Companies must make communication a priority in order to succeed. There are two aspects to communication: internal and external. Successful corporations have mastered both components, understanding that each is vital. External communication is further divided two parts: formal and informal.
Formal communication consists of intentional efforts to inform the public about products and services, while informal communication entails the less than obvious ways people may learn about a company’s history, products, and services. Savvy corporations have a plan in place for both formal and informal communication.
Beyond the typical marketing materials a company produces, today’s consumers expects to engage with business before, during, and after a sale. Fortunately for startups, the majority of these communication engagement platforms are free to use, making it easy for companies of all sizes to take advantage of them.
While many of the platforms used to accomplish this goal are free, maintaining and monitoring these communication tools requires both time and attention. For a startup, it can seem overwhelming to know where (and how) to start. The solution to this issue is to choose the tools that are most effective for the business, based on company’s target market, and then be consistent. Below are some common means of external communication as well as specific apps and services that companies can use to maximize their outreach potential.
Using this fast and convenient method, businesses can maintain open lines of communication with customers. Collecting customer email addresses allows the company to send out regular newsletters, conduct customer satisfaction surveys, and more.
Mail Chimp: Mail Chimp enables users to design and send customized newsletters, conduct email campaigns, and more through an easy-to-use tool. Companies can utilize A/B testing, track open rates, collect customer information, and utilize Google Analytics to monitor their success.
Using blogging to communicate with the public is an effective way of sharing information in an informal, relational arena. Blogging allows for interaction from readers and gives corporations the opportunity to engage in communication about current topics and products of relevance.
WordPress: By far the most well-known blogging platform used today, WordPress has become a standard in website design and blogging. WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interfaces make formatting blog posts easy for even novice users. Authors can add pictures, videos and more to further drive engagement with readers.
Tumblr: Tumblr describes itself as “so easy to use it’s hard to explain.” This blogging platform allows users to upload stories, jokes, mp3s, and photos — the type of content one can share is limitless. Simple to navigate, users create a blog that others can follow and distribute, creating a platform where content is quickly and easily spread among the public.
Social media is no longer reserved for college students and individuals posting videos. Social media has become the newest marketing and communication device that companies can use to reach customers. The number of social media platforms is constantly growing, providing new means of connecting with people around the globe. When it comes to social media communication, the biggest issue companies will face is which one to use. However, an important aspect of social media is understanding that the platform used isn’t as important as the content being shared.
Twitter: Limited character usage makes Twitter a fast, effective means of sharing information and pictures with the public. Startups can use “tweets” to drive traffic to websites or blogs for further reading.
LinkedIn: A professional networking platform, LinkedIn allows people across the globe to connect based on their professional interests and skills. Within LinkedIn, companies can create and join groups relating to their industries, which provides opportunities to engage with people looking for particular products or services.
To handle their social media accounts, companies can take advantage of social media management tools. These management systems allow users to schedule posts, handle replies, and monitor interactions from within a single interface.
Buffer: With a few simple clicks, users can schedule social media posts across a variety of platforms. Add content and then decide which social account the material should be posted on. Accounts can receive all the same content, or it can be customized with different text, pictures, or formatting.
Informal communication can be incidental encounters that members of the public have with staff members, and through the corporation’s interactions with the community. Companies can utilize informal means of communication with some simple strategies.
For example, asking employees to add “@businessname” to their personal social media accounts allows the company to capitalize on the connectedness of its staff. Additionally, establishing corporate pages on sites like Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn will allow employees to add the company to their employment status on their personal pages.
The goal of external communication is to establish a trusted relationship with the public that generates goodwill and revenue. Through consistent, transparent contact, companies can relay information to team members, customers, and others with ease.