If you run a small business page on Facebook and other social media sites, your “voice” and brand messaging is likely fairly consistent since you’re the only one interacting with your followers. However, what happens as your business grows? You may find it helpful, if not necessary, to have other employees answer questions, post status updates, and tweet on behalf of the company. In order to ensure consistency, you will need to develop an official voice for your social media sites along with specific guidelines for your team to follow.
Identify the characteristics of the company’s voice such as: friendly, quirky, formal, provocative, funny, edgy, authoritative, or informative. Choose several characteristics that define the voice. These characteristics will guide your social media representatives as they interact with your followers. For example, if your voice is professional, authoritative, and formal, status updates that start with “Yo, check this out” will not fit.
Next, write out a brief but detailed description of the voice so that everyone is clear. Should the voice sound as if it is from a trusted best friend? From a fashionista who is on top of all the latest trends? Feel free to refer to well-known people or fictional characters in your voice descriptions as this will help your social media administrators relate to the voice. For example, do you want the voice to sound similar to Martha Stewart or Guy Fieri?
Next, create a list of helpful voice guidelines. For example, you probably want to avoid derogatory comments, political rants, and sexual innuendos. Though that should go without saying, you may want to spell it out so that everyone is clear. In addition, you may want to include guidelines that cover sentence structure, punctuation, word choice, and tone.
Use examples to illustrate your guidelines. If one of your guidelines stresses the use of positive language rather than negative, include examples that show how you can turn negative statements into positive ones as shown below:
- We are not available on Saturday afternoons.
- We are available on Saturday mornings.
Similarly, if your guidelines suggest a problem/solution approach, give examples of what you mean.
Voice Vocabulary Lists
Are there specific words that define your brand? Any that you’d like to avoid? Start a word list, making it clear which words or types of words are encouraged and which should be avoided at all costs.
Monitor Your Social Media Profiles for Voice Consistency
Once everyone understands the voice you’ve developed, monitor your social media sites for voice consistency. Ideally, you should not be able to tell that multiple users are posting on your behalf. The voice should sound like it’s coming from the same individual regardless of who composed the actual message.
Finally, keep your team on track by highlighting excellent examples of your voice in action. Share examples of tweets, comments, and status updates that are true to the voice and offer constructive feedback on those that don’t. By defining a voice and working with your team to remain true to it, your social media interactions will become more consistent regardless of who’s interacting at any given time.