Small businesses are often responsible for innovative practices that quickly spread to larger, more established organisations. Nowhere is this advancement more prevalent than in the world of communication, where the innate agility and flexibility of small businesses allows them to chop, change and experiment with the latest communication types to find what’s right for them.
Just ten years ago, internal communication and business-to-customer communication looked very different to the way it does today. Much of this advancement is down to smaller businesses, effectively trialling the latest communication trends and ironing out the faults before larger organisations are ready to take the plunge.
Over the last few years, there has been a relentless conveyor belt of innovations in this field, changing the way we all do business. In this article, we’re going to look at some of latest trends in the communications sector in 2017.
- Live video
Perhaps the biggest advancement we saw last year in the world of visual communication was the introduction of Facebook’s ‘Live’ option. In fact, the ability to live stream is actually nothing new, with Snapchat, Periscope, YouTube and Instagram all now giving businesses the ability to broadcast live to their customers.
There are undoubtedly some limitations with this type of messaging and things can go wrong when live streaming which could affect the customers’ perception of a brand. However, this is the type of authentic storytelling customers are increasingly crying out for. Some brands are successfully using live video to have debates with their audience, while others are showing their viewers how to cook recipes. Here are a few more examples of live streaming in practice.
- Business Ecards
With businesses and their customers alike increasingly caring about green issues – and rightly so – there are few better ways to show your green credentials than with a business Ecard in 2017. There’s certainly nothing new about showing a client, customer or supplier how much you care, but Ecards have numerous benefits and can make the whole process faster, cheaper and gentler on the environment. Ecards are also measureable, allowing the sender to track when they were opened and where the recipients clicked.
- Co-creation techniques
Co-creation is an emerging trend which has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Communicating with customers in an engaging way is one of the biggest challenges small businesses face. In fact, getting readers to take action, react to messages and engage with the content can be an even bigger barrier to effective communication than budgets, time constraints and staffing challenges.
Co-creation is one way to get around this customer apathy. Co-creation is just what it sounds like: you co-create communications with another party, whether that be a fellow business, an influencer, a not-for-profit or even your customers, in the form of an ebook, a video or something else. Investing in co-creating communication strategies allows businesses to gain interest, insights and engagement and can play a big part in boosting ROI.
- Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs)
Again, there’s nothing new about organisations recognising the value of enterprise social networks in internal communications, but the introduction of Workplace, a collaborative platform run by Facebook, threatens to revolutionise the sector.
Although released last autumn, Workplace is still being improved all the time and has recently been boosted by a number of new updates. However, the news is that early adoption levels have been high, and, such is the way with all things Facebook, it’s unlikely anything other than world domination will do in its attempt to take the platform into the corporate space. Whether this will be the final nail in the coffin of the corporate email is yet to be seen, but competitors like Yammer and Jive are likely to be quaking in their boots.
- Virtual Reality
We’ve introduced some of the biggest communication game changers in 2017, but we also thought it might be fun to look at the world of corporate communication in the years to come. Virtual reality is one form of technology that is certainly here to stay. While it’s still very much in its infancy, there are a growing number of virtual reality applications out there, allowing you to do everything from redesign your front room to play alongside your favourite football star. But what are the possible implications for communications?
Well, as yet, no one is really sure, but it’s not difficult to dream up a few potential uses. Could you attend virtual meetings, all suited and booted, while you’re actually at home in the bath? Who knows. At the moment, predicting how VR will be practically applicable for corporate communications is a step too far, but it will be fascinating to see how it develops in the future.