Social Media Voice: Get to Know Yours

Consider these statistics:

  • There were 175 million tweets sent from Twitter every day in 2012.
  • There are 488 million users regularly using Facebook mobile.
  • Fifty-six percent of customer tweets to companies are being ignored.
  • Eighty percent of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
  • More than 5 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day.
  • Sixty-nine percent of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve bought or wanted to buy, compared with 40 percent of Facebook users.
  • The Google +1 button is used 5 billion times per day.

In case you’re still wondering if social media is right for your company, stop here, and re-read again from the top.Ok, you’re convinced. What now? The pace and growth of social media can feel overwhelming, and as a company owner, you’re right to want to step back, and make sure you have proper corporate social media usage guidelines in place.

Know Your Voice

People also throw around a lot of terms when it comes to socializing a company: risk intelligence, employee trust, knowledge networks, customer advocacy, etc. But one of the most important terms you need to know – and nail – is voice. To writers, voice usually means the following:

  • written or spoken expression, feeling, or opinion
  • the power or right to have an opinion heard and considered
  • to give someone a voice in a decision
  • an agency through which is communicated another’s purpose or policy

All of the above should factor into your company’s social media planning. Most importantly, employees need to have concrete guidelines as to what you expect their voices to be. How far can they go? How opinionated can they be? And what exactly are they allowed to say? Whether on Facebook, Twitter or your company blog, knowing what your company voice is will empower your employees, and ensure they talk to your customers with clarity and confidence.

Be Careful of Tone

Once you have your organization’s voice down pat, you need to determine what tone is acceptable for your corporate social media communications. Tone is often extremely difficult to get right when tossing off pithy Twitter posts. People often ‘read’ the wrong tone in posts. What might be a genuine attempt at humor when helping an angry customer might me misinterpreted as snark or sarcasm. So, can your employees be friendly and chatty? Do you expect staid business-like professionalism at all times? Can they push the boundaries with their humor? And does your company have a policy in place regarding what employees can and can’t say on their personalblogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts?

Trust Your Staff

And finally, trust. Trusting your content creators will take you a long way towards feeling confident about how your organization is being represented in the social space. But, it’s important to allow for different voices (who all follow the company guidelines, of course). Writers are not robots, and neither are the people who read your company blog or twitter feed. You may have a content creator who loves statistics. And one who is a killer anecdotal story teller. One who informs via dissertation style writing, and another who prefers a more human, down to earth approach. Trust that you will also have all of those personality types and more checking out your online content, whether customers or competition. Maya Angelou once said: “Words mean more than what is set on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” Once you and your employees are clear on your social media policies, and what is and isn’t allowed, you can sit back with confidence, knowing your brand’s voice – and everything it represents – is being heard loud and clear.