For years there were essentially two forms of online communication.
- Website – A one-to-many media passive media
- Email – A one-to many or one-to-one proactive media
The two have the potential to work seamlessly together. Websites are always available and easily accessed by any interested party. It casts a wide net. Email could proactively promote specific initiatives or be targeted to ideal. Furthermore email could drive traffic to the website for targeted conversions.
Of course there were subsets of online communication like ads and link sharing but technically those fall in the website category.
There is now a third major platform developing:
- Social Media – A one-to-many, one-to-one, or many-to-many media
Social media is opening up a new kind of communication and it’s quickly becoming one that isn’t optional. On the surface it appears to be a clone of email, a one-to-one or one-to-many scenario. However, as it develops social media is becoming a many-to-many communication device.
Of course social media started out as a one person communication platform. Basically it emulated email. You could do blast communications or personal messages. However, as “like it” and “retweet” features become more prevalent we find that groups of people are serving a role of spreading your message.
Websites and email is not going away any time soon but neither is social media. If you are running online campaigns and have not ventured into social media, it’s time to start. Not only are users expecting to have an option of receiving communications through popular social media systems, but the systems are opening up a new many-to-many media that can be leveraged for viral communication.