Finding the Right Tone for Your Social Media
Rosie and I met with a long-time client yesterday to discuss some fourth quarter promotion options. Her company, she told us with some concern, wanted to make sure that all their social media was very natural.
We’re all for natural. And we certainly get why a company would worry that outsourcing social media management could lead to unnatural results. We feel confident about that because we have a process that involves getting to know the client and then having human beings do the social media, just as you would in your own office.
But any company that is being strategic about their social media involvements should think about the tone of their tweets, posts, and pins. “Natural” for one company won’t be the same as “natural” for another.
We met once with a fluid dynamics lab that clearly had a mental image of social media that centered on Facebook posts like, “OMG such cute shoes at the mall today!” They couldn’t get how social media could help them. This is not the only approach to social media, however. Consider these possibilities:
- Bouncy fun This is the tone most familiar to people who know social media primarily from their kids’ Facebook accounts. It can be quite effective for companies pitching things like fashion, social events, and products directed specifically toward women. Facebook and Pinterest are good places to take this tone.
- Thought leadership For companies looking to establish authority in their field, this is the tone that will bring the best results. Content curation and thoughtful responses to others in the same space are the hallmarks. Twitter, G+, and LinkedIn are natural platforms, but you can do this in any social media space that works for your product.
- Helpful support There are fields in which giving tips and answering questions provide a high level of trust and authority. While people in legal, medical, and educational industries have to be careful about giving advice, they can certainly provide plenty of information. Companies in other industries can give advice freely and directly, responding to tweets about DIY woes or Facebook moans about ruined recipes.
- Personal disclosure Musicians, business coaches, and any company that’s based on a personality can develop plenty of influence by speaking very personally to fans and customers. Companies with corporate social media presence can support that presence with brand ambassadors who write very personally to fans.
The tone you take doesn’t always depend on your industry. Real estate, for example, could take any of those tones:
- “I just listed the most gorgeous house in Bella Vista! Click through for drool-worthy pix!”
- “Home builders’ confidence soars — highest in six years. Details at our blog.”
- “Selling your home? Put away most personal possessions before showing the house.”
- “Closing on my 40th house this year, then taking the afternoon off to celebrate. I’d love to work with your home next!”
Your decision about the best tone for your social media should depend on your product or service, your goals, and your target market. It’s worth making the decision before you start.