The Three Voices of Social Marketing
Trying to figure out how to improve your use of social channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook) for your business? There are countless articles and blog posts on how to best leverage these channels to share practical experience and tactical advice. A quick search will show you how to use Twitter, for example, to promote your blog or improve your branding, how to use it the “right way” and use it “productively.” (By the way, you can follow me here).
However, many of these articles jump right down into the details without really explaining the basics. As I’ve advised and mentored entrepreneurs and startups over the years, I’ve found that the typical corporate social strategy can be divided into three primary streams of communication: the corporate voice, the SME voice, and the personal voice. Most business entities who are finding success with social marketing may gravitate toward one of these voices, but they definitely use all three. Here’s a quick overview:
The Corporate Voice
This is the traditional, professional voice of your business. You can share event news and links to press releases, discuss upcoming product release news or executive movement. Basically, this is the content that you would otherwise share through traditional marketing and public relations channels.
The SME Voice
Depending on your business, this could be the meat-and-potatoes of your social communication, sharing insights into the application of your technology, from an expert’s perspective. This is where you will build your followers, as people want to know more about how they can use your product or service to solve their business problems. The more expertise you share, the more authentic the communication, and, arguably, the more followers you will find.
The Personal Voice
At the end of the day, people will sniff out spam and walk away. Rely too heavily on the corporate voice, and people will run away. While the SME voice will attract followers, once a customer or partner is through a particularly sketchy business problem, having found the information they needed through your last few tweets, they may get bored and wander away. The Personal voice allows you to add some flavor, and build that personal connection to your customers by showing them the person standing behind the curtain. Clearly, you want to be careful on how much you share, and the general tone behind these communications. Too many tweets about your local sports team, laced with the occasional expletive, and you could find a serious fluctuation in followers.
The hard part in all of this – and this is the part that you need to figure out on your own – is finding that right mix of corporate, SME, and personal voices. It all depends on your industry, your customers, your corporate personality, and your willingness to experiment.
My advice is to develop a plan, measure your success, and iterate:
- Include social channels within your go-to-market strategy, and as part of your overall corporate PR planning.
- Post your daily/weekly/monthly product or service news, making social a primary part of your day-to-day activities.
- Employ the help of your development or product management team to share key scenarios and use cases on a regular basis, giving customers access to the inner working of your team.
- Respond to customer questions or complaints through relevant channels, pointing people toward resolved issues on your blog, company website, or other communication vehicles.
- Track the fanboys, follow their tweets, and ensure that they stay happy by immediately acting on their questions and issues.
- Get creative in your posts, utilizing other media. Add a social feed to your blog, utilize pictures and videos, and make sure any new content is shared via tweets as it is published.
- And finally, be consistent. Find a rhythm, and keep the content flowing.