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Remember, You're Human: Why Authentic Voice is Important in Social Media

Posted by Melissa Brown on December 19, 2016

2016-12-19-socialmedia-900px.jpgChristmas is coming in six days, and as is common at this time of year, people have started mentally checking out for the holidays. People everywhere are taking the opportunity to spend extra time with their families, prepare their homes for guests and finish last-minute Christmas shopping. (I’m hoping and praying that the toy trolley I ordered for my daughter will get here in time!)

But while our minds start to wander, it’s important for people in the marketing/communications world to remember that social media never sleeps. We have to prepare social media posts in advance and monitor engagement to ensure our social profiles stay active even when our offices are closed. 

This preparation has gotten me thinking about the importance of authenticity on social media.

Social media is first and foremost about people. This means, people only want to follow and interact with brands when they’re real, relatable and helpful or interesting. 

Part of my role as a social media manager is helping our clients understand what content is best and identifying what “voice” they want to use with their audiences. 

For example, while Taco Bell can get away with using slang and humorous posts to reach their teenage and 20-something target audience, a dentist’s office will do best using a more warm, professional tone for their family-friendly business.

A great article from MarketingLand.com encourages social media marketers to explore the Three Cs when they’re deciding on what social media voice to use:

  • Culture – What makes your organization unique? What do you talk about? 
  • Community – Find out your community’s problems. What do they want from you?
  • Conversation – Determine what you’re bringing to social media and then communicate it in a natural, relatable tone.

As an agency that manages multiple social accounts for multiple clients, I want the posts to sound like they’re coming directly from our clients and not our agency. As a result, I have to learn about our clients’ company cultures so I can use the appropriate tone—not always an easy task. When you’re not an official employee, you have to rely on the client company’s employees to keep you informed of important news or events when they’re already busy on their end.

I’m always brainstorming ways to combat this issue, and this Agorapulse.com article provided some good examples on how to learn more about client cultures, including:

  • Speak one-on-one with their employees.
  • Read their current brand messages, including how they present themselves on their website.
  • Request any style guides they may use.
  • Ask to set up meetings or phone interviews with a few of their customers to see why they chose the client company.
  • Participate in the client’s webinars or special events to see how they present themselves.

Social media management is a time investment for both the agency completing the work and the clients keeping the agency informed. With both sides on board, the social profiles will blossom into a much more relatable, engaged community…even in the midst of a busy holiday season! 

Topics: social media