How do you build better social media relationships? Keep it real. Or in different terms, remember to always remain human. Create content in the way in which you would say it to a friend or colleague. Find a tone that fits your brand, but also fits your audience.
Many brands struggle with this because they don’t want to be seen as unprofessional, but being conversational doesn’t equate to unprofessional. Brands need to relate to their audience. So, the first step is knowing your audience. Are you listening to them? Do you know what content they are sharing? Do you know how to respond to their questions or concerns? You need to be able to say “yes” to these questions in order to create content followers will find valuable and engaging.
At my organization, Carilion Clinic, finding a brand voice on social media has been a journey. As a healthcare organization, like many in the U.S., our overall focus has shifted away from promoting clinical services and physicians to being seen as a resource for health and wellness information. Due to healthcare reform, we are in a place where we want to keep people healthy and out of the hospital, by helping them manage chronic health conditions. If these types of conditions (diabetes, heart failure, COPD) are not addressed early on, they will end up costing us more down the road and lessen a patient’s quality of life. Both of those things are not what we want. This shift to a health and wellness focus has actually helped us find a brand voice on social media.
Beyond Facebook and Twitter, social platforms like Pinterest have enabled us to better create content our audience (significantly female) will want to use and share. We’ve created boards for Healthy Foods, Child Safety, Adolescent & Student Health, among others. This type of content isn’t just about promoting our services or providers, although they are sometimes highlighted, it’s more about raising awareness of health conditions, consumer recalls, safety tips, easy recipes, etc. — all things a female audience may relate to.
On Facebook and Twitter, health and wellness tips (posts and videos), links, and infographics far outperform our posts highlighting new physicians or community events. Due to this, we have decreased those promotional posts and increased health information content. I think developing our brand voice over the last few months has been easier for our social media team because our organization’s overall brand voice is clearer.
Companies that have a clear vision/mission will make it easier for that voice to coincide with social media strategy, which ultimately builds relationships and trust amongst followers. If you “keep it real” on social media, followers will see your brand as a real person and want to connect with you. Keep it social. Keep it real.