Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?

Admit it. There was that one time as a youth when you thought it was a good idea to stick your chest out a little and talk back to your mother.

Before you could even finish the foolishness that was coming out of your mouth, she asked sternly, in a way that only mothers can, “Who do you think you’re talking to?”

Those of us who wanted to be spared any repercussions from an incorrect answer either remained silent, uttered “no one,” under our breath, or mumbled a quick apology. Certainly we weren’t talking to our mother in that way.

Hopefully we learned from our erring ways.

But the question remains an important one. A precursor if you will.

If you’re trying to connect with an audience, be it to amplify a message or get to know them better or encourage them to take action, it is important to first ask: Who do you think you’re talking to? Then, if necessary, follow-up with: Who are (currently) you talking to?

See there’s a slight but very important differentiation.  Who do you think you’re talking to is where most organizations, campaigns, and brands fall short. For instance, they think that they’re talking to teens, but in actuality, they’re talking to adults, or even worse, no one at all. Often this question uncovers the desired audience, but who you’re talking to uncovers the actual audience.

The goal is to ensure that these two audiences are the same.

This means that brands and organizations have to be honest – possibly admitting that their communications and engagement efforts may be misdirected. Such introspection provides an opportunity to change course and develop a truly targeted strategy.

So before opening your mouth, posting a Facebook update, scheduling a tweet, or developing a multi-platform campaign, remember Momma, her poignant question, and fix your response.

–Felicia Pride, chief content officer, pride collaborative (@feliciapride)

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