing 12 months later, sometimes less. That magic little box has become so much a part of our lives that it will probably take nothing less than an extinction event to change it. You only have to look around wherever you are to see faces buried in screens, often talking to someone who is simply not present.
Both of these first two just love to raid our address books at every opportunity, making out it’s for our convenience. However, it’s really to help feed their unquenchable thirst for data which may or may not be marketable. How do we go about securing that?
One of the biggest privacy concerns is also becoming an essential need – Location Data.
Our phones help us out every minute of every day by monitoring our location. Firstly to get a signal, but then to tell us about the weather, or local news, or train times, or traffic delays, or sat nav directions. All things that most of us, now, cannot live without. Already, businesses can latch on to this to send you a message, or a voucher, when you’re in the area, or recognise you as you enter the premises – those maybe useful, or a novelty, on a small scale, but what happens when more & more try to attract your attention? When iBeacons arrive in shops, will they be a good thing or a mixed blessing? Will we end up with the equivalent of email burn-out? Worst of all is our own thirst for “free” wifi – this draws us into submitting email details and/or exposing ourselves to insecure connections.
In the very near future – like starting Now – our cars will become connected, because we wanted this – we probably didn’t know it – as with so much “new technology”, it fills a need where we didn’t even know we had a need! Or, indeed where the “need” hasn’t even been created yet. Just like putting a turbo-charger on a horse and cart, new challenges will emerge. A mobile phone may take 5 months to come to market, whereas a new car can take 5 years, so manufacturers are having to embrace an entirely new form of communication and welcome it into their midst, and brace themselves for the changes it will bring about. This will be disruption on a grand scale: cars parking, or indeed stopping in a hurry, of their own accord, because sensors are working to “help us out”. All leading to “autonomous”, or self-driving, cars – an absolute god-send to insurance companies the world over – but creating a “new industry” from an old industry – much like we’re seeing at the moment with watches. ALL transport will be affected, so connected trucks, buses, and railways, will come next – watch this space!
With all of the above, the overriding concern has to be security of OUR “data”, and how best we can conduct ourselves, convey our point, and be approachable, whilst still being private at the same time. Enterprise and Government will need to be mindful at all times that they are handling someone’s sensitive information, and that it may also have a marketable value. Clearly we will need to remain legal in all our dealings, but remain in control of “our” data at the same time.
That’s what makes Social Communications such a fascinating subject area, AND such a challenge for businesses to master.
The key is People, because People like to talk to People.
It’s so much more than just Social Media.
It’s a challenge, and we’re up for it!
Contact us – we can help manage it all for you.