So let me start off this article by telling you about myself: Number one, I am a 24-year-old woman. Number two, I enjoy Disney animated films and have no interest in sports or politics. Number three, none of that matters because I work as a Social Media Manager.
Yep. Your precious identity doesn’t matter when you work as a Social Media Manager. If a man in his late forties is assigned Barbie’s Facebook account, he had better write posts like a perky blonde career woman with an affinity for all things pink if he wants to keep that particular client.
This is much easier said than done, of course. I’ve experienced plenty of situations where I’m the farthest one could possibly be from a client’s demographics, and yet I was expected to write content for them as though I genuinely knew what I posting about. It’s a very intimidating situation, especially if you think about it too hard (like I often do).
At first, however, I didn’t think I’d have so much trouble with it. I thought that my previous experience with creative writing, in which I wrote for characters of all ages and genders and lifestyles, would’ve made it a lot easier to “get into character.” But even with all of that in mind, I still found myself overwhelmed with frustration as that little cursor on my screen mocked me from its place upon an empty page.
The funny thing is, I didn’t have very much to write at all: The content typically included one or two snappy sentences introducing the article, the article’s title and where we found it, and then the link itself (with an image, of course). If the brand name was mentioned, we’d add a # to it and make it a hashtag. That was it.
But I’ll be damned if those one or two sentences didn’t drive me up the wall. What wording was appropriate? How casual could I be? Was this too sales-y sounding? And the dreaded: Will they figure out I have no idea what I’m posting about?
So the question of the day is: How do you find the proper Voice for a brand you have little experience in?
1) Take a trip into the past
Check out the client’s previous posts, blogs, announcements, commercials — whatever! Chances are the tone they used before is very similar to what you should be using now. This can vary, however, depending on the situation: Did they hire you specifically to CHANGE their voice? Did their demographics or particular marketing campaign change? If so, maybe this tip won’t be as effective. There are others, though!
2) “Stalk” their customers
I don’t mean that in a literal way. But take a glance at the social media profiles (Facebook or Twitter preferably) of some of their customers, and check out how they word their status updates. Get a good feel for how they act, think, and feel about life and how the service/product you client provides fits into it. These are the people you’ll be aiming to connect with, so mimicking their tone — while maintaining a professional attitude — certainly can’t hurt.
3) Ask for a little help
There’s never any shame in shooting an email to a coworker (or trusted friend or family member) to get a second opinion on your “Voice.” Just try to find someone who roughly fits into the demographic you’re aiming for, otherwise, it might be a case of the blind leading the blind.
The above tips have helped me out a lot when it comes to writing content for my clients. That doesn’t mean I’ve been absolutely flawless in my execution, but at the very least I can proudly state that I’m not completely clueless. Reading all of the articles before I post them helps me to get a better idea on what to say to lead into it, too, and I’ve been learning a lot about sports and men’s fashion as a result.
It might not be particularly useful in my life, but who knows? Being a Social Media Manager means you should never, ever stop learning. I think that’s what I like the best about my job.