Content may be king in social media, but based on some of the posts that pop up in my news feed, a lot of brands are dressing their king in some weird-looking clothes. All too often, brands are failing to match the tone of their messages to the social network in which they’re participating.
You know how it feels when you’re not dressed properly for an occasion? It’s awkward, you’re out of place, and everyone looks at you like you don’t belong. Whether you’re the guy wearing loafers at a rock concert or a grungy T-shirt at a golf club, your clothes say something about you and how comfortable you are in this situation.
It’s the same way when brands march into the social media world expecting to engage with fans. Most people use social media to stay in touch with friends — and maybe read something funny — not to hear about your latest corporate announcement. As a brand, your status update is sitting right in between my crazy aunt’s cat photo and my college roommate’s witty political rant, and to be effective (and stay on my feed) it needs to fit in as much as possible.
Like our friend at the concert (who might pick up some Chucks before the next show), your brand’s page needs to develop a voice and a tone that feels natural to the social media environment you’re using. That means if you’ve got messaging running across all platforms, your Facebook status needs to be different from your LinkedIn discussion, which in turn needs to be different from your tweet. To all of you who automatically feed your tweets onto your Facebook page: stop it. They’re not the same, and what makes something good on Twitter does not make it good on Facebook.
If you’re on Facebook, keep it casual and show me something pretty, like a photo or an infographic. If you’re on Twitter, make it as short as humanly possible and use appropriate handles and hashtags so I notice you. LinkedIn discussions should be professional and stimulating. Every social network has its own flavor and its own lingo, and if you decide to enter that space, your corporate voice needs to match.
This is one of the reasons why PR agencies are a great choice for handling multiple social media networks. Every day, we’re writing in the voices of numerous clients and adapting each one to the media outlet we’re pitching. Taking a message and making it work for social media is natural — and one of my favorite parts of the job.
When handled well, social media gives brands a unique opportunity to connect with their audience and develop deeper affinity and loyalty. It’s like when you see a business acquaintance outside of work. If he or she comes across as a normal, cool person, you’re more likely to connect at the office as well. Brands that wear the right clothes and use the right tone of voice on social media will see the benefits in their bottom line.
Photo credit: neys fadzil