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The Commery / Communication

Make them SMART: Setting Communication Objectives

Communication, whether on or offline, needs to be carefully planned. How else can you stand out in a highly connected world, with audiences bombarded with images, messages and videos everywhere they look?

All communication plans, be it in public relations or on social media, start with identifying your ultimate goals, then defining your audiences, and then setting SMART objectives.  Let us take a closer look.

Firstly, what is your goal?

Every business, NGO or individual has an ultimate goal. It could be to sell more, drive traffic to your website, raise funds or simply let people know you are here. Define that goal or goals, to be able to build a communication strategy to help you achieve this goal.

Secondly, who are we talking to? Defining your target markets.

Narrow down your audiences based on demographic, geographic and psychographic factors. Unless your company sells products or services for the masses, you need to clearly define who you are intending to speak to, what drives them and where they are located. You also need to define, as a result of your communication efforts, what actions you want them to take and what behaviors you want to create.

Then set your SMART objectives

Communication objectives can either be SMART, or you might as well scrap them. What does SMART stand for?

Specific – For starters, we need to get specific when setting an objective. This includes adding details of what you are trying to accomplish. i.e. Increase traffic to Company X’s website by 30% in the span of 6 months.

Measurable – But what is an objective, if it cannot be measured? You need to set objectives that you can actually quantify, with measurement tools put in place to do so.

Actionable – All objectives need to be action driven and attainable. Do not set long-shot goals that overwhelm you. Try to break them down into smaller steps that can be achieved, leading you to your ultimate goal.

Realistic – We all know that grand dreams and goals might not go according to plan. Be realistic when setting your objectives. We recommend a periodical review to ensure you are on the right track. Quarterly reviews are best, unless you are in a fast-paced industry and need results now.

Timely – What is the timeframe you want to achieve these objectives by? Very few of us (read: none of us) can plan ahead for the coming 5 years. Markets and tastes change. Economies fluctuate. Products can become obsolete. Technology advancements appear by the minute. Set objectives that are time-constrained and can be achieved with a proper plan in the coming 6 to 12 months.

At The Commery, we help companies, NGOs and individuals set their communication strategies. Get in touch to learn how.

Written by The Commery’s Ceem Haidar

Facebook lately: A pain or a gain?

Written by The Commery’s Leen Kalo

Facebook can either be a pain or a gain for businesses. With the increase of users on this platform, whether for personal or business use, it has become harder to catch up with meaningful news on the newsfeed. In steps Facebook. It has recently changed its newsfeed algorithm to ensure that content from friends, family and groups are prioritized – to ultimately encourage meaningful interactions between users. It may mean bidding farewell to public content that spams users’ profiles, such as posts from businesses and brands that may be irrelevant.

With this change however, the organic reach of business pages and their respective posts is decreasing. And its the pages that usually don’t have reactions or comments on their posts that are seeing the biggest decrease. On the other end of the spectrum, the pages that opt to build conversations between users on their posts are reaping the benefits.

So what can you do?

  • Focus on creating “Meaningful Interactions”

The focus should now be on creating quality content that generates meaningful conversations between users. This could mean posting about a relevant topic that users will definitely have an opinion on or ask questions in the post itself or in the caption. This will lead to more comments and reactions.

  • Avoid the “Engagement-bait”

Make sure you don’t ask your audience to make useless comments, especially if they don’t reflect your brand image. One such example is asking users to “COMMENT on this post if you love chocolate!” Come on, we all love chocolate, and Facebook will then decrease the reach of these posts.

  • More and more LIVE videos 

According to Mark Zuckerberg, live videos on Facebook usually get six times greater interactions in comparison to regular videos. Give it a try.

  • Encourage your users to select the “See First” button.

With all the changes that are happening to Facebook and the News Feed Algorithm, one thing that has not changed yet is the ability to select what pages you prefer to “See First” on your news feed. For that reason, don’t be shy to remind your followers to press the “See First” button and make sure your content is purposely selected to be seen.

The digital world, social mediums included, will continue to evolve. Facebook’s algorithms have been rapidly changing and they tend to affect businesses and brands in an adverse way. What you can do for now, is to stay up to date with the latest changes (we’ll be telling you about them), and adapt your online strategies accordingly. Make Facebook your business’ friend, not a foe…

Hand in hand: Market Research and Communication

As the industry evolves with the rise of digital tools and big data, habits are changing. It has become more and more essential for marketers and communicators to understand their clients, targets, markets, tools and even surroundings. Millennials are dominating this sphere and brands are working harder to understand their target markets.

In market research, you can receive insightful data that can be used to set your communication strategy. In the digital era we live in, it has become much easier to collect this data through online and mobile surveys, as well as panels, gauging consumer sentiment towards a product or campaign.

Market research is not only essential in the preparation and planning phase, but it is as important during and after kicking off communication. Whether online or offline, the assessment phase allows professionals to revisit strategies and identify loopholes in their work. It can be done through online surveys, focus groups and social media. The latter being the most cost-effective tool to gather insights.

Trinity Mirror, a newspaper publisher based in the UK, recently commissioned Ipsos Mori to conduct a study to identify the severity of the issue facing brands and advertising, what’s driving this growing feeling of distrust, and how brands and advertising can regain it. The study’s key findings were (Ref: www.ipsos.com):

1. Brands and advertising face challenging times ahead as 42% of people claim to distrust brands and 69% distrust advertising

2. Brands are seen to be part of the establishment, with 38% of people give brands a score of 7+ on a scale of 0-10 where 10 is ‘completely establishment’.

3. Brands are out of touch as people don’t perceive their own lives to be represented in advertising, particularly life outside of London.

4. Brands are undermining their own credibility – 58% of adults don’t trust a brand until they have seen ‘real world proof’ that they have kept their promises. 40% associate brands with being ‘pushy’ and 57% agree that brands should be more careful where they place their advertising.

The key learnings in this regard, as we saw with Trinity Mirror, is that a clear communication strategy with defined targets needs to be set, in order to perform better moving forward. Through this, publications will reach out to advertisers (clients in their case), brands, readers, and their internal team based on what they have learned about the behaviors of each category and from the perception of the general public. In this case, they will cater to each one of these categories in a more direct and engaging way.

Fake News? When not to share…

Fake news is considered to be the plague of the online world. With the rise of social media, anyone can now be a journalist and everyone is a reporter. Users need to be on the lookout when reading or sharing any news on social media because anyone can broadcast any news he wants about a brand or a news event, and it can go viral on social media. However, this news that is being shared doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

Fake news refers to the spreading of false or misinformed news. It is a problem that the world has been facing for a long time because fake news has always been there. Due to current events occurring and because of the ability to wide spread anything on social media, the issue of fake news is now arising. This is why readers need to be careful when reading or sharing any news from social media. Always ask yourself whether what you’re reading is credible and trustable, and take the extra step of actually verifying the information:
-Is the author listed on the site?
-Is the post written by the brand itself?
-Is this news actually an advertisement?
-Are the sources being paid? Is the author being paid?
-Is the website this news appears on updated regularly?
-Can I find this same news in multiple places?

Make sure you check out legitimate news sources’ websites to get the latest news, and go to a brand’s official website to check out their latest updates. And don’t get most of your news from social media platforms…