How to Find Your Voice in Social Media

May 20, 2014
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Written by Jamie Smith 

What does social media voice have to do with branding?

Picture a 35-year-old woman named Kate. She’s a mid-level manager at a regional corporation. She’s also a wife, mom and a volunteer at her favorite local charity that helps women and children. In each role she plays, Kate is authentic—she’s true to her personality and beliefs. Yet she knows that to be the most effective, she must behave slightly different in each life role. After all, she wouldn’t manage her children the same way she manages her employees or vice versa. In each of Kate’s roles there are common threads that all point to them being a part of who she is.

The same is true for branding, be it a company brand or a personal brand.

Branding: the glue that ties all messages together

Branding involves all aspects of portraying the company’s culture and mission, the logo colors and design, the website style and language, or how to manage social media. A brand is established through understanding the company culture and purpose.

The same is true for a blogger’s personal brand in that the brand is established from the blogger’s interests, beliefs and purpose in writing the blog. A personal brand is personified through blog design, social media presence and, of course, how the blogger behaves in person.

Whether it’s a corporate brand or personal brand, the goal is to always have positive and consistent recognition across all communication, yet also recognizing that different communication forms need their own flair.

So what does this mean for social media? 

When people talk about a “voice” they don’t mean whether the company or blogger sounds like Pee Wee Herman or James Earl Jones. A company or blogger’s voice is how they communicate:

• What words do they use? Are they formal or casual?

• What kind of tone do they use? Is it fun, serious or philosophical?

• Do they adopt a role or mascot? (An example of the latter would be the Aflac duck being the “spokesperson” to speak for the company or a blogger assuming a role such as “Cleaning Fairy.”)

Social media by its very nature is, well, social. It is inherently more casual than a website or company newsletter. Social media is often called the cocktail party of the online world. Anyone who seems too self-involved or uncaring at a party will be ignored and the same goes for social media.

This concept means that the social media voice should be unique and fit both the target audience’s needs and the company’s needs. Social media offers the ability to show the fun side and be more conversational.

Say, for example, the company sells extreme sports equipment with a target audience of mostly Millennials. Should the social media voice use the same tone and language as a company selling hair regrowth gel to middle-aged men? Of course not. That’s just weird.

The extreme sport company is going to be more fun and daring with ideas for places to participate in the extreme sports, safety (but shared in a cool way, of course), and ideas on types of equipment to purchase. A good social media strategy includes engaging people in conversation and actually listening to what they have to say.

Creating and evolving social media voice 

Your brand voice in social media will evolve over time and if you don’t have an established voice, it’s not too late to create one. If you’re already on social media, it’s perfectly OK to transition into a new voice. Stephanie Schwab, in writing for, offers a four-part formula for finding a brand voice that also works for developing the social media voice.

Stephanie describes the four parts of voice this way:

  • Character/Persona (is the voice: friendly, warm, inspiring, playful, authoritative, professional?)
  • Tone (is the voice: personal, humble, clinical, honest, direct, scientific?)
  • Language (is the voice: complex, savvy, insider, serious, simple, filled with jargon, fun, whimsical?)
  • Purpose (is it to engage, educate, inform, enable, entertain, delight, sell or amplify?)

What’s your social media voice? What else would you like to know about how to develop your social media voice? Leave your thoughts in the comments and we can discuss!

Jamie Smith is a professional writer who owns Jamie’s Notebook, a business that offers writing services such as corporate blogging, website copy and news feature articles. She is also a Social Fabric member and blogs over at Jamie’s Thots.


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