New Media: Making the Right Choice for your Business

New marketing media

The communications landscape changes fast, with new social media and content formats popping up all the time alongside the tried-and-true media platforms like newspapers and broadcast television.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated some new forms of digital communication as people worked to stay in touch with colleagues and customers from afar. It’s also easier than ever for people and businesses of all kinds to create their own information platforms, which enables them to better control the messages and target them to a precise audience.

These changes mean that the media landscape is more dynamic and robust than ever, but it can also be difficult to know what medium works for which businesses and in which circumstances.

As media and communications professionals, we at SideCar keep up on the latest trends so that we can keep our clients informed and empowered to make the best decision for their business. In evaluating the new opportunities, our goal is always to find the best method to reach a particular target audience. The reality is that not every new platform is right for every business and investing where your audience spends time will always be more effective than chasing the latest fad.

livestreaming

Livestreams, webinars and podcasts

We’ve all participated in a livestream or webinar hosted by a big organization, but in the wake of COVID-19, these tools are increasingly used by companies of all sizes and kinds to interact in a more meaningful way with key audiences.

This approach allows companies to build a reputation for expertise and sharing useful information as well as to create one-to-one connections directly with their potential clients and gather data on what they’re most interested in via their questions and interactions.

Similarly, podcasts have been popular for years, and right now, it’s easier than ever to launch one. The advantage of podcasts is that they can be accessed at a listener’s leisure, increasing the potential audience, and you can go more in-depth on a topic. That said, you’re sacrificing the interactive element with your audience.

So how do you know which strategy is right for you? A live audio or video broadcast could be a good fit for your company if:

  • You have fresh, relevant information, such as market or industry analytics or the results of a study, to share and want to showcase your knowledge.
  • You have clients in several geographic locations and want to reach them all at once.
  • You’re hosting a socially distanced event for a few people, but want to make the event accessible by a broader audience.
  • You have deep knowledge of a topic and an audience you believe will be receptive to learning more.
  • For podcasting, you need to be able to purchase additional equipment (here’s a look at options ranging from bare-bones to a more sophisticated set-up) and be able to devote someone’s time on your team to editing, posting and promoting the podcast. Generally speaking, most people have the webcasting capabiltiies necessary to execute a webinar, but you will want to allocate resources to marketing your presentation.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality is a concept that sounded futuristic for so long but is finally making its way into mainstream business with fascinating applications, especially in the real estate world.

Early in the pandemic, commercial real estate brokers sought ways to continue showing properties to potential clients when they couldn’t travel (or even be in the same room). Virtual reality and three-dimensional modeling allowed them to do just that, immersing a prospective client in a space from the safety of their home office.

This technology has uses beyond simply showing a space, however. Architects and designers can use it to stage new concepts or display innovative new designs in more vivid ways than ever before.

Experimenting with virtual reality or 3-D modeling might be a good idea if:

  • You need to help a client or colleague understand a space but aren’t able to physically visit.
  • You want to demonstrate the atmosphere and use of a space that hasn’t yet been built or help an audience better understand the flow of a room.
  • You want to immerse people in a design idea or architectural concept and a two-dimensional rendering just won’t do it justice.
social media concept

Social media

Your company has likely had a social media strategy for years, but these platforms evolve frequently and regularly roll out new tools that help engage with audiences and reach new potential customers.

On Instagram, for example, an update this month included the rollout of Rooms, a tool that allows four people to broadcast live on the platform at once. This is an expansion of last year’s Instagram Live feature, and enables anyone, anywhere to create a panel discussion, interview or livestream at the push of a button.

Similarly, Twitter late last year launched Twitter Spaces, a voice-chat alternative to the platform’s signature 280-character format. The audio-only arrangement seems to be gaining ground, with a new app called Clubhouse also launching in 2020 for audio posting.

It may be time to re-tool your social media strategy if:

  • You have a tech-savvy audience that prefers to get information from the social media apps they already use.
  • You have content that can be shared in quick bites or that lends itself to being easily shared.
  • You have a lot of beautiful photography or video to share.
  • You have a creative, energetic team that is comfortable engaging on social media platforms on a regular basis.

New media are easily customizable to most businesses and strategies and can be incredibly effective ways to broaden and deepen an audience, share information with potential customers or show just how knowledgeable and talented your employees are.

Once you know where you want to be, the most important thing you can do is to commit to consistent engagement and evaluation. Have questions about new media and what it can do for your company? Email hello@sidecarpr.com.

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