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Digital – ‘The new normal’

18th June 2012

I think we’ve finally reached the time when everyone working and volunteering in the sector will be happy to accept that digital communications (e-newsletters, websites, social media, social networking) is here to stay, and its now a firm factor in every organisation’s plans for the future. Are there any readers out there who feel differently?

At events recently its become clear that people are now coming along to workshops and presentations keen to learn more and also to understand more fully how digital fits in with their plans and how they can improve its use. We’ve need to reach this point for some time now. And of course there are now multiple examples from around the globe and in other sectors to learn from – so plenty of ideas to share and copy.

In the private sector there has been a complete ‘leap-frog’ in terms of the adoption of social networks in the past year – particularly true of Facebook which was in severe danger of losing any credibility in professional and business use.  The recent addition of Pages and Insights to the feature set has certainly made it clear that Facebook is definitely in business.

And for Twitter we’ve seen not so much the addition of new features, but a definite and concerted demand for more integration into other platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube) and more significant use of hashtags as a means of collaboration, campaign-driving and event commentary. Is your organisation hash-tagged yet? Do you regularly hastag your events? Have you got a hashtag for your latest campaign?

For me the most interesting developments are about Content and its Curation – the growth of Paper.li and Scoop.it as examples of digi-mag publishing have shown many people how very quick and easy it can be to produce top quality online publications. But of course the bits which aren’t so easy and swiftly achieved are the development of the original content – this takes time, care and some skill. And the fact that lots of other people are seeking great content to share means we have to develop great content and promote it using social media.

Narrative, photos, videos and audio are all being uploaded to the web at a rate in the millions of items each day – what we need to understand is that its only the very best quality pieces which will get shared and curates into publications like these. And in this sense, the digital world truly is the ‘new normal’ - its making us go back to the roots of great marketing and communications – using skills as writers, photographers, video-makers to truly engage our audience.  How do you make people engage, what art is there in digital marketing, communications, advertising?

“Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.” Don Draper, Mad Men