You know as a business you should have a social media presence, but it can often feel like a huge hurdle. Social media engagement requires planning, design, and constant posting and monitoring. However, that first post can be the biggest step of all, because it requires you to figure out how you will approach your audience and establish your brand on social media. Finding this style, your “voice,” can be daunting. Today, we’re going to try and break down the elements of a social media voice, and what factors from your business you should integrate into it.
Anatomy of a Social Media Voice
Different businesses establish different voices, from professional and informative, to lighthearted and image-heavy. Here are six factors to keep in mind:
- Tone: Formal or informal? Do you want to use humor? How do you want to respond to those who engage you?
- Content: What are you talking about? Are you sharing information, announcements, or sharing news?
- Spelling and Punctuation: Generally speaking, while individuals can discard capitalization and punctuation, businesses should take it to the next level when it comes to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
- Links: When using links in your posts, it’s recommended to use a link shortener such as gl or Bitly. These tools shorten the links before social media does, allowing better tracking through Analytics or even the tracking tools from the shorteners.
- Formatting: On many social media platforms, inserted links will turn into articles, complete with an image, title, and description pulled from the meta-data of the page. Make sure to format them as needed.
- Image Usage: Posts are a lot more visible when you add images to them. Use images of a proper resolution, consistent quality, and think about image branding for your own photography to keep it consistently on-brand.
- Hashtag Usage: Lastly, hashtags have made it to every medium. While not mandatory, make sure to use hashtags responsibly. This means researching hashtags before using them, using them consistently, and placing them correctly depending on the medium.
Factors from Your Company
A large amount of the tone and content of your social media voice will come from what kind of company you are and who you serve. Below are several factors that will heavily influence your voice.
What industry do you belong to? Each industry and sub-industry has its own presence on the internet, from who they target to what kind of information they provide. It’s important to research how your industry as a whole handles itself on social media, and then decide what trends to follow and which to buck.
Services and Products
A restaurant is going to talk about food and fun. A manufacturer is going to talk about tools and reliability. A service provider is going to talk about assistance and technology. What you provide to your audience will affect how you approach them, which will affect your voice; from the fun of hospitality to an informative tone for a service provider.
Who is your target audience? Depending on your demographics, your use of images, hashtags, and tone should change. If you’re targeting B2B, you’re probably going to be more professional than if a B2C business. Your language and information will also change depending on the proficiency of your audience, such as targeting specifically engineers or broadly with consumers.
Your brand is your identity, the way people pick you out from among the other companies that provide similar services. Looking at your brand identity, are there aspects that are ripe for social media? From mascots to core principles, look for points of engagement, news to comment on, and hashtags to use that are relevant to your brand.
Lastly, it’s important to reflect the culture of your own company. Are you a small company or even an owner/operator? Do you and your team have fun? Do you tend to be more formal or informal with clients? Make sure to extend your company culture to your social media.
Making and executing a social media plan requires an understanding of the various social media platforms, but also requires regular and consistent posting. Ideally, the same individual should do all posting to preserve both the voice and the structure of a post. A great way of meeting both these goals without straining your company’s staff is partnering with a digital marketing agency to manage your social media platforms, as well as coordinating the other aspects of your online marketing. Vision Advertising is here to help as a full-service social media marketing firm and also able to support you in public relations, online reputation, and website design and development. Contact us today to learn more.