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.