World-class opera singers, best-selling authors and viral Twitter accounts all have one thing in common—a strong voice. It can take years to develop the creative muscles required to convey a proper tone or specific attitude via social media, but with a few tips and subtle tricks, you can find your voice and be well on your way to joining the greats by the weekend.
Why Voice is Important
Why bother developing a unique voice on social media? Why not copy/paste the same content copy across all of your platforms? There are probably as many different ways to answer that question as there are photos of food on Instagram, but we’re going to focus on three of them.
- It Sets You Apart. One of the best ways to make people remember your writing—whether it’s an email, a tweet or a blog post ruminating on the craft of copywriting—is to make sure your prose sounds like you. When a reader feels like their slogging through an instruction manual, they will tune out and disregard everything they just read (if they even finish it). If, on the other hand, the copy is quippy, witty and engaging, then the reader will not only finish what you wrote, they’ll remember it as well.
- It Deepens Your Connection. Developing a strong tone of voice in your written copy creates in your reader a sense of familiarity. When they can look at a Tweet without seeing your company logo and know that it came from you, you know you’ve done your job well.
- It Just Makes Things Easier. There is no greater obstacle to overcome when it comes to writing copy than a blank page and a blinking cursor. When you’ve done the work to create a strong voice for your social platforms, you’re never starting from zero. You’ll always have a place to begin, and that can make all the difference when you’re also juggling emails and calls and almost-overdue projects.
How to Find It
Developing your written voice can be a lifelong pursuit, but there are ways you can kickstart the process.
First things first, start with your company culture. Are you a hip and cool cutting edge startup? (If so, you probably don’t say things like “hip” and “cool.”) Then that attitude should come through in your copy. Likewise, if your company has a more buttoned-up culture, then your copy should be equally formal.
One exercise that we do here at SanMar when developing our social networks’ voices is to imagine each network as a person. Then we can assign qualities and characteristics to the persona and use those as guide rails when we’re creating content for each network.
Maybe on Instagram, your company is a funloving free spirit, an introspective wanderer, or an enthusiastic fan of all things apparel. Imagine how someone with those qualities would talk about the content you’re sharing if you met them at a party. That’s your starting point. Go from there.
To drive the point home, we will pull back the curtain on the SanMar social team and tell you about a couple of our social media personas.
On Facebook, we’re “the older sibling who has had that science teacher before you.” You know the one we’re talking about. They can tell you that all of the pop quizzes come on Thursdays, and the questions all come from the second half of the chapter. On LinkedIn, however, we’re “the college advisor.” The one looking out for your post-university career path.
You can see how both personas are similar and can talk about the same topics, but they’ll approach in very different ways. So if we’re talking about the Re-TeeTM, then on Facebook, we’re going to emphasize how good it feels to buy sustainably and how comfortable the shirt is. On the other hand, on LinkedIn, we’ll talk about sustainable business trends and the economics of buying recycled.
Same shirt. Same topic. Two different voices.
You’re never done developing your written voice, but the process is fun and rewarding, and we hope we’ve given you the tools to start your journey. Let us know what you think, though! Continue the conversation on SanMar’s social media accounts. You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.