Step outside. Let’s leave this website and continuing the conversation on email. Join my online community and engage in a debate on LinkedIn. If you’re thinking of jumping between communication channels you might want to bear the following in mind:
- Don’t assume everyone has what you’ve got. Quick Response codes only work with mobiles that have an autofocus function. Leaving two-thirds of mobile users unable to respond. Either create for the masses and the lowest technical specification (print still has a wider reach than digital given many households don’t have internet access) or go for niche, such as the early adopters with the latest fancy pants handset.
- Don’t take offence when others refuse to join in. Before she left to go travelling my friend Katie was told to stay in touch by updating her Facebook status. I haven’t heard from her since. Because she isn’t on Facebook. Nor does she want to be, despite risking upset by not obeying those who took it personally when she refused to join in. Bit like an alcoholic who keeps pressing a drink on a teetotaller. Remember refusal is not a reflection on your own behaviour.
- Do give advance warning. Invitations should be clear. Folk looking for affairs often hang around dating sites, and will suggest leaving the official site to continue the flirting via their email accounts. After all, it’s easy to get caught red handed visiting a dating site. But not checking your email. The same applies to an extent for business. If you meet on one platform – social media – it looks shifty to suggest moving to email when you’ve only just met. Develop a relationship, exchange messages, when you’ve built up trust put in a transfer request.
- Behave according to the channel. I’ve noticed a trend towards sending follow up texts after meeting new contacts at networking events. Text is either an informal channel, or used formally for automated messages (think reminders for dentist appointments). Somehow it doesn’t lend itself to a semi-formal ‘nice to meet you’. Stick to email which has the benefit that your contact details are displayed (handy if your hot prospect has lost your business card) and the recipient can identify the sender easily.
- Stick to one channel and keep your audience separate. Joining up channels works only with a defined process e.g. by becoming a friend on Facebook and using the discount voucher promoted on Twitter to snap up an exclusive offer which can be ordered by visiting the website. The steps take the cold prospect to warm contact through to making a sale. Communicating one-to-many is less defined, more messy and jumping platforms only adds to the confusion. Don’t give your target audience an excuse to abandon you by playing catch me if you can.
And finally, play around, make mistakes. There are no rules. Apart from the above. Obviously.