Don’t just ‘go where the people are’, take them somewhere good.

Screenshot from 2015-11-27 12:07:08New Client Alert: I’ve just gone back to working with Small and Medium Businesses on their online voice. I’ve had beauty industry clients before, this time it’s a crossover between beauty and medical – a very modern dental studio, Mona Lisa Smiles, in Barnet. It comes tried and tested. Dr Basirat did my bone graft and implant with great results. Almost more importantly I am amazed at how much I was able to get through all that and totally relax about it. I am really happy to be working with them.

Often, communications professionals are advised to go to where the target audience is. But what if the target audience is still trying to figure out where to be? Shouldn’t we use the valuable times we contact them, the bit of influence we have, to nudge them towards good places and behaviour?

If you know me, or you know what’s happening with social media at the moment, you’ll know I’m talking about the frustrations around Facebook. For everyone trying to reach people, Facebook is the biggest social networking platform. A fifth of time people spend on smartphones is spent on Facebook, and that makes the tech news, the broadsheets AND the tabloids.

At the same time, everyone complains. About not seeing everything in their newsfeed and not being able to do anything about that. About creepy privacy issues you can’t lay a finger on – you’ve spoken to someone last week and now Facebook suggests you add them as a friend. And other complaints you see in Facebook posts – people don’t tend to think of the words ‘opaque algorithm’ when posting those but that’s where the problem lies.

The news articles about Facebook’s activities don’t help. Things like ‘Facebook sued in Belgium for tracking people who don’t even use it‘ pop up every few weeks, and, as opposed to Google, who do act according to legal and public opinion in the various parts of the world, AND who provide help with keeping information private. there is nothing anyone can do about it.

And that’s not even touching on the issues with organic reach – if you have a Facebook page and post an update, it is now published to the newsfeed of less than one percent of the people who have already clicked ‘like’. And that number is still in decline. You have used resources to grow your community and now can’t reach them without paying for it, every time you want to talk to them. That’s… not great.

In the meantime there are other platforms. Twitter, even though the digital marketing industry loves to talk about how IT WILL DIE (don’t worry because they have done since 2008, it’s good linkfodder) because it’s not making the same business decisions as Facebook, is still there and going strong. Making it make sense is not that hard if you try. Making it make sense ‘as opposed to Facebook and its mysterious, creepy, greedy ways’ might be the way to do it now.

Part of my social strategy for Mona Lisa Smiles will be to nudge people to be in touch on platforms where we can actually talk to each other. I know the frustrations with Facebook are such a mainstream issue now that I might even add some tiny bit of techie talk in my blog post on their website, explaining why we are pushing away from it and towards social platforms where we can actually be in touch with people.

Other things we will be doing are all the usual stuff: A lot of warm, friendly visuals with Instagram as the hub for everything. Getting everyone comfortable with and aware of what the practice is trying to do. Content with substance without it getting too medical. Talk about the amazing technology involved in modern dentistry (See your scull in 3D! WOW). And more!

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