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.

Facebook Timeline for Brands: What it Means for Higher Ed

As most people know, Facebook Timeline for Brands was released to page admins yesterday. If you’re like me, you’ve been planning and scheming based on the rumors of what Timeline could have possibly looked like. Picking out cover images, thinking about how the changes will effect your content strategy, how will you decide what to pin to the top of your timeline and what to highlight, in addition to keeping all the new terms straight in your head! But now it’s here!

So, how do all these upgrades change the game?

The Look

The first noticeable change is of course the general look of the page. You have more real estate! This is a definite win. With the cover images, you can prominently display the beauty of your campus, or create a graphic that plays directly into a campaign you are running. There are almost endless possibilities. The only limitation, is that your cover image can’t be a majority of text. Facebook doesn’t want you dipping into their advertising revenues. However, as someone who doesn’t have a social media advertising budget because of the type of funding that my office receives, this is a huge improvement.

I would argue that this is even better than having a landing page, although I know many will disagree. Only people who haven’t liked your page automatically see your landing page, but once you have a committed user, they see your wall upon visiting your page. The cover image is always the first thing any one will see, no matter what their like status is.

Messages

When I first saw the messages button on my page, I was ecstatic! Did Facebook read my mind and find one of my biggest wants for a brand page? No, in fact, they didn’t. Profile users can now message page admins, and they can respond back, however, pages can not initiate the conversation. The reasoning being that spam in user’s inboxes would be out of control. I agree with this reason, however, can’t just the good admins who understand spamming is bad have the ability to reach out?

I know, I kind of seem obsessed with this, but I have good reason. On the Texas Tech page, we do not allow profanity (as most admins don’t), and if we remove a comment because of a curse word or two, I message them and ask them to repost without the curse words. That sounds fantastic, and most of the time, it works out fine. But sometimes, people are very angry, and I don’t always want my full name and everything about myself attached to the message I am sending. That is where being able to send messages as the page would be a huge improvement. Alas, it has not been added, so I will continue on.

Highlighting and Pinning Posts

These might be the two things I am the most excited about! Who doesn’t want to give their content more staying power? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. Some things you post are more evergreen, or are more important than others, that’s just fact. Now page admins have the ability to make those things that are more important than others look more important, and stick around longer. Can’t get much better than that! I think this is even more important when you factor in how often higher ed pages can post and get the engagement they are looking for. (By the way: If you haven’t checked out these two articles by Blue Fuego, How much is too much on Facebook? and 2011 State of Higher Ed Facebook Pages you’re missing out on some good research!)

Resources

Here are also some good resources on Timeline for Brands that might help you get up and running!