The key to successfully marketing your business on Facebook is finding an authentic voice that connects with and engages your desired audience.
This article walks you through some exercises to help you find and use your voice. Whether your business is small or large, I help you turn it into something fans will clamor to engage with.
Finding Your Voice
When people read your Facebook posts, they are not able to see your body language, which accounts for a large part of human communication. All they can go on are the words you use. Words can be tricky, and can have a variety of meanings depending on how they are used and by whom they are used.
Consider the comment, “I would like to get down.”
By itself, this comment could mean many different things. It could mean a young child is standing on a ladder and wants to come down. It can mean a young woman wants to go out dancing with her friends. And it can mean an older man wants to lower his cholesterol.
The key here comes down to the person saying the words and in what tone. These physical attributes constitute the speaker’s voice, and it’s these attributes that you will visualize when you start communicating on Facebook.
Choosing a Celebrity Spokesperson
Think about a celebrity who represents the kind of energy and attitude that might translate well into a spokesperson for your business. Do you want your company to be as debonair as Sean Connery, as edgy and open as Betty White, or maybe as funny as Will Ferrell? Or perhaps you want to get a little nutty and go Charlie Sheen on your customers?
I am not talking about getting that exact celebrity to be your spokesperson – unless, of course, you can afford that in your budget. Instead, think about celebrities in terms of a persona that embodies your brand.
I choose celebrities because they are so universally known, but you can certainly choose someone else whose persona you want to mimic.
Choosing a Role Model
For some companies, it makes more sense to mirror the voice of a role model from business, religion, or politics rather than a celebrity. Do you look to great leaders in your industry or others? What is it about them that you admire and want to replicate? Is it merely what they have been able to accomplish financially, or is it deeper? Do they have faith like no other and high integrity?
These same attributes apply as much to an individual as they do to a business on Facebook trying to find its voice. Many businesses can find their role model in successful executives of other companies. Consider business leaders like Jack Welch of GE, Michael Dell of Dell Computers, and Bill Gates of Microsoft. These leaders have a lot of admirable characteristics, and they are also celebrities of a sort.
Speaking Like an Authority
By this point you should have a celebrity or leader in mind whose voice you want to imitateyou’re your Facebook Fan page. Are you ready to start speaking like an authoritative celebrity? You’re on your way to becoming a social media rock star.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- You are still your company, just presented with a unified voice.
- This voice shouldn’t be totally new to your customers. It should represent the way that you do business.
- The most successful celebrities and role models have a lot of energy, which is part of what makes them so attractive to others. Find a way to generate the same level of energy.
Your Social Media Team as One Voice
After you’ve decided on a celebrity or role model whose voice you want to imitate, you need to get your entire team on board.
If some people on your team use the voice and others don’t, the inconsistency weakens your brand. And a weak brand is one click away from invisible.
To use a persona effectively on Facebook, you need to get into character. Think of yourself as an actor. Your goal is to live and breathe as the character you picked as the celebrity or role model.
What does the process entail? Watch a video or read a speech by the person you want to model. Pay attention to her every move. Notice what sets her apart and makes her special. Is it her body language? Her demeanor? Her tone?
For example, suppose you own a business where customers come to your house and you teach them how to cook, and you decide to embody the image of Julia Child. You likely value French cooking, are passionate about food, are approachable, and are genuinely funny. Translate these attributes into what you believe Julia Child would say about your business if she were managing your social media marketing.
Here are some posts you might use to promote your business when you adopt the voice of Julia Child.
- I’ve been rooting around in my icebox, and look what I found. Want to know? Come to my house. What fun we’re going to have.
- It was a treat sharing my kitchen with my class last month. Come join me and we’ll make the most delicious pig’s and sheep’s guts into delicacies.
- Do you tickle your lobsters like babies? Bon appétit!
- We’re having a champagne and coffee party today in honor of the Queen of Sheba. Want to join us?
- Bonjour! Do you like French food? Tell me your favorite dish.
Acting Your Part
Getting into character before putting on a show is something that actors have been doing for years. I suggest you get into character before you write any content.
After you’re in character, begin writing. I suggest devoting a few mornings to generating ideas and drafting the copy. People tend to be much fresher and creative in the morning than they are in the afternoon.
Take a cue from professional writers. Simply sit down in a comfortable place where you will not be disturbed, and write. Don’t stop writing until your time is up. You might come up with a lot of information and ideas that you cannot and will not use, but you’ll certainly end up with some content on which to build.
Moving from Voice to Content
Generating posts and replying back to fans in your celebrity or role model voice should be a fun task. Make sure to also use your persona as a directional tool to keep focused. Be strategic when creating content, using your voice as a tool but not going overboard with it.
Let’s say you own a house painting company and decide that you want to use comedic actor Jack Black as your voice. Jack Black’s personality can be described as nothing less than hilarious but full of heart. In order to start creating content, start with his personality as it talks about your business. A simple post might be, “What’s black and white and red all over? If this describes your house, it’s time for an upgrade.”
Strategizing Your Posts
Your content shouldn’t be what you think it should be. It should always be what your target market wants.
Too often, businesses treat Facebook like they treat their websites. The website approach is to tell people all about your business and why they should buy your products or services. On Facebook, it’s okay to spend a little time doing this, but you should spend the majority of your time educating your fans with content that will benefit them.
If you own a landscape business, focus on offering tips on how to prepare the lawn for winter, how to get rid of grubs, and when to plant bulbs in your garden.
Dividing Your Content
Here’s a guide for how you might want to divide your content:
- Educating (70%)
- Selling (15%)
- Fun (15%)
It’s important to keep the selling and fun posts at just about equal amounts of content. This way your fans start to see the balance as equal and they always know that the bulk of what you offer is all about their needs, not yours.
Let’s say you own a health food store and your target market is people interested in living a healthy, active lifestyle. Here is a sampling of posts that achieve a good balance of being informative/educational more blatant sales calls, and just plain fun:
- Did you know that traditional methods of cooking vegetables cause them to lose up to 80 percent of their nutritional value?
- Healthy foods have a built-in reputation of being good for you but many have little or no taste. Spice is the answer.
- Cooking your food al dente retains the maximum number of nutrients and taste.
- The sweet potato makes a comeback as a popular food (and it’s healthy, too!).
- Would you like to learn secrets for selecting, storing, and preparing healthy food?
The Art of Facebook Posting
Now that your voice is defined, and you’ve been introduced to a lot of Facebook posts, it s time to use that voice to turn up the heat in your Facebook posts to engage with your users.
Suppose that you’re an online distributor of kitchen parts serving other businesses and you’ve chosen Will Ferrell as your celebrity voice. That means you need to get really punchy and funny while still getting a message across that will generate Likes and clicks to drive traffic to your Fan page.
Here are some ideas for using images and words:
We are using a dummy site “PartsToYouFast.com” for demo purpose.
Picture: An old oven next to a new-looking one.
Content: Both of these ovens are 3 years old. Want to know what the difference is? Go to PartsToYouFast.com.
Picture: A turtle with lettuce and tomato stuffed in the shell. Maybe a slice of cheese, too.
Content: In need of a new part for your broiler? Cheeseburgers cooking up too slow? Tommy the Turtle thinks so, too. Order from PartsToYouFast.com today.
Picture: An igniter for an oven.
Content: Time to rekindle that flame in your life? Learn about what prolongs igniters at the PartsToYouFast blog.
Picture: A piece of toast with clock parts on it.
Content: Need a part for your toaster oven and have no time to spare? Your order is always up at PartsToYouFast.com!
Picture: An oven that transforms into a robot with guns chasing people.
Content: Has your oven gone mad again? Don’t worry. Call PartsToYouFast.com today and we’ll get a replacement part out to you in no time.
Picture: An old advertisement for Spam.
Content: Have last-minute Company coming for the weekend? Not sure what to cook? Keep cool – we have the answer.
Picture: A hamster clinging to a rope or a trapeze bar, looking down (scared).
Content: Tired of being put on hold when ordering replacement parts for your appliances? Order from PartsToYouFast.com and we won’t leave you hanging.
Picture: A police vehicle with donuts for wheels.
Content: Today is June 3rd … National Donut Day. Go ahead. Take an extra coffee break and indulge.
Are you getting the hang of this yet?
Responding with a Smile
Being on the frontline of social media, you are the eyes, ears, and mouth of your business. One of the greatest skill sets you can develop is your customer service skill – giving your customers that little extra glimmer without seeming like a flirt.
Defining Your Business Brand
What defines your business brand today? You want to express your brand with positive words and messages, and by images and/or videos that convey the real nature of your purpose, value, and processes. While these are hard concepts to pin down, the first step in articulating your brand is to define the opposite attributes.
Here’s an exercise to try right now. Take out a sheet of paper and write out adjectives that might hurt or damage your brand image. For example, here are some negative attributes you might want to avoid:
Make sure that any messages you post on Facebook don’t inadvertently convey these negative attributes. Doing so can seriously damage your brand.
Now write down adjectives that describe your business in a positive manner. Do these terms describe your business?
The Least You Need to Know
- Choose a celebrity or role model personality to embody when writing content.
- Make sure all members of your social marketing team are trained in using the same, consistent voice. A hodge-podge of voices weakens your brand.
- Content should always be written based on the demands of the consumer, not necessarily what you think it should be.
- Your posts should contain about 15 percent humor and 15 percent selling. The rest should be valuable information for your target market.
- One of the greatest skill sets you can develop is your customer-service skills.
- Social media marketing has opened the gates to a more social world online. Consumers are able to reach businesses and have conversations with them 24/7 now in a form where everyone can see the conversation.
- Don’t get cocky. Too many times, we see businesses that take on the authority figure and get overzealous and boastful online. It’s easy to do when there is excitement in the air. Don’t tell people that you are the best and trash the competition. You can be proud without talking negatively about others.
- There is nothing worse in business than lying to your customers. It will bite you back hard if you get caught. Don’t do it. Start from the top of the organization and institute a mission statement that focuses on ethics.
- Be careful not to offend people with your replies to their posts.
- An authority in business is rarely given that title. They generally just take it. It’s kind of like power. Make yourself the authority of your niche. Use Facebook to do it. So what does it mean to be an authority? It means all eyes and minds turn to you when you speak, post, and when others repost your information. Your word is law and people want to know all about anything you post.
- Put together a small manual and training program for your staff that clearly explains how to communicate the voice of social media. It will make the transition with newer employees easier for you in the future. In addition, keep track of all the messages, posts, and ads that you write for Facebook. These can serve as examples of your brand, which you can build on.
- Identifying and clearly communicating your brand to your staff is just as important as it is to the outside world. Your staff needs to have a firm grasp of your brand in order to generate marketing materials that fit with the image you want to instill in the minds of your customers.