The best social media remains the one-on-one conversation. It is effective, it communicates quickly and you can respond directly to questions or comments. And 60% of the communication is non-verbal: gestures, posture, facial expressions, eye contact, voice use and intonation. It has been this way for thousands of years, and regardless of how popular social media is today, personal relationships remain the basis for doing business. Digital contact is just an imitation of a personal conversation. Meeting someone in real life has much more impact than exchanging a tweet with someone online.
Communication by telephone
The telephone conversation is a close second: it is two-way traffic and therefore very direct. Everyone has a mobile in their pocket and is potentially reachable. Conversely, as a customer you want to be helped quickly and personally when you call with a complaint. With a bell you can get the fastest answer to a question.
The major disadvantage of personal and telephone contact is that the exchange is only with a limited number of people. Anyone who has attended a conference call with more than 3 people knows what I mean. Communication must be steered to keep the exchange of information optimal. A workshop or presentation is much less about input from the audience. How many workshops (interactive) are really just more than presentations? (monologue)
The big advantage of internet is that you can potentially reach the entire world. At least: everyone connected to the internet, that is about 2013 77% of the developed world. And your message is permanent: it stays on the internet. That is, according to Eric Schmidt from Google, a major problem of this time, for which, according to him, the world is not yet ready.
"There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing." Eric Schmidt, Google.
We live in the communication age. We are overloaded with all kinds of messages, and for many that already starts when they wake up and grab their smartphone. The estimates vary considerably, but according to some, the average American receives 3000 marketing messages per day (that includes a visit to the supermarket). We are increasingly online, and therefore also receive more online communication.
New communication model
Due to the internet revolution, communication is not just top-down, from company to consumer such as TV commercials, but communication is also going back more often, and consumers are communicating with each other. Well-known examples are for example Youp van 't Hek and T-mobile and Carglass with #Carglass sucks. A more positive example is The Voice of Holland. Consumers connect themselves via social media and get their own platform with a growing audience.
Relevance: the social media magic word
So there is much more communication over many more communication channels. If you do not offer added value as a company, you fall outside the conversation. The magic word of social media is relevance. Relevance for the recipient: what is your audience interested in? What do they want to hear and see? What do they have questions about? But also the other way around: which target group via which channel is interesting for your company? Because there is a lot left on the internet: not only from consumers who drink coffee, but also from companies who think they are brilliant.
Choose your means of communication
A mail order company will fully deposit itself online. And a service company will embrace social media. The situation is different for an accountant firm: it will focus on personal conversations. Look for your company where the emphasis is, and do not put the personal conversation or the telephone conversation overboard. Certainly not if your customers value that. A booking site such as Texel.net still shows the phone number. You can also drop by and book locally with personal assistance.
So before you fully focus on social media ... Which communication method suits your company?