How much communication is too much?
Editorial

How much communication is too much?

Where is the line between clever communication and irrelevant nonsense? There are no easy answers.

Have you ever been to a dinner party where you get stuck sitting next to the crashing bore? He’s the one who has nothing to say, but is going to say it anyway – whether you want to hear it or not.

It’s all too easy for brands to fall into the trap of becoming the crashing bore. After all, a lot of experts say that you need to be in constant communication with consumers – and existing customers in particular. We’re now in the ‘always on’ world, so you should always be communicating, right?

Social media often encourages bad habits. For example, according to Buffer Social, you should post to Pinterest five times per day, Twitter three times and Facebook twice.

Fast Company, by contrast, says you should tweet an astonishing 14 times per day!

That’s all very well if you’re Coca-Cola, or a quirky brand with a lot to say on a particular topical issue – such as the environment, for example. Most marketers, however, have a real problem keeping up with such a schedule.

The ideal is to reach the right person, with the right message, at the right time, in order to get a purchase. But even with current big data analysis techniques this isn’t possible, so marketers instead push out posts constantly to try and reach as many people as possible – the scattergun approach.

If you work for a small manufacturer, you simply might not have all that much to say, most of the time. The same is true even in a glamorous industry – sport, for example. If your company makes golf clubs you might have a lot to talk about during the summer or while the US Open is on – but what about the rest of the year?

Even if you try really hard to create engaging material, it’s going to be difficult to sustain this for any significant period – hence the many blog sections on corporate websites that fall silent after a year or two of updates, or start publishing stuff that isn’t very informative as a check-box exercise in communication.

The problem is, if you’re not communicating regularly the public forget about you, but if you send out irrelevant posts just to keep in touch – like announcements about new employees joining the company, or commentary on topical issues that have nothing to do with your brand – they’ll get annoyed and either unsubscribe from your channels or simply switch off mentally and ignore you. They certainly won’t share that content, and brand advocacy will decline.

This is the dilemma: stop talking as much or become like the crashing bore at the dinner party, talking just for the sake of it?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Marketers will have decide for themselves how their organisation can avoid spamming content and driving away discerning followers, and also sacrificing people with short attention spans in order to keep publishing relevant and enjoyable communications that people will want to share. 

To help you manage your marketing communications strategy, enrol onto our three-day Managing Marketing Communications course. This programme explains how to define the right target stakeholders, and ensure that the right messages and propositions are communicated to them at the right time. 

Rob Coston Reporter CPL
Back to all