SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues. Last week’s poll question: Are your company’s social media communications written in a personal “I” voice, a corporate “we” voice or a reader-centric “you” voice?
- The company uses the “we” voice — 56.86%
- The company uses different voices within the same social media channel– 13.24%
- The company uses different voices for different channels — 13.24%
- The company uses the “you” voice — 10.78%
- The company uses the “I” voice — 5.88%
What kind of voice you use for your social communications can say a lot about your brand. How you frame your social media communications depends largely on the industry you are in, your social media goals and the kinds of information you’re trying to convey.
Each voice has its own strengths and weaknesses. There are times when each voice is the most appropriate. While there are no hard and fast rules, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- The “I” voice conveys personality. It works best for solo entrepreneurs, community managers and other workers who act as the face of their company. It says your company is fun and personal. Pros: It lets readers know that there’s a real live person working behind the scenes — and people are easier to engage with than faceless brands. Cons: Talking in the “I” voice all the time can seem self-centered and can distract followers from the brand’s larger mission.
- The “we” voice conveys authority. It’s great for B2B businesses, financial companies and other lines of work where authority is a must for doing business. It says your company means business. Pros: It sounds official. It lets readers know that the information being conveyed is important. It project professionalism. Cons: It can seem distant, cold and intimidating. It lacks personality and can sound dull if used exclusively. It discourages engagement.
- The “you” voice conveys attention. This is the voice of information sharing and customer service. It strikes a balance between the personal “I” messages and the official “we” messages. It says your company is all about its customers. Pros: It puts the attention squarely on your followers and their needs. It’s user friendly and easy to engage with. Cons: It’s not great for pushing out company information and it lacks the warmth and personal touch of the “I” voice. It can ultimately be a little forgettable.
A mixture of voices, either within or between channels, would seem like the most logical choice for most brands. The important thing is to let your communication needs and your brand identity dictate your communications style, instead of trying to wrap formal corporate info in a warm and fuzzy personal voice, for instance. Using the right voice for the right messages increases your brand’s authenticity and makes your audience more receptive to your communications.
How are you putting the different social media voices to work?