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Developing your company’s social media voice

Personally, I’ve always been partial to brands on social media that have a personality… I enjoy being able to passively “connect with” brands and companies I like, especially when they entertain me and bring a human element to the overall entity. I used to wonder who those lucky “behind-the-scenes” people were, cleverly creating tweets and Facebook posts…as.their.job. And now, I am one of those lucky people! It wasn’t until I became responsible for company tweets, however, that I really realized how not-simple this job is.

One of the primary challenges I faced was deciding what kind of “voice” to give @viralheat. It would be the customer-facing personality for our social media engagement and it had to be a knowledgable resource, but I also wanted it to be a likable voice…

So what should you do for your brand? Well, now that depends… Here are some of my favorite tips for developing your voice:

Evaluate your company/brand and decide what’s natural

  • “There are probably a few debatable views on this, but I feel a brand’s “voice” is a combination of their style, tone, attitude and actions demonstrated towards prospects, customers and the industry. If I was to deduce it down to a couple personalities it would be  – are you stern, cold and serious, or are you happy, playful and humble? Choosing one of these is key to forming your voice and personality in social media.”

[@JoeManna, Infusionsoft – via Joe Manna’s Personal Blog]

  • “The important thing is to let your communication needs and your brand identity dictate your communications style, instead of trying to wrap formal corporate info in a warm and fuzzy personal voice, for instance. Using the right voice for the right messages increases your brand’s authenticity and makes your audience more receptive to your communications.”

[@jstanchak, SmartBrief – via SmartBlog on Social Media]

Use an authentic voice

  • “Social media is not a business press release and companies need to be constantly cognizant of having an authentic voice and not sounding like a corporate bot that’s devoid of any real emotion. In order to do this, companies must develop a voice that resonates with your audience. Tell stories, crack jokes, laugh at other people’s jokes, give words of encouragement, tweet at celebs you don’t really know, and most importantly, recognize and cheer on your followers. Aim to be human in the social space.”

[@dermot100, MTV Music & Logo Group – via Mashable]

  • “Care about what you say, why you say it and who you say it to. Remember that on the other side of that Facebook or Twitter are people.  People have very good bullshit-meters and can tell when you’re faking it. Don’t bullshit them.”

[@JoeManna, Infusionsoft – via Joe Manna’s Personal Blog]

Maintain a strong, consistent presence

  • “A strong company voice on social media should emphasize the company’s values, objectives and key differentiators that set it apart from its competitors. These can be expressed in the tone of the communication and the content that is shared with community members and the target audience.The best social media voices are communal, grammatical, dialectical, authentic, original, contextual, relevant, timely, persistent, responsive, helpful, generous and more informal.A company’s social media voice should only be changed if absolutely necessary and should maintain all of these qualities. Any change should be preceded by lots of information explaining the change to community members to ensure they know it is deliberate and that the company isn’t suffering from some form of instability, which jeopardizes relationships.”

[@TechAlly, Francis Moran & Associates – via Francis Moran & Associates]

What voice do you use and what strategies did you use to develop it?

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