Never before has it been so easy to transmit your messages and get brand exposure online " and never before has it been so difficult to reach and keep your intended audience happy. Why does this paradox exist in new media?

Social Media Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)

First of all new media is in fact not that new but it is surprising how many people and businesses still considers it to be new " and therefore out of fear or an inherent desire to stay in their comfort zones, relies on business as usual and only reluctantly enter into new media.

The funny thing is that new media is simply a new medium " a simple and natural evolution of media into an updated version for individuals and businesses to operate online. Still, no matter what we prefer to call it, many businesses need to make more use of it.

The paradox starts to become a bit clearer when looking at how new media has changed the landscape in which we operate:

Creating a shift from a few to many who can perform the communications piece
Creating less control for businesses - almost none " it is very much in the hands of your audience
Creating greater demands and expectations of what is available online

Any business now have to consider this shift and the multiple ways of getting messages out as well as the potential fickle nature of any online audience. The audiences are being spoilt for choice and very accustomed to having it their way; getting what they want, when they want it, how they want it!

And so the competition for their ever shortening attention span hots up!

1.Avoid the typical pitfalls

The power of new media has had a range of positive impacts such as speeding up communications, time and geographical independence, potential greater exposure via communities etc, interconnection of multiple media disciplines - but with it also comes potential pitfalls:

Too much noise
Too many interruption
Too much overload
Too much general fatigue
Too much of everything
And not enough differentiation

One-size-fits all is long gone and to avoid pitfalls and the potential overload; KISS " always KISS " its obvious and simple, just like the real thing; Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS)! This applies both to the content that you create and the technologies that you use " make it simple for your audience.

So the difficulty is to be able to operate optimum within all the disciplines now available through new media and keep within budget and strategic constraints. How can you choose from all the options available? It is as simple as this; listen to what your audience wants, see what your competition is doing and make sure it fits your strategy.

And remember that the notion of; but our customers dont want that! " hardly applies anymore because actually they might just want it next week! So, on the one hand you need to listen to what they want but you also need to anticipate what they might need soon " your strategic goals.

If your competitors are offering alternative methods which you are currently not " your audience will notice at some point regardless of whether you want them to or not.

They will get used to being able to pick and choose at their leisure; " today I want an email alert! No, actually today I want a SMS! No, actually today I just fancy watching a video " and tomorrow I want to be able to listen to it while going to work " No, actually I just want to read this at my leisure, so I want to print this information! By the way while I am online anyway, I need to digest the top three important points and quickly add my comments!

Online audiences can be unpredictable " be aware of this!

New media offers so many ways of cutting the same information according to personal preferences. Therein lays the beauty and the difficulty! There is no formula " no right way, a lot of the time it is all down to testing what works for you and your business but the key is to have a strategy in place.

Take a few steps to lead positive transformation in your business and be aware that how things are done will continue to change almost on a daily basis.

2.Provide choice and engage

So lead from the front; show your audience what can be done and at the same time put the power of media in the hands of your audience. Show them that you provide choice and opportunity for engagement " and they may just remain interested for that bit longer.

Satisfy the people who can realise your objectives be it media, customers or just your internal colleagues " always use the best available medium at the right time to the right audience.

It is no longer acceptable just to publish or communicate in one way " users have lost the interest in just one way of getting insight " new media is much more than just publishing optimised content on your corporate website.

It is about participation and collaboration. Understand what your audience want. Listen to what they say and be mindful that they are very likely to demand something new or different in the not so distant future " keep them interested.

3.Be real, authentic, inspiring and lead

Keep their attention by being real and genuine " show a personality whenever possible. And dont forget to align your new media activities with your business strategy, so you can find a way to priorities and only take advantage of the opportunities that benefits your company.

Be realistic and manage your expectations, things will not happen over night " many are only still just discovering and learning from new media and there is plenty to learn with new tools and technologies. So be patient and make sure you KISS - a lot!

Hanne Christensen is the New Media Manager for the Food and Drink Federation, UK. She's doing a lot of tweeting @Hannechr