Remember when newspaper, radio and TV were on top of the media world? Remember when direct mail and personal sales calls were the only real options for business to business communication? It seems like it was only a few years ago this was the case, but I have a few startling facts for you: Facebook has been around for more than seventeen years. Twitter has existed for more than fifteen. Even TikTok – considered to be the “hot new thing” in social media – has been around in one form or another for more than five years.
Calling these platforms “new media” isn’t accurate anymore. Yet I still hear business leaders describe them to me as if they are something alien. I think the difference is that in 1995, everybody listened to the radio and everybody watched TV (even if they were watching different programs). It was easy to understand the characteristics of television because it pretty much acted the same for all of us.
That’s not the case for social media and other emerging platforms. Many of them have very distinct features (Twitter, for example, still limits the number of characters you can use in a message). As a result, we may choose not to adopt some platforms while embracing others (the fact that Snapchat messages disappear after 24 hours still disorients many older users, for instance).
Nobody can utilize every social media, and in the end this inevitably leads to conversations where somebody tells us about a platform or service and we simply have no idea what they are talking about. We’ve heard of WhatsApp, but we don’t really know what it is. That makes us uncomfortable because we feel uninformed or worse, behind the times.
I have good news for you: not understanding all online media platforms isn’t a matter of being old. It’s a function of your time being limited and your personal tastes being different than those of other people. Not all twenty year olds use Snapchat. Some prefer Instagram. Not all forty year olds use Facebook. Some still like to use email.
The key to modern selling and branding isn’t necessarily understanding every media choice, it’s finding the right media choices for your target and using them effectively. Don’t get discouraged when you hear a media talking head tell you that you should be using TikTok for your business. It’s not one size fits all. Is TikTok great for reaching people with consumer goods? Yes. Is it right for B2B? Absolutely not – at least not yet.
Focus on your customers, not the so-called experts, and choosing the right vehicles to carry your branding message becomes a lot simpler.
A word of warning here: remember that you are seldom your own target audience. If you favor Twitter but your customers prefer Instagram, then your choice is clear. Success comes from using the most effective platform – not our favorite platform.
So there you go: you don’t need to understand and utilize every kind of media in the world – just the ones that best reach your customers. And if that still seems like a lot of work, there are plenty of partners out there who can help you to make the most of your branding.
Have feedback for me? Drop me a line or give me a call. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
About The Author
Greg “Hal” Halliday is Anchor’s managing partner and also serves as an account manager, putting 25 years of sales and marketing experience to work for Anchor’s clients. Originally from a small town in southeast Minnesota, Hal is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a degree in business and an emphasis in marketing. He also serves as the president of the Highway 2 West Manufacturer’s Association.