To kick off Global Entrepreneur Week 2016, we’re focusing on improving your digital communication.
The issue facing most people when they communicate information digitally is the question of knowing how effective you are with that information you’re sharing. Channels like email or social media are the main vehicles of communication through technology.
Unfortunately, the reality of it is that we’re spending a significant amount of time creating content and sending information out as quickly as we can, rather than waiting for data on content we’ve already shared and letting it shape our plans for the future.
There are so many tools out there today that have made it unbelievably easy to push all of our information out to the masses. But we get this false sense of validation — vanity numbers — that spark excitement about the number of likes or the number of views we have on what we’ve shared. It's the paradox of communication engagement because we are doing so much while knowing so little. The reality of it is that just because you have a like or a view doesn’t mean everyone has made a genuine connection to your content, or that you’re going to get the result that you were seeking. The number of likes or views doesn’t tell you that anybody actually absorbed all of the information, it just means they might have watched your video for a moment and decided they would ‘like’ it.
As you make a plan to share your information and get people to engage with it, a common misconception is that the number of ‘likes’ a piece of content has directly correlates to the level of relevance your audience might place on it. For example, I might come across a funny cat video on YouTube with 20k ‘likes’, but if that video isn’t relevant to me I’m not going to waste time watching it regardless of how many other people thought it was funny. In the end, it’s all about what is relevant to your audience — not vanity numbers. For business it’s all about knowing how to match up the relevance with the target audience that you’re going after. If you don’t, it results in lost time, lost opportunity, and lost business results.
If you’re anything like most organizations, you’re producing all of this content — whether it’s an email you’re sending out to your employees, a policy and procedure that goes on as an attachment to an email that you’re sending out to your company, or a post that you’re making to a social media site. Unless you have the right tracking tools in place, you’re basically taking a shot in the dark by spending company resources — time and money — to create something and then putting it out there without any tracking or data to back up performance. That’s where a backend data loop comes into play. It can help you measure exactly how effective you are with the digital information that you share.
False Sense of Security
When it comes to professional communication, we all have this tendency toward complacency. With customers and employees, we think ‘OK, I sent my team the meeting minutes, I’m going to check the box — I’m done’ they’ll read my email because they work here. Or, ‘I sent my customer a thank you message or special promotion on the service we offer — I sent it, therefore they must have received it and engaged with it.’ But this mindset is what gets us in trouble because we never know how effective our communication really is, we just assume it was received and absorbed.
What happens then, is this sea of tools designed to help us track opens, likes or clicks — that give us a false sense of security because they validate that you’ve sent information but not if your contacts interacted with any of your information. In light of this, you really have to think about with the digital information that you share. It’s not just about the delivery of it — it’s about knowing if someone has engaged with it or understood it, and how much of it they consume.
The next level of communication requires you to take that data back in, process it, and understand what to do with it so that in the future, allowing you to feel confident about the time and effort you’ve put into it knowing that you aren’t in the dark wondering what works.
In part two, we’ll talk about how to gather that valuable data that you need in order to start knowing and stop just checking that little ‘done’ box.