1!
Finding Your Social
Media Voice!
Presented by Jed Sundwall!
December 2, 2009!
Captura Group!
2!
Agenda!
This course teaches the importance of a strong organizational
voice and how to communicate your organizationʼs ...
3!
Voice fundamentals!
Your voice is a major component of your brand identity!
4!
What is an organizational voice?!
Your organizationʼs voice underlies all of its
communication—it is what constituents ...
5!
Why voice matters!
Your voice is a major component of your
brand identity!
A consistent voice can:!
•  Communicate valu...
6!
Why social media voice matters!
Social media requires organizations to
communicate more rapidly in conversational
conte...
7!
Your voice self!
A clear organizational voice requires a deep understanding of your
mission and audience!
8!
Who are you?!
Your voice must accurately reflect your
organization and its mission!
Answer these questions to ensure tha...
9!
Who are you talking to?!
Your language, content and tone should be
informed by knowledge of your audience!
Answer these...
10!
Research!
Perform research to gain a better understanding of your organization and audience!
Internal research methods...
11!
Your voice!
Your voice is characterized by context, language, content, tone,
and frequency !
12!
How do you communicate?!
Analyze your current media to inform your
social media strategy!
Some “traditional” means of ...
13!
What language do you speak?!
Your language depends upon your audience
and mission !
Consider the following: !
•  Does ...
14!
Plain language or jargon?!
Use jargon if your audience will benefit from
it, but always write clearly!
•  Use language ...
15!
What do you talk about?!
Communicate value by providing useful
information to your audience!
Common types of content:!...
16!
How often do you talk?!
Most large organizations are used to issuing
a few official communications per year!
•  Which a...
17!
Your social media voice!
Adopting social media requires you to communicate faster, more
personably, and more directly ...
18!
Be authentic!
Stay true to your mission and audience!
•  Your audience has certain expectations of
you. Meet them. !
•...
19!
Be timely and relevant!
Social media operates in real time!
•  People use social media to find out whatʼs
happening now...
20!
Be more social!
Social contexts require that you sound more…!
•  Casual – Your social media communications will
be min...
21!
Speak directly to your audience!
Use social media to speak directly to your
audience in their language!
•  Social medi...
22!
Be consistent but flexible!
A consistent voice allows your followers and
fans to build a relationship with you over tim...
23!
Avoid social media jargon!
Social media may require some
abbreviations and new syntax, but being
understood is paramou...
24!
Social media voice best practices!
• Be authentic!
• Be timely and relevant!
• Be more social!
• Speak directly to you...
25!
Examples!
Your voice will vary across different forms of social media!
26!
Blogs!
Blog posts allow for long, rich
communication!
•  Long prose provides plenty of room to
demonstrate personality...
27!
Blog example

The Globe Program!
http://www.globe.gov/fsl/scientistsblog/
28!
Blog example

Gov Gab!
http://blog.usa.gov/
29!
Blog example

The Justice Blog!
http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/
30!
Updates & tweets!
Facebook and Twitter updates require
vigorous writing!
•  Character restraints on Twitter and Facebo...
31!
Facebook example

FCC!
http://www.facebook.com/FCC
32!
Facebook example

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs!
http://www.facebook.com/VeteransAffairs
33!
Twitter example

CA.gov on Twitter!
http://twitter.com/CAgovernment
34!
Twitter example

USA.gov on Twitter!
http://twitter.com/USAgov
35!
Video, photos & podcasts!
Language used to describe multimedia
content should match your voice!
•  Strengthen your mul...
36!
Podcast example

NOAAʼs Making Waves!
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast.html
37!
Podcast example

Inside the FBI!
http://www.fbi.gov/multimedia/media_main.htm
38!
Managing your voice!
Use styleguides to ensure a consistent organizational voice!
39!
Styleguides!
Styleguides and editorial guidelines help
maintain a consistent voice by training and
unifying staff!
•  ...
40!
Practice, practice, practice!
Your voice will develop over time with
practice!
•  The relatively high volume of commun...
41!
Styleguide resources!
Free styleguides available online!
•  The Economist Style Guide!
http://www.economist.com/resear...
42!
Writing resources!
Some of my favorite writing resources!
•  WebContent.gov – Writing for the Web!
http://www.usa.gov/...
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Finding Your Voice Presentation by Jed Sundwall

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@JedSundwall did a webinar for @HandsOnNetwork affiliates on Finding Your Voice on social media channels and these are his slides

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Finding Your Voice Presentation by Jed Sundwall

  1. 1. 1! Finding Your Social Media Voice! Presented by Jed Sundwall! December 2, 2009! Captura Group!
  2. 2. 2! Agenda! This course teaches the importance of a strong organizational voice and how to communicate your organizationʼs value through social media.! Topics covered:! •  Voice fundamentals! •  Identifying your mission and audience! •  Identifying your voice! •  Social media voice best practices! •  Examples of social media voices! •  Managing your voice!
  3. 3. 3! Voice fundamentals! Your voice is a major component of your brand identity!
  4. 4. 4! What is an organizational voice?! Your organizationʼs voice underlies all of its communication—it is what constituents hear or read wherever they encounter you! Your organizationʼs voice is found in:! •  News releases! •  Brochures! •  FAQs! •  Web content! •  Customer service! •  Emails! •  Interviews with representatives! •  Tweets?! Telephone girls on Stock Quotation Service © Time Inc.
  5. 5. 5! Why voice matters! Your voice is a major component of your brand identity! A consistent voice can:! •  Communicate value, authority, energy, professionalism, and personality! •  Underscore organizational values and objectives! •  Make your organization more memorable! Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower at the Voice of America © Time Inc.
  6. 6. 6! Why social media voice matters! Social media requires organizations to communicate more rapidly in conversational contexts! Challenges of social media:! •  Rapid communication! •  Constant changes require new processes and training! •  Multiple formats feature unique benefits and challenges! •  Blogs! •  Twitter! •  Facebook! •  YouTube! Barack Obama communicating on Facebook
  7. 7. 7! Your voice self! A clear organizational voice requires a deep understanding of your mission and audience!
  8. 8. 8! Who are you?! Your voice must accurately reflect your organization and its mission! Answer these questions to ensure that your voice is authentic and deliberate:! •  Are you representing an agency or program?! •  What is your mission?! •  What unique information do you have to offer?! •  Why are you speaking?! •  Why do you want people to subscribe to your updates?! •  How long will your organization exist?! Know thyself! Japanese woman with mirrors from George Eastman House on Flickr
  9. 9. 9! Who are you talking to?! Your language, content and tone should be informed by knowledge of your audience! Answer these questions to ensure that your voice is appropriate to your audience:! •  Who do you want to reach?! •  Who wants to hear from you?! •  What are your audienceʼs top tasks?! •  How does your audience prefer to communicate?! •  What do people expect from you?! •  Why do people subscribe to your updates?! 3-D Film Audience © Time Inc.
  10. 10. 10! Research! Perform research to gain a better understanding of your organization and audience! Internal research methods! Audience research methods! Stakeholder interviews! Site traffic analysis! Online surveys! Online surveys! Competitive analysis! Focus groups! Content audits! Ethnographies!
  11. 11. 11! Your voice! Your voice is characterized by context, language, content, tone, and frequency !
  12. 12. 12! How do you communicate?! Analyze your current media to inform your social media strategy! Some “traditional” means of communication:! •  News releases! •  FAQs! •  Press kits! •  Annual reports! •  Brochures! •  Presentations! •  PSAs (print, TV, and radio)! •  Web content! •  Emails! Newspaper founder Robert S. Abbott (R) © Time Inc.
  13. 13. 13! What language do you speak?! Your language depends upon your audience and mission ! Consider the following: ! •  Does your mission require you to speak a particular language?! •  Does a significant portion of your audience speak a particular language?! •  Is your audience diverse and large enough to mix languages?! •  Would you benefit from creating a new communication channel in a particular language?! The White House has a widely varied audience and communicates in a variety of languages GobiernoUSA.gov exists specifically to serve a Spanish speaking population
  14. 14. 14! Plain language or jargon?! Use jargon if your audience will benefit from it, but always write clearly! •  Use language and terminology that is meaningful to your audience! •  Clear and direct language is always good, but jargon is not inherently bad! What? This message is not intended for me. That’s OK. The Argonne National Lab communicates in plain language about technical topics
  15. 15. 15! What do you talk about?! Communicate value by providing useful information to your audience! Common types of content:! •  News updates! •  Research findings! •  Public service announcements! •  Emergency notifications! This was the best I could come up with Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker From Nationaal Archief on Flickr
  16. 16. 16! How often do you talk?! Most large organizations are used to issuing a few official communications per year! •  Which activities merit official communications?! •  How long does it take to create an official communication?! •  How many people have to edit and approve official communications?! Phyllis Diller using three telephones © Time Inc.
  17. 17. 17! Your social media voice! Adopting social media requires you to communicate faster, more personably, and more directly with your audience!
  18. 18. 18! Be authentic! Stay true to your mission and audience! •  Your audience has certain expectations of you. Meet them. ! •  Using social media should not change your objectives or core content! •  Do not confuse your audience by sounding like a different organization on different channels! Honest Abe Abraham Lincoln, January 8, 1864 From The Library of Congress on Flickr
  19. 19. 19! Be timely and relevant! Social media operates in real time! •  People use social media to find out whatʼs happening now. Tell them.! •  It is ok to post links to old materials as long as there is a clear connection to current events affecting your audience! •  There is no firm rule on how often you should communicate through social media, but remember that users are commonly annoyed by too frequent posting! Wrist Watch © Time Inc.
  20. 20. 20! Be more social! Social contexts require that you sound more…! •  Casual – Your social media communications will be mingled with personal messages from usersʼ friends and family. Try to fit in.! •  Human – Social media are designed primarily to allow people to socialize with people. ! •  Concise – Your content on social media outlets is forced to compete with countless personal messages, jokes, and games. Get to the point. ! The White House competes with baby pictures on Facebook
  21. 21. 21! Speak directly to your audience! Use social media to speak directly to your audience in their language! •  Social media allows you to communicate directly with your audience, without going through traditional media organizations! •  Traditional media may gather leads from your social media communications, but always cater to your primary audience! •  Posting too many press releases and other self serving updates may alienate some users and damage your reputation! A librarian's assistant telling a story from New York Public Library on Flickr
  22. 22. 22! Be consistent but flexible! A consistent voice allows your followers and fans to build a relationship with you over time! •  People typically subscribe to your social media updates through an RSS feed or by “following” or becoming a “fan.” Maintaining a consistent voice over time will foster loyalty from your subscribers.! •  You cannot anticipate or control the makeup of your audience. Be prepared to adapt your voice to your followersʼ needs as you learn more about them.! Be like a river, steady but adaptable Deschutes River horseshoe From Oregon State University Archives on Flickr
  23. 23. 23! Avoid social media jargon! Social media may require some abbreviations and new syntax, but being understood is paramount! •  Always aspire to write clearly within restraints ! •  Do not assume that your audience is as savvy as you are! •  Being understood is paramount!! This was ironic and embarrassing Found via Kathy Sierra
  24. 24. 24! Social media voice best practices! • Be authentic! • Be timely and relevant! • Be more social! • Speak directly to your audience! • Be consistent but flexible! • Being understood is paramount!!
  25. 25. 25! Examples! Your voice will vary across different forms of social media!
  26. 26. 26! Blogs! Blog posts allow for long, rich communication! •  Long prose provides plenty of room to demonstrate personality and provide rich information! •  Conversational prose can lead to inflated and rambling paragraphs. Avoid this because your readers are likely distracted by other tasks, emails, and browser windows.! •  Remember William Strunk, Jr.ʼs axiom: “Vigorous writing is concise.”! TSA’s Blogger Bob has a great voice http://www.tsa.gov/blog
  27. 27. 27! Blog example
 The Globe Program! http://www.globe.gov/fsl/scientistsblog/
  28. 28. 28! Blog example
 Gov Gab! http://blog.usa.gov/
  29. 29. 29! Blog example
 The Justice Blog! http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/
  30. 30. 30! Updates & tweets! Facebook and Twitter updates require vigorous writing! •  Character restraints on Twitter and Facebook require careful editing and precise word choice ! •  Each update should be focused on a single topic! •  Social media updates are forced to compete with a lot of other information, make yours clear and valuable! •  Short form communication is here to stay! •  Remember that users are commonly annoyed by too frequent posting! Tweets have a hard time standing out
  31. 31. 31! Facebook example
 FCC! http://www.facebook.com/FCC
  32. 32. 32! Facebook example
 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs! http://www.facebook.com/VeteransAffairs
  33. 33. 33! Twitter example
 CA.gov on Twitter! http://twitter.com/CAgovernment
  34. 34. 34! Twitter example
 USA.gov on Twitter! http://twitter.com/USAgov
  35. 35. 35! Video, photos & podcasts! Language used to describe multimedia content should match your voice! •  Strengthen your multimedia content with clear and explanatory titles and descriptions! •  Remember your audience when writing titles and descriptions! •  What do they need to know about your content?! •  Why does your content matter to them?! •  Seek to use keywords in titles and descriptions to facilitate discovery through search! Content titles and descriptions and video scripts are opportunities to reinforce your voice
  36. 36. 36! Podcast example
 NOAAʼs Making Waves! http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast.html
  37. 37. 37! Podcast example
 Inside the FBI! http://www.fbi.gov/multimedia/media_main.htm
  38. 38. 38! Managing your voice! Use styleguides to ensure a consistent organizational voice!
  39. 39. 39! Styleguides! Styleguides and editorial guidelines help maintain a consistent voice by training and unifying staff! •  Styleguides need executive support to be effective! •  Create styleguides that address issues unique to your organization! •  Styleguides should not be rule books! •  It is ok to leverage existing 3rd party styleguides! •  USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov have created guidelines specifically for social media outreach! The best journalists appreciate that writing well is not a tiresome duty but a necessity. This guide is intended as a small contribution to achieving that end. It is, though, just what is says it is – a guide. It is not a collection of rules and regulations. It is not a dictionary and it is not a list of what is acceptable and what is not. The aim is to stimulate thought and to highlight areas of potential difficulty. From Why does the BBC need a style guide?
  40. 40. 40! Practice, practice, practice! Your voice will develop over time with practice! •  The relatively high volume of communication required by social media provides many opportunities to develop your voice! •  Stay focused on your mission and your audience! •  Good writing is good social media writing, so practice writing!! Clear writing leads to clear thinking. You don't know what you know until you try to express it. Good writing is partly a matter of character. Instead of doing what's easy for you, do what's easy for your reader. — Michael A. Covington, Professor of Computer Science at The University of Georgia
  41. 41. 41! Styleguide resources! Free styleguides available online! •  The Economist Style Guide! http://www.economist.com/research/StyleGuide/! •  The BBC News Style Guide! http://www.bbctraining.com/styleguide.asp! •  Wikipedia Manual of Style! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style! Email me at jed@capturagroup.com for a copy of the latest USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov social media editorial guidelines.!
  42. 42. 42! Writing resources! Some of my favorite writing resources! •  WebContent.gov – Writing for the Web! http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/managing_content/ writing_and_editing.shtml! •  PlainLanguage.gov! http://www.plainlanguage.gov/! •  The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White, 1918 ! •  Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples, 1932! •  Politics and the English Language by George Orwell, 1946! •  Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy, 1985! •  Copyblogger ! http://www.copyblogger.com/! Good writing is timeless

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