Marketers know this, and they know that the way brands speak to their audiences change from one to the next. For all of the companies with blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and any number of online presences, the connection between social media management and brand voice hasn’t yet been deeply explored. Certainly, any marketer will recognize that having the right tone and vernacular for your audience is an important part of driving social media success, but the question should be asked whether—amid concerns about engagement and conversion rates—your brand speaks in a way that is representative of your audience.
As a fun illustration of this, Facebook recently published a research study about the ways people have been laughing on Facebook over the years. They found some distinct differences in the differences between “haha,” “hehe,” “lol,” and others (emojis very much included). But beyond the laughter, and beneath the demographics, there are some excellent principles for social media managers to note.
Social media supports features that can make the platforms seem suitable for pretty much everything, from planning events to conducting surveys to sharing pictures and initiating discussion. However, just because a platform can support all sorts of different discourse, it doesn’t mean that your brand should support every kind of discourse. What your brand speaks about and how you do it really is the foundation of your brand’s voice.
Some marketers, hoping to take advantage of social media functionality, have unintentionally harmed their brand’s image, triggering chains of complaints. The balance between functionality and appeal isn’t always the easiest to strike, but there is a powerful, simple question that can help prevent you from making this social media management snafu.
Always ask yourself if whatever you’re about to post is best suited for the platform you’re about to use.
From the linked example, customer service is usually best carried out in spaces that prefer professionalism over personability, because when a user has an issue their first concern is a solution, not an interaction. Social media thrives on longer interactions while customer service thrives where conversation can effectively be kept to a minimum. Just because something can be posted or utilized in social media, doesn’t mean it should be.
It’s when marketers enter into actual conversations about voice that more subtle difficulties of branding arise. Where is the line between matching your audience’s language, and mimicry? How can you tell what will actually establish authority with a user, or what might come off as too sterile or inauthentic? Professionalism doesn’t mean you have to leave fun at the login screen, so here are a few rules to help as you wrestle with these ideas for your brand:
Social media management is far from an exact science, and as with anything, it will require diligent testing to perfect it for your brand. But even as you’re keeping your eyes set on the business goals of your brand, remember that even at the digital office, it is okay to laugh.
For more tools to tweak your social media engine, check out Skyword’s free content management guides for insights and foundations.