The Modern Rules of Seeking Your Voice on Social Media
Last Updated on October 7, 2021
The most important thing about social marketing is your voice – the attitude and language you use to communicate. This is true regardless of industry. If you fail to cultivate a social personality, then it will be impossible for your followers and fans to have genuine discussions with you.
And if they cannot have authentic conversations, they’re not going to engage with your brand.
What’s an event planner do to? How can you seek out a voice that both fits your firm and makes your brand more appealing to clients? What can you do to ensure that customers see you as another person rather than a faceless business?
Let’s lay out a few ground rules.
Rule One: Voice Isn’t a Metric
The first, most important rule to remember is that your voice isn’t something you can measure. It’s something you need to leave to intuition and knowledge. There are no algorithms that’ll tell you precisely when you’ve found the perfect voice, or what will resonate most with your audience – there’s only measurements you can take that might indicate you’re doing things right.
“Finding a voice for your social media marketing can be difficult because the concept is somewhat unlike other optimization strategies online,” writes Buffer’s Kevan Lee. “Voice is not a statistic you can track of a design element you can tweak. It goes deeper than that. Instead of tracking and analyzing, you can plan and practice.”
Rule Two: Voice and Tone are Two Very Different Things
Another important tidbit to remember is that voice and tone are too very different terms – even though, as Lee notes, they are often used interchangeably. Your voice is your personality. It encompasses everything about how you conduct yourself online.
Tone, meanwhile, is an aspect of voice. It changes based on audience and situation. You’re not, for example, going to use the same tone discussing a problem with an angry client as you are talking about an upcoming event, nor should you.
“Tone is the underlying vibe that emanates from your brand’s communications,” explains Stephanie Schwab of Social Media Explorer. “This is where you establish your credibility.”
Rule Three: Know Your Company Culture
The next step in figuring out how your business will conduct itself online is to take a close, careful look at company culture. What is it that defines your event management firm? What ideals did you found your business on, what makes you unique from your competitors, and what drives you to keep working?
That’s where you should focus the most attention when crafting your voice, according to copyeditor Harriet Cummings. She advises marketers to look at their company’s values, how they do things differently in the workplace, and what their leaders take pride in. All of those elements go into defining one’s voice, and determining one’s online personality.
“The core of your brand’s voice comes from its culture,” says Buffer content creator Courntey Seiter. “Every organization has something that makes it unique, whether it’s philanthropy or a unique founding story or poker Fridays.”
“What do you stand for? What do you talk about? What makes you stand out? This is your organization’s personality,” she adds.
Lee puts it another way:
“Find the adjectives that best describe your brand, and you will have found your voice.”
Rule Four: Your Voice Needs to Mesh With Your Audience
If your target audience is teenagers, you aren’t going to communicate the same way as if you’re targeting senior business leaders. You need to shape your tone, language, and personality based on your audience. As such, after company culture, the next most important question to ask is simple:
Who are you trying to impress?
“Listening can reveal how your community speaks and can help you speak easier with them and to them” writes Lee. “You can use their language and meet on their terms.”
Rule Five: Your Voice Needs to Click With Your Goals
It’s all well and good to have a voice that matches your company culture and clicks with your audience…but that’s not going to do you a whole lot of good if your social media presence does nothing to help you meet your goals as an event planner. You need to figure out exactly what it is you’re looking to achieve. That’s going to shape and guide the development of your voice, in addition to helping you determine your level of success.
These goals could be anything – from business-related milestones to standards to which you hold all interaction.
“What exactly is it you want to accomplish? Set achievable goals that determine your way forward,” advises Sofie De Beule of Engagor. “Do you want to become a reliable source? Jot down all of these goals, and don’t forget to reflect upon it with your overall social media strategy.”
Rule Six: Study the Voices of Your Competitors
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard is as follows: if you’re new to a particular market or profession, just look at how the people who know what they’re doing go about their way. Look at some of your most popular competitors; the brands and businesses whose social marketing campaigns seem to be enjoying the most success. What do they do? How do they talk to their audience, share content, and establish their personality?
That’ll help you establish a decent starting point for your own voice – though you’re still going to need to develop that by yourself.
Rule Seven: Always Ask Questions (But Do It Skillfully)
This may be only tangentially related to brand voice, but it’s such an important keystone to social marketing that it still needs mentioning. People love questions. “They love it when a brand asks for their opinion – and as an added bonus, doing so can give you a ton of insight into how your audience thinks.”
“Good questions can move your business, organization, or career forward,” writes Shane Snow. “They squeeze incremental value from interactions, the drops of which add up to reservoirs of insight.”
Rule Eight: Once You’ve Figured Out Your Voice, Create a Set of Guidelines
One of the worst things you can do where your voice is concerned is allow inconsistencies to exist. Once you’ve figured out how you want your brand to present yourself, it’s absolutely vital that you establish a set of guidelines and practical rules for you (and everyone else who’s responsible for your organization’s public face) to follow. That way, you’ll have something to fall back on in every given situation; people will know how to respond without doing something that’s out of character for your business.
“Include all the practical stuff like when and how to reply, how to deal with angry customers, and so on,” advises Beule. “Make sure these guidelines complement your overall social media strategy when deciding upon the ideal voice you will use.”
Rule Nine: Remember That Your Voice Can Change Over Time
People change. Our personalities are in constant flux, influenced by the circumstances in our lives. By that same vein, your brand’s character isn’t set in stone. Your voice can change over time as your business grows and evolves. Never fall into the trap of thinking that once you’ve figured out your voice, you’ll never revisit it and adjust it.
Rule Ten: Always Be Genuine
Last but certainly not least, here’s the most important rule for finding your voice: make it genuine. You’d be surprised how often people appreciate candor over dishonesty, even if it makes you look a little foolish in the short term. An open, honest brand is a brand people can trust – and it’s one they’ll want to do business with in the future.
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