Some of you might know I compile and present a business radio show in the United Kingdom. The UK Brand Show tackles the latest trends and issues affecting businesses across the world today.
Occasionally, I have a guest on the show who provides an expert opinion on the topic of the day. Recently, I had Grzegorz (Greg) Piechota as my guest. Many reading this may know Piechota, who is a fellow at the Reuters Institute for the study of journalism at Oxford University in the UK. He has led the charge for the news industry as to the use, choice, and monetisation of social media. Indeed, he wrote INMA’s report on our relationship with Facebook (“The Facebook-Media Relationship Status: It’s Complicated”) and is INMA’s recently announced Research-in-Residence.
My discussion with Piechota led me to think about a few different things. First, how social equals mobile and vice versa. Also, how do we as media companies embrace and exploit social to our advantage in today’s digital/mobile environment? So, I went about compiling a checklist of the main things we need to consider to be a mobile social leader.
With the ever-changing digital landscape, leading a media business in a socially connected world can be likened to playing that old gaming favourite, Space Invaders, where, irrespective of how fantastic a marksman you are, the spaceships relentlessly emerge.
Digital transformation is like this. It is firmly on the agenda of many media companies, but with it comes an incessant number of “spaceships” — the “Internet of things” (IoT), the blockchain, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), voice/smart speakers, chatbots, and, of course, all the various social media technologies and channels.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Here is my list of five tips to overcoming the digital onslaught with regard to social media leadership (which, as noted, is largely mobile), media engagement, and, ultimately, future monetisation:
1. Work out why: You may have a clear understanding of your business’ purpose — essentially why you do what you do. This purpose guides you and keeps you and your teams motivated.
From a (mobile) social media strategy perspective, your purpose also guides your messages, your content creation, who you connect to, and how you purpose that content for the mobile space, as it’s via a mobile device that most of your audience will be using. If you’re unclear, you need to ask yourself:
- What are your values and beliefs?
- Why would anyone want to engage with you?
- Is it all mobile friendly?
- How do you inspire your audience?
- What do you champion?
- What is your purpose for being on social media?
2. Understand how you appear: An easy way to evaluate your current digital/mobile social “footprint” is to take your smartphone and “Google” your company. Then ask yourself the following:
- What do readers find when they currently search for your company?
- Does your offering look good on a mobile device? Does it look different on a desktop computer? Better? Worse? Same/consistent?
- Are you happy with your offering and/or service?
- How recent are any of the articles? Are they really old — or completely up-to-date?
- Are there any sections or features you feel are missing?
- Are you seen as a thought leader in the community you serve?
This simple exercise can be very insightful in both a positive and negative way.
3. Engagement is all about listening: Always start with listening. Many companies just dive right in and start sharing or posting “stuff,” but that’s neither smart nor focused. Listen to your customers, competition, partners, suppliers, influencers, and investors. Do much of this via mobile and social — it’s quick and simple and can be dynamite in what it tells you!
4. Plan your daily content: Listening will also help you steer your content. You’ll begin to understand what others are saying or asking either of you or about you. What do they think of your social efforts, particularly, the customer experience (where mobile is concerned)?
Ask your sales teams about common issues arising with advertisers. Ask your customer service team about their customer issues. This is an under-utilised wealth of information.
Map out your diary and have a look at opportunities for key content development around your key community dates or events. But make sure it’s all usable and easy to use on mobile. Mobile is becoming more about video. What is your approach here?
5. Beware of the “fail to execute” trend: Failing to execute is an awful trait. Many ideas and plans come out of training courses, team retreat days, and group planning sessions, but then they fail thanks to a failure to execute. It doesn’t matter how excited you and your team are and how great the plans might be. If you don’t act and execute, things just don’t happen.
Many research surveys over time have all shown us if you’re held personally accountable to others, then you’re much more likely to execute. So be sure you share your plans, targets, and aspirations with a mentor or senior colleague then the business. Make yourself accountable if you’re not already, and plan regular progress updates.
(Note: If you’d like to be a phone-in guest on the UK Brand Show, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)