Ever woke up in the morning to see one of them broadcasts on your phone? It usually goes like this: ‘http://bit.ly/xcmBg’. As though you’re supposed to decode a puzzle or something and you’re thinking what on earth does this mean? And there are others like the Salt Water Broadcast that make you scream WTF!(whatever that means). My guess is if you’re reading this post, you’ve had this kind of encounter at least more than once. And my guess again is that a sizeable number of you have sent something similar to your BBM (or WhatsApp) contacts.
Not only is this an annoying waste of the reader’s time, it just doesn’t make sense. Broadcasts (BCs) were meant to be an amazing way of reaching simultaneously a large number of people with important or entertaining information; however they have been bastardized into the mobile version of email spam. Worse still the increasingly bad reputation of BBM Broadcasts ensures that over 50% of those who receive them never open them. The implication is that good and important messages may never get read.
To help restore sanity to the Broadcast Industry, I’ve come up with a few rules for those who can’t help but send a broadcast every day. These are rules I have adapted from my experience with email marketing to suit the purpose of this discussion. By following them dutifully, you may be able to get one more person to open your BCs or better still, reduce the number of people who delete you from their contacts.
Title your broadcasts:
Your broadcast is supposed to be an important piece of news; otherwise you wouldn’t be sending it to so many people. Unfortunately, we, the recipients of your BC aren’t just sitting by our phones waiting for your message to come in. This is why you need a title, preferably a catchy and appropriate one. Don’t start your BC with ‘Hello there…’ We have over a hundred contacts who are also saying hello!
Yeah, say hello. The fact that you shouldn’t start with hello doesn’t mean you shouldn’t greet your recipients. This applies mainly to bloggers and those who send personal broadcasts. Don’t just dump your latest blog title in our BBM chats as though we were blog-reading robots awaiting the command to read your blog. Show some respect man!
Date your news:
So they kidnapped your neighbor’s friend’s dog and you felt the need to show the ransoming power of technology by sending a broadcast. Good. But please, date your broadcast. How else will we know if we’re not reading a resurrected BC from last year? A simple ‘happened on July 13, 2015’ will go a long way.
Google is your friend:
It’s mind-bugling that people with smartphones in the 21st Century will rebroadcast false facts and figures, when a simple Google Search could have provided them with a wealth of actionable information. That’s why we still get BCs like Beware of using microwave. It causes cancer of the teeth.
State your source:
If you’re rebroadcasting someone, try to confirm from the person who sent it to you. Then go ahead and state the source of that information. Is it from the Ministry of Health or a visitor in your living room or an unconfirmed source? We need to know these things. It could save us countless hours of bathing in salt water. I believe if everyone did this, there would be less false broadcasts.
Use common sense:
So you’ve just read a BC that states that unless you pass the broadcast to another seven people, you will be dead in 7 days. Or another one which says send this to 21 people and you will receive your promotion. In return, you have decided to overwhelm our dying batteries with sentiments in the name of prayers. There’s a reason why you have a brain. Think.
The fact that it is a broadcast does not mean that it must be sent to everyone on your contact list. If anything, you should narrow your ‘cast’. Sending a broadcast about Ramadan values to your Christian friends is just… oh well, fill in the gap. The bottom line is that depending on the content, some groups of people are more likely to welcome your BC than others. Your job is to target those people.
Give a preamble:
This is mainly for bloggers and those who ask us to complete their surveys. Investing three lines of text explaining what your post (or survey) is about will help us understand why we should click that link and interrupt our chat experience.
We love to hear your feedback (lol). But seriously, after asking us to help re-BC your message about your neighbor’s lost dog, wouldn’t it be nice if we knew that the dog has been found? At least, we would be sparing a few more contacts the agony of reading yet another BC of a lost (but already found) dog. The same applies for those who ask us to vote for them and those who ask us to sign up for events. A little ‘Thank you’ (even if you came second) doesn’t hurt.
There you have them, the guide to sending sensible broadcasts. I have never sent one myself but I think this should make a good broadcast, so I’ll be sending one soon. That said, feel free to share this with your BC-loving friends and those who are new to BBM (and WhatsApp) chats. We can make the chat world a better place.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com