The PR industry attracts a lot of young people, many of them fresh out of school. I work with them every day.
They're energetic, bright and full of ideas. Not surprisingly, they're different from the 40-plus crowd in a number of ways, but one of the most striking is how easily they make details of their personal lives publicly available online.
There are exceptions, of course, but many of the older business owners I know – even those who are die-hard Twitter and Facebook users – are loathe to post many of their photos or talk much about what they're doing at any given moment. Not millennials – they happily post their exact whereabouts and log their activities minute by minute. If your business caters to a young or Web-savvy audience, you need to be aware of this.
A good digital strategy begins with an understanding of the four basic categories in which a brand or business can position itself: “paid” (advertisements), “earned” (getting mentioned in a blog) “owned” (your own website), and “shared” (social media such as Twitter and Foursquare).
Shared media is growing and evolving at an incredible rate. One recent trend now entering the mainstream is the use of location-based applications. Using the GPS features on many smartphones, developers have created community-based apps that capture a user's location and shares it with their followers on social networks. Think reviews are only for food critics or film buffs? Using applications such as Foursquare or Gowalla, users can push geography-based information out to the web, and include tips or suggestions on where to eat or shop in a particular neighbourhood.
Many businesses have already jumped on these platforms as an opportunity to share their deals or tips with users who are venturing to spaces close to their location. Think of the implications. Never before, for example, has a business been able to pro-actively engage with unsatisfied customers or build influencer lists based on who is regularly “checking-in” to their location.
Yes, blogs and Facebook pages are important. But for some, it shouldn't stop there. Today's online market invites and encourages organizations to not only produce an online presence, but to try out digital tools to further connect with customers.
So what you are waiting for? Your best bet is to jump in.
Special to the Globe and Mail
Mia Wedgbury is president of the Canadian region for Fleishman-Hillard Canada and its sister company, High Road Communications. With more than two decades of experience in creating and growing award-winning communications agencies, she is focused on fostering the overarching vision for the Canadian market. Her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle. She works in partnership with her clients, some of the most innovative and well-respected companies in the country, to build brands, mitigate risk and shape communications strategies that drive measurable results. Ms. Wedgbury is known as an innovator, an advocate of career opportunities for women and a dedicated supporter of the technology industry.