Social Media Has a Voice, and People Need to Hear It
Social Media Marketing can feel overwhelming. Whether sharing a personal brand or creating a following for a business via social media channels, the questions of where to post, when to post, and what content to post can send a marketer’s mind spinning. One method I employ to narrow the field of opportunity is to define the voice of each social media platform I have chosen to actively market through.
In order to define the voice of each social media platform, I begin by assessing three items: media, audience, and key brand identifiers.
- Media – Media, or the types of content that are most effective on a given social media platform, plays a huge part in deciding first, which platforms to include in your marketing mix and, second, which parts of your brand identity to express on that platform. If your brand identity is colorful and visually stimulating, you may choose to include Instagram in your marketing mix and choose beautiful photography to express more general aspects of your brand. If thought leadership is a significant part of your brand identity, you may prefer to focus on LinkedIn through blog posting and active participation in conversations with other thought leaders.
- Audience – The second major factor in identifying a brand’s voice on a social media platform is audience – both who is actively engaging on a social media platform and, of your existing followers, what aspects of your brand will they find most interesting. Perhaps your audience on Facebook includes many employees. Employee audiences benefit from shareable brand content – items they proudly share with their friends about good work the business is doing. Alternatively, if you are looking for a way to “rub virtual elbows” with influencers, Twitter may be a better way to spread your personal brand.
- Key brand identifiers – Is your brand best described as boisterous or reserved? Colorful or neutral-toned? Marked by aggressive growth or stability? Do your clients and customers expect your brand to be visually dazzling, quick and to the point, educational, or an industry leader? These factors will help greatly in identifying which platforms to utilize and what content to share on each.
Theory is nice, but how does this work in real-life? With respect to my personal brand, I have chosen to market myself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Facebook – Facebook is my primary social media channel because it caters to all the media I am most likely to use – text, graphics/photography, and video. My audience includes people I actually know - friends, family, and colleagues. I communicate the majority of my personal brand’s key identifiers via Facebook – events, musings, memories, projects.
Twitter – The voice of my personal Twitter account is that of a professional who engages at conferences. I am personally overwhelmed by the amount of content on Twitter, so I have decided to use it to post pithy one liners gathered from industry experts when I attend professional events. Most of my audience includes people I have met at these events, as well as strangers (to me) who have noticed my content.
Instagram – My personal Instagram is dedicated to things of beauty in my experience. Photos of places, people, and sundry items that have brought beauty to my life. I would consider Instagram the most self-indulgent of my social media outlets.
- LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the social media platform most comprehensively dedicated to my professional endeavors and successes. I focus on sharing only work-related content to respect the viewing time of my colleagues and connections. The key brand identifier I communicate through LinkedIn is that I am driven by continuous improvement and love to see those in my network succeed.
As the social media manager for a Texas-based emergency medical billing company, the breakdown is slightly different.
Facebook is the hub of the social media marketing strategy, as it has the company’s largest audience. The audience includes employees, clients, and friends of each of those groups. The brand voice on Facebook indicates that the company is growing, has a vibrant employee culture, and is more than a vendor to its clients. Anything that is worthy of posting gets posted to Facebook.
Twitter is a secondary social media platform for the company, focused on business development, sharing client successes, and industry information.
LinkedIn is a social media platform that the company will focus on in the future as an opportunity to share business growth and an outlet for the company’s leadership to share their industry-leading approaches to customer service, billing, and the EMS industry.
Once you’ve established your preferences for media, understand your audience, and identify the key brand identifiers that each audience will benefit most from, you can begin to calm the crazy and gain traction in your social media marketing efforts.