How to talk to real people

GenZ doesn’t use Google anymore. From instructional videos to product recommendations to virtual apartment tours, GenZ has abandoned Google for TikTok and Instagram search.

Does this mean we need to stop googling information and start TikToking it? Or should it be TikTokking? What happens to our carefully curated knowledge of SEO and legacy advertising practices?

Algorithms are more powerful than ever at finding and delivering what interests you; therefore, you have to get smarter about reaching your audience with content that interests them. And by smarter, I don’t mean more original (at least in the way many content creators understand originality). I mean smarter about reaching a social media audience in the language they prefer, not in the style you prefer.

The problem for content creators is that we tend to make “art” for ourselves. It’s the classic creator syndrome–we have so many original, clever, and creative ideas that we want to cram into every piece of content we develop. And what we end up with is a confusing mash-up of competing messages.

Let’s face it. We’re content snobs and if we’re really being honest, we tend to live in a bubble. We’re so convinced that our original and creative ideas will go viral that, when they don’t, we blame external reasons. The algorithms. The timing. The unenlightened consumers who don’t recognize artistry when they see it.

However, the real problem is that we’re creating for ourselves, not the audience. And by only talking to ourselves we fail to speak the language of the platform and reach consumers in the style they prefer.

We have to stop talking to ourselves. If you doubt me, try to find 5 videos with a million views that you absolutely hate and 5 more with less than 10K views that you absolutely love. Now can you understand how our perception is often so far from reality? When you’re immersed in creator syndrome, it’s easy to become blind to what’s really captivating to the overwhelming majority of your audience.

So what’s the antidote to creator syndrome? Expose yourself to more content, and more viral content that perhaps you don’t personally love but is nonetheless extremely popular. Start thinking about what makes this content viral (and no, it’s not just that the algorithms love it and hate you).

Reverse-engineering viral content reveals the nuances, strategies and performance drivers that cause virality. And one of the strongest performance drivers is the communication style, or head voice, of the creator. Viral creators don’t talk to themselves; they talk to the audience. More specifically, they talk to one person on the other side of the screen.

Effective communication is 1-to-1, not 1-to-many. This personal connection drives virality. “People want to hear from people. And there’s no better place to do that than on TikTok,” said a Gen X-er leaving Google for TikTok. Be a person, not a “creator” or “artist” and you’ll see that relationship change with your customers.

Want more actionable tips on effective social media communication? We’ve got you covered. Join Viral Trends today and take advantage of our team of crazy masterminds and communication analysts who can provide you with the learnings and process to get social media results.  


Work with brendan