Over the past 10 years we have been presented with lots of new shiny toys to use, but are they being used properly?
The shiny toys being all the social media platforms that want us to interact, converse, rate, share and be part of. On top of this, many businesses have been created by being self pronounced as a ‘social media expert.’ Lets just stop there, to be an expert takes years of study and practice, to be an expert in a medium that has been around for less than 10 years, is more akin to being a ‘social media enthusiast.’
We still see many instances of Twitter being used as an interruption tool to boast and LinkedIn as a platform to gloat, rather than as mediums to help, advise and add value to their target audiences lives. The problem with communication platforms is not necessarily in what you say, but how you say it.
Take a look at the image at the top. Two years ago, QR codes were common usage in all forms of print to direct traffic via a simple reading device to link to a particular online page (just because you could do and it was really easy to get a QR code). This is from yesterday’s visit to London (13th August), where the Northern Line has a tube card advertising contact lenses. Since when were we able to get a 3G signal whilst on the London Underground?
Keeping the theme of bad communication, I have also seen a QR code on a tweet to remind people to visit their property development website, so basically using the same mobile device where you are reading the tweet to also scan and visit the site! If there is a parallel universe where this is easy to do, please let me know.
Many business owners are not trained and made to understand how to make communication platforms work for them, why should they, if their key strengths are in other areas. To many, it is a case of getting the ‘toy’ and diving straight in.
Sometimes, it’s just the right application and the simplicity of an idea that goes beyond any popular digital platform (where businesses simply blend in with the crowd). Take for example, this message for my local sandwich shop, in Poole, ‘The Dorset Sandwich Company.’ Recently, a very unfortunate accident happened when a car was parked nearby without the hand brake on. The car rolled down the hill and crashed through the sandwich shop window.
The damage is clearly evident, where the once pristine shop front window is now replaced by plywood boards. But it’s not the boards that’s the talking point but the ‘drive through application rejected, business as usual’ chalk board that is outside the shop.
This simple device (a chalk board with a chalk message) has meant that the sandwich shop has received extra exposure from an unfortunate incident from the local press to reading this now on a blog that has a large number of readers and a reach far beyond the local area.
Sometimes, it’s not a case of jumping on what you’re told to use because everyone else is, but to embrace the power of an idea. Creativity will always trump conformity, it’s up to us how we deliver our message.