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Does Your Brand Have a Voice in Social Media? 5 Keys to Online Success

For most savvy marketers, social media has grown from a curiosity to a vital component of their online strategy. According to a survey conducted by Regus, nearly 50% of U.S. based businesses use some form of social media to connect with existing and potential customers. But is having a mere presence on social media the same as having a voice?

The simple answer is “No!”

Having a presence is like sitting in the corner at a cocktail party and observing the crowd. Sure, you can say you were there, but you will have had little to no impact on the conversation. And it’s not just a matter of Tweeting out volumes of words either. Your brand message must communicate authentically and consistently to be effective, to warrant a share of the discussion, to make a lasting impression. To ensure your online success, it’s important to follow these common sense guidelines.

1. Determine your objectives

Before engaging in social media, first determine your goals. Are you trying to inform? Inspire? Educate others about your industry? Announce job openings? Blast a sales special? All of the above? It’s important to think before you speak, to develop an overarching goal that you want your social media to serve. In most cases, using it as a sales tool to announce discounts will do little or nothing to advance your company’s brand image, and even less to endear yourself in the eyes of potential customers. So think about your motivation for being online, and stay true to that goal.

2. Establish your voice

Once you know your mission, determine the tenor of your conversation. Is it fun and lighthearted? Or is it insightful and revealing? Just like people, companies have personalities. And unless you want to be viewed as a corporate Sybil, it’s best to speak with one voice. Don’t post a link to an industry specific article, a hilarious YouTube video and then post a Gandhi quote. You will simply appear reactive and incoherent. If you want to use humor, and it fits your brand image, then by all means do so. But remember, your brand is most credible when its congruent with its core message.

3. Communicate regularly

This is one of the most difficult objectives and also one of the most important. Nothing speaks louder than silence. If you commit to having an ongoing conversation with your customers, you need to be there when they speak with you. Thankfully there are a number of tools available for planning, scheduling and monitoring your social media, services such as HootSuite. But don’t just put your social media on cruise control either. It’s vital to keep an open ear to hear what others are saying about your company. So while it’s great to plan out your updates, but sure to monitor mentions and respond in a timely fashion.