Villing & Company

Social Media Marketing: There Are Real People Behind Those Screens


I recently watched the movie “Boyhood” for the first time. If you’ve never seen it, I won’t give away too much of the plot. But, basically, it’s an epic about the life of a boy as he grows into a man. What made this movie particularly noteworthy was that it was produced over a period of 12 years so that the actors are actually growing up right before your eyes.

At one point in the movie, the main character – Mason Jr. – is having a conversation with his girlfriend as they travel across Texas. He questions our ability to have “real” experiences if we’re always glued to our screens. You can see the interaction in this video clip, but be advised that there is some offensive language in the video.

Are we all so focused on our screens that we aren’t truly experiencing life? As marketers, we would surely answer “no” and instead say that the information we provide enriches life. As a millennial who has his phone within arm’s reach at nearly every point of the day, I’m not saying that our digitally-connected world is a bad thing. However, I do think we have a duty as marketers to keep in mind that we are talking to people, not screens.

Connecting With Real People

If that intro seemed overly pessimistic, let me give you one word that describes why I think social media and our digital world are both primarily good – connections. We have the opportunity to make so many meaningful connections every day. Social media has empowered us in that regard. But again, we have to keep in mind that we’re making connections with real people, not just screens. That fact has to be present from the moment we start creating our digital strategies. Our goals and tactics have to be traced back to what will resonate with the human beings who make up our target audience.

One powerful way to do this is by creating buyer personas. HubSpot offers a good definition of what constitutes a buyer persona in this blog post on their website. Basically, it’s an attempt to put a face on your target audience. You can get as detailed as you want with this. But somehow, you need to have an understanding of the people you are trying to reach. What are their goals? What are their pain points? What will make an emotional connection with them? How can your brand help them?

The more you know about your target audience, the more engaging your communications can be. Being more engaging will help you make meaningful connections with the actual people who comprise your target audience. That, in turn, will help grow your digital brand, and by extension, your overall brand value.

Take the First Step

This may sound simple but, in reality, it’s not all that easy. It is a process that takes time and effort. But it starts with taking the first step. Think of your audience as real people, not just numbers on a spreadsheet. Then, you can begin to create content and campaigns that they will engage them and have them coming back for more.

Filed Under: Social Media, Advertising

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