Social media is primarily text-based. While there are sites that focus only on rich-media sharing (Instagram and YouTube, for example), they still allow comments, favorites and shares. When you want your social media profiles to stand out, it’s important to find your voice and then to maintain this consistent voice every time you post.
This is how you build trust and credibility online. It’s also how you show people who you really are. If you’re representing a company or brand, it’s an opportunity to show what your company is all about. Sometimes in life, we only get one chance and the same can be said about social media. If someone spots you as a spammer or if you offend them with one post or one Tweet, they’re likely to ban or block you quicker than they could ignore you in real life.
So developing your social media voice is a bit like creating an online personality for your accounts. Here are some steps to help you do so successfully.
Who are You?
When you open a social media account, you are creating an online presence for yourself or your brand. While it’s quick and free to do so, you should spend a little time planning what type of social presence you want to have before you jump out there.
For example, if you plan to use this account to look for a new job or to market yourself as a freelancer or independent contractor, you may want to be careful about what you post and how. While that drunken party pic might have been taken on the weekend, it’s not going to instill confidence in a potential employer.
I suggest taking some time to fill out an account profile. Ask yourself “Who am I?” and answer with how you want people to see you. Then take steps to ensure your profile and all posts made from it continue to represent this original account profile accurately.
Who is Your Audience?
Your audience is your community. Once you have defined who you are in the social sense, it’s important to know your audience so you can begin community-building. Are you a company looking to promote a brand, hire potential employees or advertise a sale or promotion? Why should your audience care? How will you reach out to potential employees? What are you giving that makes them want to interact with your accounts on a continual basis?
Know who you are speaking to and you will know the right things to say. Develop profiles for your audience similar to the one you created for yourself. There may be Tammy, the work at home single mother to four. Or maybe Dave the electrician who tweets from his smartphone to pass the time between jobs during the day. Create these character profiles of your potential audience so you feel more like you are speaking directly to someone. This will help you hone your voice. Update these character profiles often.
Tips to Let Your Voice Show
Now that you have determine who you are and who your audience is, here are some tips on how to let your voice show in your social media usage:
• Be honest and transparent: It’s important to be yourself and to let others know why you’re there. If you’re trying to fake it, fans are going to know.
• Don’t break confidences: Some things are best left unsaid (at least on Facebook or Twitter). Avoid breaking confidentiality agreements or the privacy of others. If you’re ever uncertain if you should be posting about a topic, then just don’t do it.
• Share what you know: Talk about what you know and share what is near and dear to you. Give credit where credit is due when you use sources from elsewhere.
• Show your passion: What makes you stand out from the crowd more than the things you are passionate about? Don’t be afraid to show this.
Takeaways – How do you define your online voice? How have you seen others build their personality in a social media space? What have you learned from other brands or personalities in social media that has helped you with your own?
Lisa Mason is a freelance writer and social media marketer with more than 10 years experience. As VP of Special Media for Social Media Sun, she makes sure that readers have access to the most relevant and helpful information that she uses to provide social media solutions to her clients. You can see Lisa’s work at her website and book your own special media solutions.