Remember the cheesy 60’s TV version of Batman? It definitely didn’t prepare me for the Dark Knight series and my years of communications experience didn’t prepare me for how important it is to communicate on social time. A few years ago, I used the line “same bat time, same bat channel” when describing to an executive the importance of delivering communication in a regular, consistent way that would meet the expectations of your audience. I’ve also been known to reference the evening news – expected, understood, consistent in timing. I still think consistency is key to communications but that’s another topic.
The real change here is that social media has blown up the concept of timing. (Or probably more appropriately social media has shed light on a world that has existed for some time.) Now instead of communicating at consistent intervals through a specific medium (send an email every Wednesday at 7 am), it’s more important to understand how to reach your intended audience when they work, when they play, and when they want to listen. It used to be fashionable to send an email, a newsletter or even post a blog while you were actually at work. Well, time to throw that traditional bat-timer out the window.
It’s taken me awhile to understand the realities of the social timing thing. Inherently, it makes sense but how do you convince yourself that 6am or after 10pm might be the best time to get your message across. It finally hit home recently. To my kids, I’m the poster child for forgetting the value of brevity and clarity in my commentary. To say nothing of timing. I could win a bookshelf of awards for lectures over meals, at bedtime tuck-in, and inevitably my most epically worthless time of day – on the ride to school. Imagine a 9-year old nodding their head repeatedly as I make a thousand different points, a thousand different ways, then toss in a few non-sequitors about gymnastics tonight or the baseball tournament this weekend. All while driving to school. At 8 am. While they stare at the window. Asking them, “no really, do you understand what I am saying??”
There’s a great article I ran across today from @spinsucks called “Social Media Campaigns Don’t Match When Consumers Are Online.” Getting the message right, and to the right buyer is the latest in marketing artistry. Figuring out when to send that email or newsletter or make that blog post or post that tweet has often been a game of trial and error, guess and hope. Interesting to see some data starting to come to light.
Maybe my kids could subscribe to my Twitter feed – I’d be forced to reach them when they are interested in hearing from me, and forced to keep it to 140 characters. I’m sure they’d appreciate it if Mom would get on social time.