I was recently asked what the top failure of business storytelling is. My answer of course was being afraid to hit the publish button. But after reflecting on things a bit I have come to realize there’s a deeper issue that needs to be considered: a lack of a voice.
Voice on social media is so much more than the words you use. It’s the decision to use the gif or how you engage with the troll or whether you post pithy commentary or carefully constructed content that adhere to stringent brand guidelines. The voice you need to connect with your audiences is the true voice you need establish.
Pick a voice. Then change it.
Establishing a brand’s social media voice does not happen overnight. Experimenting with the diction and syntax that captures the emotion, spirit and passion of the brand happens over time. A lot of brands will eventually settle into a middle ground of ambiguous corporate speak mixed with the occasional cat picture to show how edgy it is.
But know that it is OK to show personality. Experiment with content that works with your community and continue to hone that voice with different content. Having the ability to respond on social media with agile responses and connect with the world, instantly, is one of the core benefits of social media. But, without an established voice, you lose that ability.
How to find your voice
Finding your voice is simple. Just write like a human. The simple truth is that sometimes we’re funny. Sometimes we’re obtuse. Sometimes we’re emotional and sometimes we’re effective storytellers. But we’re never just a perpetual stream of jokes or empathetic colloquialisms.
Every situation and piece of content relies on our ability to incite action. That is the ultimate driver of the voice you choose. Utilize your brand guidelines and the overall tone of the outbound communications as a baseline for your brand’s social media voice. Create a playbook that specifies diction (do you say customers, partners, users etc…) and diction (Do you address people formally? Slang game #onfleek?) as well as resources for how to craft responses.
By empowering your employees to adhere to the guidelines you set provides them the creative freedom to respond as your brand while sounding human. After all, isn’t that what social media is for? Connecting with humans?