06 Mar 6 Steps to Finding Your Company’s Social Media Voice
Companies often start out on social media confused and even a little overwhelmed. They’re looking at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz, SnapChat, Tumblr and the list just keeps growing. How do you keep up with all these accounts and still get other work accomplished?
Major companies have staff people dedicated to social, sometimes a whole team for just one platform. How does a SMB or a smaller B2B company make traction without having a bunch of thrown together content that doesn’t add to up to anything more than random chatter in an already noisy marketplace?
Start With Why.
It’s almost cliche now, so I’m sorry for throwing that in. But the “why” of what you do colors everything. Is your B2B website focused on helping a business save money, avoid industry pitfalls or be more productive? Skip what you do or what you sell. Why are you doing it? Why does it matter to your customer? This why is part of your mission, which will color your voice on social media.
Now Find Who.
Who exactly do you want to hear you on social media? Your who will help you find the right channel, the right message and the right voice. When your phone rings, you answer it differently if it’s your child, your spouse, a customer, your boss or an unknown number. The same goes for social media. If your who is under the age of 35, Instagram will be more important to you than Facebook. If your who is male, check out Twitter. Know who you are talking to before you speak.
Finally Consider What.
What does your reader care about? What keeps him or her up at night? Recently a long-time client decided to launch an Instagram campaign. We’ve managed their Facebook and Twitter, where they have a good following and strong engagement, and they are ready to branch out. Their audience on Instagram will be different from who they strive to reach on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve talked about the theme of our campaign, the messaging and most importantly the pictures. We’ve written out exactly who are are targeting on each platform and what messaging will reach them. Duplicating messages won’t work when your audience is different.
Okay, maybe not yourself. Be your brand’s self. Take a look at your logo, your interactions with customers, your customer base. Who do they expect you to be? Who do they need you to be? If you’re an accountant, your customers probably have some specific expectations of you. What’s the consequences if you don’t fit into that mold? Do you want to be different than expected or is it more productive for you to meet those expectations? One of our clients is a high-energy couple and their customers love them for that energy and spark. We try to include that tone in our social media posts for them. Do the same for your company’s voice, think about what your customers love the most about you and give them more of that online.
Ah, yes, the millennial “find yourself” has invaded us! If you’ve had several people running your social media and you really aren’t sure what your voice is, take a little time to review your company, your B2B website or your retail website, and your past social media posts. What worked well? What didn’t? You don’t want to portray yourself one way on social media, another on your website and still a third in person. Track down all the content your company has and talk about style, tone and voice. If you need a little help, we’ve found this article on Social Media Examiners to be super helpful. They even use this fun chart to help you see all your options.
In an age when we’re challenged to be more authentic, your voice will give you away if it isn’t true to your brand. While your purpose and who you talk to may change depending on the platform, the core message, the why of your work, doesn’t change. Keep that in mind as you choose messaging for your company.
Write It Down
Finally make your voice and tone official. Create a document for anyone who may one day run your social media campaigns (and, hey, reminding yourself of your intended voice is always a great idea.) Write down the types of words you want to use and the ones you don’t want to use. What’s acceptable language and what’s not? Do you write in first, second or third person? Present tense? What are the rules on what types of photos you will and will not use? Having a written plan means everyone is working toward the same goal and no matter who answers a tween or posts an instagram picture from within your company, you’re covered.
P.S. Here’s a fun bonus. Looking for brands who have gotten their voice spot on? Check them out here: http://marketingland.com/20-great-social-media-voices-and-how-to-develop-your-own-18057.