Audience and Tone: Two Important Steps Not to Skip

Social media is all the rage, and for good reason, but there are a few things that you should remember in your strategy that can be easily forgotten. Social media is just another communications channel, and should be treated as such.

Audience

In every post, tweet, message, press release, whatever piece of communication it is, you should always think about who your audience is. I know, you’re saying this is communications 101, but it can be easy to forget to actively think about this important step. And when I say every tweet, I honestly mean it. It might seem a little overkill, but what is the point of sending out messages if they aren’t going to reach their targets in a way that makes sense to them?

Tips to Achieve

  • Make a note to ask yourself who your intended audience is. For instance, keep a content plan for your social media content? Make a column or a place to write down who your target is. Then you won’t forget to consider what things will resonate best.
  • Know your audiences in general. Writing posts and tweets to communicate with these audiences is easier if you pay attention to what those audiences engage with. Brands can find themselves with many different audiences, for instance, for universities you can have students, prospective students, alumni, faculty, staff and even parents. Obviously you can’t reach all audiences with each post, but if you have 2 out of 6 audiences in mind with one post and know they will react, then you can focus on the others with other posts. This is where knowing what your audiences enjoy and expect comes in handy.

Tone

Another thing I’ve seen passed over recently is presenting an appropriate tone for your brand. A surf shop can do the whole “What’s up, dude,” vibe, but you probably wouldn’t like to hear a similar tone from your bank. Without the correct tone, your message isn’t achieving your intended message.

Tips to Achieve

  • Your tone should align with your brand’s mission, vision and goals. If it doesn’t, then your message is not having the impact and impression it should. At Texas Tech, we are a national research university, and while we have some leeway with messaging, I really focus on making sure our tone represents this fact.
  • Your tone should assure your audience, it shouldn’t sound over the top, unless your brand is known for these things. I suggest writing down words that come to mind when you think about your brand, this will help you decide what an appropriate tone is, or even better, also ask someone who doesn’t work in communications for the brand, you’ll get an honest answer. Then compare the two lists of words and phrases.

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