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What is Your Social Media Voice?

February 18, 2012 · 7 comments

in Social Media

Social Media on all levels is about communication. When we communicate in person, we use both words and actions. The inflections and pauses you add to your words combine with facial expressions and hand gestures to relay your message.

In a face-to-face conversation you can gauge the reaction and understanding of the person you are speaking with by their expressions. However, with written Social Media communications all you have is words. In order to precisely and convincingly relay your message you must choose those words carefully, and choose your social media “voice” to enhance your communication.

Don’t think of your Social Media voice in terms of the deep, resonate tones of James Earl Jones or the nasally quality of Fran Drescher. Your Social Media voice should be based on what you have to communicate (your product or service) and who are communicating with (your target market).

Tips for selecting the best Social Media voice:

  • Select a voice that fits you personally. Don’t try to be, or sound like, someone you are not.
  • If you have business partners or are part of a large company, the decision must be made jointly.
  • Determine what voice fits your brand, your company image, and your company philosophy.
  • Select a voice that can be reproduced by everyone involved in the company Social Media campaign.
  • If you are the only person involved, you can make the decision.
  • Once you have selected a voice, be consistent in its use. This voice must be clear and recognizable throughout all your Social Media communications.

Is your selected Social Media voice an “I” or a “We” or a “You” persona?

  • Recently a non-scientific poll of communications found:
  • 5.88% percent used the “I” voice;
  • 56.86% used the “We” voice;
  • 10.78% used the “You” voice;
  • 13.24% switched voices within the same Social Media network; and another
  • 13.24% utilized different voices for different types of communications.
  • Each persona has its own strengths and its own weaknesses.
  • Use of the “I” voice works best for one-person business or people who function as the sole voice/face of a company. This voice conveys personality and introduces readers to a real person. However, the “I” voice can appear self-centered and the personality of the person behind the “I” can distract from the goal of the company.
  • Using the “We” voice is better for businesses where the establishment of authority is important, and it is perfect for business-to-business (B2B) communications. The “We” voice sounds official, professional, and important. On the other hand, this voice can sound cold and dull and when used exclusively can be distant and may discourage a reader from becoming engaged with the company.
  • The “You” voice demands attention and is the voice typically identified with sharing and outstanding customer service. It offers a balance between the official voice of “We” and the more personal voice of “I” communications. Using the “You” voice tells readers you are focused on your customers and their needs. However, this voice is lacking in warmth and may be somewhat forgettable when used extensively or exclusively.
  • A mixture of the three persona is often the best choice to use within your selected voice. Awareness of your communication needs and the needs of your target market will indicate when “I” or “We” or “You” will be best utilized.

More tips for your Social Media voice:

  • Constantly be aware of your intended market and the Social Media vehicle you are planning to use. If you are selling medical hardware to brain surgeons you will not use the same communication techniques, words and terminology you would use if you are selling gaming systems to teenagers.
  • Identify your target market before you settle on your voice. What is the age of your preferred market; what is their education background; where do the live, what are their values and beliefs. It is also very important to determine, and always keep in mind, what your target market wants or needs from you.
  • Be passionate in your voice, but do not become overly emotional. There is a huge difference between telling your readers, “This is an exceptional, high-quality product that will perfectly meet your needs,” and “If you don’t buy this product, your business will fail miserably, and all your hair will fall out.”
  • To follow that note, always be honest. And play fair. You may actually believe the product your competition is offering is nothing more than junk; but don’t actually say that. Instead explain how you believe your product is better.

Always have fun with your Social Media readers and always offer something of value. When your voice and your content are helpful and non-threatening, readers will look forward to hearing more from you.

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Pam Drayton is a content writer for Email Finder an email search site, as well as a freelance writer for social media, tech and gadgets.

Pam has written 6 awesome articles for us at Opportunities Planet

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Arrow February 18, 2012 at 11:58 am

Fascinating post Pam, I really enjoyed reading this. My voice tends to veer between we and you. I shall pay more attention to how I write in order to relate to my audience better.
Sarah Arrow recently posted..How to embed a tweet in a blog postMy Profile

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Michael February 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Voice is an important part of any marketing campaign and in a social media campaign it’s paramount. Having passion without becoming super emotional is a great way to communicate the virtues of your solution to your prospects or clients.

Finding the right mix of I, you and we is a vital idea. You can’t just talk one way all the time or people won’t be able to figure out how to work with you. If you only ever use the you voice, they won’t be all that interested in paying you for your work. Use the I voice too much and nobody will want to stay around long enough to hear what you have to say.

A great post on an important topic.

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Buddy Hodges February 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Pam,

Thanks for calling attention to this important consideration. My main focus now is social media, and your post has got me thinking.

The main challenge is to decide whether to choose one specific target audience or to try to relate to several different “types” of readers. “Networking” is probably my favorite subject. However, people who like networking can be grouped into two categories: network marketers and B2B business professionals, some of whom may be turned off by “MLM.”

My background and interests are actually diverse and include academics (college teaching and research), business consulting, and network marketing. My dilemma is determining which “hat” to wear when I engage on social media. In reality I have “multiple personas.”
Buddy Hodges recently posted..Is it What You Know, or Who You Know that Counts?My Profile

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Nathan Gurley February 19, 2012 at 7:18 am

Hi Pam, Nathan here. Thank you for an excellent article!

I agree with Buddy Hodges in that it is challenging to define your audience when you have a variety of interests. As a musician, educator, graduate student, and network marketer, it is difficult to maintain consistency.

With regard to voice, we and us have a nice ring to them as those pronouns have a connotation of working together.
Nathan Gurley recently posted..TSA Mastery Newbie JittersMy Profile

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Sharon February 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Thank You Pam
This was a very interesting and informative post, I did not know about I,We,and You and certain voices
Thank You this has been a great help I will take your advice to practice
Sharon

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Sadie-Michaela Harris February 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Hello Pam
Thanks for sharing the poll data in this post, I find things like that really interesting kind of geeky at heart you see! I like the tips that you’ve shared about social media. I say to people social networks are about being sociable so the most important tip I could share with everyone would be to be a friend to your community before all else and dare to be different. The Internet is a very busy noisy place people remember us for what we do that makes us stand out in amongst all the chatter :)
Sadie-Michaela Harris recently posted..Visible Marketing Seth Godin says Weird is GoodMy Profile

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