Posted by on Nov 03, 2016 at 9:38am
We know that the way we communicate with our audience is changing. We are experiencing a digital age that has changed everything, and continues to advance, keeping businesses and communications professionals on their toes. In a world where ‘lenses’ aren’t just camera accessories, ‘stories’ aren’t just found in books and ‘chat’ doesn’t take place with friends over coffee, we have to work hard to make sure we are familiar with the various trends of our audiences, and not be left thinking ‘WT…’ on terms YSK.
The ultimate objective of social media is to allow audiences to communicate easily with each other, so in many ways it has opened a lot of opportunities for businesses to reach out to their audience. Another objective of social media is speed; in a generation that struggles with delayed gratification, the internet feeds us bite sized information as it happens.
This demand for instant news has created ‘live’ platforms, like Snapchat and Facebook Live Video, that offer viewers the chance to see action in the moment, free from the use of forward planning, scheduling tools or even the use of camera rolls. This may be the definition of ‘instant’ and noble in its quest to stay pure, but it does present communications professionals with a problem. How can we control the messages that are being communicated whilst allowing the autonomy to operate in real time?
Over 100 million people use Snapchat every day to Snap with family, watch stories from friends, see events from around the world, and explore content from top publishers. Snapchatters watch over 10 billion videos per day, which is more than a 350% increase in the last year alone. Its curators say that “Snapchat is about great storytelling — our stories, and yours”, and with a strapline like that, surely PR’s have to sit up and take note?
Arguably, for the traditional storytellers out there, a series of crude video clips and amateur photos does not a story make. Never the less, if you want to reach people aged between 18 – 34, Snapchat is where you need to be.
Many companies use Snapchat very effectively, by seemingly embracing the informal culture it promotes and positioning its messages to appeal to its younger audience, but don’t be fooled. Behind the ‘off the cuff’ Snaps is a well-thought out communications strategy, developed by a team of communication specialists.
The communications strategy is key to the success of the ‘live’ campaign, and messages, tone, content, spokespeople and frequency will all be discussed and agreed before the launch. This will underpin everything content providers do and allow the company to utilise ‘live’ feeds whilst keeping in line with core message and brand image.
So, how will this shift away from the ‘doing’ and more to the ‘planning’ impact on the PR industry goings forwards? Our role will be even more vital. As non-communication specialists are let loose onto live platforms they will need careful guidance, monitoring and mentoring to make sure they stay true to message and plan. After all, ‘instant’ does always have to mean a compromise on quality.