- “What do you want to say?” (the key messages)
- “Who do you want to hear it?”(the target audiences)
Once we figure out those two questions, the hard work begins outlining strategies and tactics that we will need to reach the target audiences. But, unfortunately, it is very common for our colleagues to jump to the tactic, without really considering those questions – what and whom?
“Let’s post this on Facebook.” “Can we tweet this?”
Sure you can do those things in just a few minutes. Post the link and move on to something else. But have you really accomplished the task – deliver the message to the key audience?
According to a July 2015 report from the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of American adults still do not use the internet at all. That’s roughly 36.8 million American adults that are not reading your Tweet or Facebook update. Some don’t go online because they simply have no interest. Others think it is too complicated, or in some cases they think they’re too old to learn. And, nearly 1-in-5 people (nearly 7 million) who never use the internet say that they cannot afford the expense of computer or internet service.
That is a lot of people who might never have a chance to read your social media messages.
Americans’ evolving news consumption habits only make the task of delivering the message to the right audience even more challenging. The 2015 State of the News Media found that more Americans than ever are getting their news from the “social web” of Facebook and Twitter. And while daily and Sunday newspaper circulation continued its long slide in the last year, down another 3 percent, the local and national TV news programs saw their viewership grow.
Indeed, today more than ever before there is not one single tactic that is going to get to everyone you might need to reach. As new technologies enter the practice, they never completely replace what existed previously. For instance, we still use pencils in a world that is seemingly dominated by smartphones. The ramifications of that concept for communications professions is significant.
While we keep one eye focused on the next communication trend, it is imperative we understand and call upon the traditional tools of the trade. Because, like my dad use to tell me about automobile maintenance, you have to have the right tool for the job. And, in some situations, you cannot reach that key target audience with another tweet no matter how hard you try.