What is the right voice and tone for your social media?Aug 09, 2023
Social media is a useful tool in many ways. When I started using it in its earliest days, my primary goal was to stay connected with friends and family that I didn’t see very often. At times, I would also use it to share about projects I was working on, but for the most part, I kept the content light and relational.
Not long after, I started noticing two trends with social media, both of which irritated me (and still do). People started posting duck-faced selfies every day (who wants to see that?), and others started posting constant political content. There are still people who use their social media that way, and what kind of response do they tend to get? Nothing. They’re usually muted or unfriended which means no one really sees what they post.
But what if you want to communicate things you’re passionate about on social media? Should you avoid sharing your passions just because your opinions might irritate others? Not at all. Let me share an approach that I enjoy taking that seems to be effective.
I view social media as a dinner party that everyone is invited to. If I post something, I consider it an invitation to interact. I love interacting with people in the comments. I love joking about light-hearted things and talking about important subjects with a respectful tone. I don’t like arguing or pointless negativity, so I typically don’t interact with people who behave that way. Ironically, I’m connected with a few people who only ever seem to interact with what I post if they have something negative to say about it. I may need to do a connection purge sometime soon to see if I can clean that up a little.
But generally speaking, I like to use my social media to do several things including;
1. Encouraging and edifying the reader
2. Building relationships
4. Sharing my faith and core beliefs in a respectful manner
5. Letting people know what’s new with my family
6. Offering some form of helpful information
7. Lifting someone else up or highlighting the work they’re doing
I don’t like when I see people using their social media to;
1. Complain or criticize
2. Rant about politics
3. Post the same thing nearly every day
4. Draw unhealthy forms of attention toward themself
5. Sell things
6. Share content that’s profane or inappropriate
It’s perfectly fine if you disagree with my list of do’s and don’ts. I’m just expressing my preferences here, although I’m convinced I’m not the only one who feels this way. But how does this relate to you if you’re trying to build an online platform? What role should social media play in your online presence?
I think social media can give your content a nice boost and can help build awareness of what you’re doing, but there should always be something more permanent that your social media is pointing people toward. Social media platforms are rented spaces that you don’t own. Don’t make them foundational when it comes to what you’re building. Treat them as beneficial options, but not the end in and of themselves.
I know people who spend more time on their social media than they do on their own platforms or websites. Instead of creating blog posts, courses, and videos they can package into training products, they spend all their time crafting social media content that never fully connects to their deeper-level content or products and services they offer for sale. In instances like that, I think social media is serving as a distraction, not a benefit.
So what’s the balance? If I personally had something to promote, how would I spread the word?
Here’s what I would do…
1. I would share about it via my podcasts.
2. I would share about it via my blog (where it will then get permanently indexed in search engines).
3. I would share free content related to whatever I’m promoting via my social channels.
4. I would make myself available as a guest on various podcasts.
5. I would create a brief video for YouTube that helps solve a related problem, then link to my solution in the video description.
6. I would send a message to my email list that included a coupon or an incentive to utilize my new product or service.
This, in my opinion, is a more balanced (and effective) approach than relying on social media alone. It also helps me keep the tone of my social media more on the relational side of things instead of being overly promotional (which can turn people away).
That being said, I attribute much of the success of what I’m doing in the online space with podcasts, books, speaking, coaching, etc., to the help of friends who heard about what I was doing through my social media. But I think they were more willing to help get the word out because my promotional posts are a small minority of what I’m typically posting.
One major example that stands out to me is podcasting. When I started creating podcasts, many people were unfamiliar with them. When I explained via social media what they were and how to listen to them, many of my friends began listening to my shows and sharing links to my shows with others. They were happy to promote what I was doing because I wasn’t trying to sell them something. Now, years after I started my shows, the downloads number in the millions. I’m convinced that the friends I stayed connected with via social media helped get that train going.
So, as I’m sharing this, I want to reiterate that this is just one man’s perspective. Your approach to social media might be completely different from mine, and that’s OK. I just want to be honest about my opinions and what’s actually been effective in my journey of platform development.
I’d love to hear what’s working for you as well.
© John Stange, 2023
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