Putting The Social Back in Social Media

Facebook is primarily a social space—it’s like a party where you should show up in something casual and a little fun instead of your navy-blue business suit. The vibe on Facebook is relaxed, friendly and social. Which means that to enter into the spirit of the party, the voice you use to communicate with clients (and potential clients) on Facebook needs to feel friendly—rather than overly formal, pushy or promotional.

So how do you achieve that social, friendly tone? Here are some useful dynamics to consider:

Cold Warm
Formal Informal
Distant Congenial
“Written” style “Spoken” style
Prerecorded Live and spontaneous
Official Confidential

In general, for social media, you want to steer toward the warm side of the scale for the dynamics listed above.

Formal vs. Informal: Even if you’re in a more formal kind of business, on Facebook you can weigh a little more heavily toward the informal side of the scale than you might in your regular business communications. Be conversational, direct and by all means use contractions. You don’t have to use slang or dumb things down—eloquence and proper English are never anything but a plus—but you want to sound like you’re talking to your “fans” rather than making a speech to them.

Distant vs. Congenial: Think of yourself as the host or hostess of your Page, and your fans as your guests. Be welcoming, supportive, and continually let them know that you’re grateful for the enthusiasm and energy they bring to your Page. You want your fans to understand that there are real live people on the other side of that Facebook Wall, and that you’re enjoying the process of connecting with them.

Written vs. Spoken Style: This is closely related to the Formal/Informal dynamic mentioned above. The best social media writers manage to create the feeling that they’re speaking out loud to you as their writing is read. That brings energy and a sense of connectedness that’s appropriate to the medium. Try saying your status update out loud—does it sound natural and conversational? If not, rewrite until it does.

Prerecorded vs. Live and Spontaneous: Even if you’re writing content for your Page days or weeks in advance so it can be pre-approved by a manager, it should be written to sound like it’s as spontaneous, timely, and “in the moment” as possible.

Official vs. Confidential: Ideally, you want your fans to feel like you’re lifting the veil just a little bit—confiding in them and giving them the real dish, so they get more out of their Facebook connection with you than they would just by reading your regular advertising or the official copy on your website. I read somewhere that if you imagine saying “pssst” in your head before beginning of all of your status updates, it might help you find the tone.

3 Comments Add yours

    1. Corefact says:

      Thanks for sharing, Jesse!

      1. Jesse says:

        No problem, great post!

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