Finding Your Social Media Voice

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Learn how to create a strong, appropriate, and memorable voice for your organization. Developing a strong brand voice is an essential first step to developing a social media strategy.


<ul><li> 1. Finding Your Social Media VoiceJed</li></ul> <p> 2. Social media is a critical interface to government. Government organizations must now communicate in new ways: briey, frequently, and directly. While social media sites are designed for individuals, Measured Voice makes them usable by organizations. Measured Voice helps mission-driven organizations run professional social media operations. Customers include: 3. Agenda Why voice matters Why governmentese exists Finding your voice Social media voice best practices Your voice through images A guide to creating guidelines 4. Why Voice Matters 5. How you communicate the words you use and the ways you organize them brands your organization as much as that little logo you use or those razzle dazzle graphics or those expensive ad campaigns. Candi Harrison 6. People hear your voice in: Press releases Brochures Web content (FAQs) Customer service calls and chats Emails Interviews with spokespeople Twitter, Facebook, and whatever comes next 7. Christina is a customer. Victoria represents AT&amp;T. 8. Christina is a customer. Victoria represents AT&amp;T. 9. Your voice is the basis of all your communication. It is what people hear wherever they encounter you and its how they remember you. It doesnt change.**much 10. Your voice sets the tone. Your voice communicates authority, energy, professionalism, and personality. 11. Your voice sets the tone. Yikes. 12. Invest in your organizations voice. Pays o over the long term. When new social media platforms arise, you bring your voice with you. Beware of social media experts. Having individuals represent your organization can be useful, but when they leave, their take your audience with them. 13. Why Governmentese Exists 14. Communicating is governing. Governmentese gets in the way. 15. Governments are ostentatious. For example: government buildings are intentionally set apart from other buildings and they usually look historical even if theyre new. This fosters an impression of authority and stability, that the government has been here for a long time and will be here for a long time to come. Governmentese does the same thing with highfalutin language.Yes, thats how you spell highfalutin. Louisville City Hall 16. From an email I received from an unnamed federal agency:Hi Jed: I hereby conrm that Oct. 9-10 would work just ne. 17. Misunderstandings can be fatal. 18. A typical poor citizen comes to you poor in money and poor in mental bandwidth. When you give them a 30-page application form for social assistance, youre putting a pretty massive charge on their bandwidth. Eldar Shar, Professor of Psychology and Public Aairs at Princeton UniversityGovernmentese creates real costs. 19. Use jargon carefully. 20. Being understood is paramount. As guardians of the public, governments have a duty to communicate in language that people understand. 21. Finding Your Voice 22. A clear voice comes from a deep understanding of your organization. Why do you exist? What gets your sta out of bed in the morning? Who do you want to reach? What do you do that no one else does? Why do care if people hear from you? 23. Your voice should reect an understanding of your audience. Who wants to hear from you? What does your audience need? How does your audience prefer to communicate? What do people expect from you? Why do people subscribe to your updates? 24. We want people to go outside and look up. @VeronicaMcG / NASA-JPLPhoto (cc) Dave Dugdale 25. [The federal government] is just using [social media] as an announcement system, like you used to listen to in class: The cafeteria will be serving roast beef, and I will be at this place or that place. But thats not interaction, thats not collaboration. Cory Booker 26. [The federal government] is just using [social media] as an announcement system, like you used to listen to in class: The cafeteria will be serving roast beef, and I will be at this place or that place. But thats not interaction, thats not collaboration. Cory BookerHey! Theres nothing wrong with that! Also, thats not really true. Jed Sundwall 27. Social Media Voice Best Practices 28. Social media voice best practices: Write in rst person. Talk to people, not about them. Be authentic. Be relevant. Be clear. Be direct. Understand your medium. Use guidelines. 29. Write in rst person. It saves characters and makes more sense on social media. 30. Talk to people, not about them. It saves characters and its polite. 31. Be authentic. 32. Be authentic. Your audience has certain expectations of you. Meet them. 33. Be authentic. Its ok if people dont want you to be their friend. 34. Be relevant. Honor your audience by sharing things that matter to them. 35. Be direct. Theres no need to wait for traditional media to get your news out. 36. Be direct. Theres no need to wait for traditional media to get your news out. 37. Be clear. Hard writing makes easy reading. Speak clearly and make sense. 38. Understand your medium. The strengths of social media services should shape your content. For instance: images are very eective on Facebook. 39. Be cool. Everyone, everyone, is still guring this out. 40. Use guidelines but not rules. Your voice should be like a river, steady but adaptable. 41. Your voice through images 42. Over one million nerve bers send signals from the eye to the brain, and an estimated 20 billion neurons are devoted to analyzing and integrating visual information at rapid speed.Source: Visual Language for Designers by Connie Malamed 43. Good images are good content: Timely Relevant On brand Interesting (avoid stock photography) 44. Timely and educational Source: @NASAKennedy 45. Informational Source: @FullMoonDriveIn on Instagram 46. Educational Source: @NOAA on Instagram 47. Metaphorical Source: @WWF on Twitter 48. Documentary Source: @NTSB on Twitter 49. Evocative Source: on Facebook 50. Novel Source: 51. Aspirational Source: 52. Strategic The Department of Interior shares great photos to attract a teachable audience.Source: @interior on Twitter 53. Massive image on Twitter, can only scale as tall as the browser window. 54. Massive image on Facebook, can only scale as tall as the browser window. 55. Massive image on Tumblr, scales down to 750 pixels tall. 56. Stick with common aspect ratios.1:116:94:3 Theyll look good and wont use a lot of bandwidth. 57. Learn from Nancy. Fantagraphics Books Inc. 58. Learn from Nancy embrace constraints. Fantagraphics Books Inc. 59. A Guide to Creating Guidelines 60. Guidelines are not rules short unifying research-based leader-supported 61. Guidelines are not rules. Guidelines provide guidance. They shouldnt prescribe and should allow for experimentation. 62. Guidelines are short. You want your team to know your guidelines by heart distill them to the bare essentials. 63. Guidelines are unifying. Guidelines should reect the expertise of your team and their passion to serve the public. Your entire sta should feel proud of your guidelines and what they encourage. 64. Guidelines are research-based. Do internal and external research to create unifying guidelines. Survey your audience to nd out what they expect from your agency, what they think of you, and how they think you can improve. Then survey your own people to nd out the same things. 65. Guidelines are leader-supported. Get the bosses to sign o on the guidelines. Someone should be able to make executive decisions based on your guidelines. 66. Visit to see USA.govs social media guidelines. They are a thing of beauty. Actual quote. Really! 67. Dont be afraid to ask for help. @measuredvoice</p>