Social Media: I Don’t Like Your Tone!

In the mad rush to get something, anything, out onto a social media platform (or two, or three), the content can take a backseat to the process.

That’s not only a shame; it’s a problem for your business. While having a social-media strategy involving timely posts and information to drive traffic to your doors is all well and good, what those posts say cannot be an afterthought. What you’re saying in the post is as elemental as the post itself. And believe it or not – companies forget this simple rule.

This content, the personality or style of the piece, is your voice. Four different people might write about pomegranates as a main topic, but they’ll veer off on color, size, seasonal availability and cost depending on the point they’re trying to make.

Your distinct voice is what sets your writing apart, so it’s key that your communications have a consistent style and feel. If one person’s doing the writing that’s easily accomplished. However, if there are several cooks in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to have an editor. That way you’ve got some oversight not only for proper grammar and structure, but someone who’s also tasked with shepherding the feel of your communications.

OK, so you know what a voice is. When it comes to your own, though, you’ve got a bad case of laryngitis. How do you go about finding that voice? Explore it this way:

  • What do you want to share about yourself, or your firm, to the reader? What do you want them to think about you?
  • What are you looking to do? Is this a piece that’s telling about a product or offering, or something entertaining about your industry? Are you spurring the reader to do something, or just putting yourself out there as an expert in the field?
  • Who’s the audience? Know your end user, know what they like to read and how they like to be spoken to in this casual setting.

Then do some brainstorming about how you want to sound. More specifically, be very clear about how you don’t want to sound. Have a blog you hate? Read it and write down why you dislike it so. Got a favorite? Same exercise, but jot down why you never miss a new post.

Now do a couple of sample pieces, taking the same main topic and coming at it from different ways. Send those around to a few people for reviewing purposes, and let this ad hoc editorial board be as withering (or as celebratory) as they like. Take those comments and see what they have to say about your newly developed voice, and tinker until the style, and tone, you’ve created is crafting messages that engage and inform members your target audience and beyond.