Adams & Knight Marketing Blog
POSTED BY: Pat Dugan

5 tips for finding your voice in the social scene


Why do some companies flourish in social media while others are quickly consigned to the “hidden” category, or outright unliked? Often, it has a lot to do with their online voice — not just what they post, but the personality behind it. When writing posts, think of social media as a big, online cocktail party — and adjust your behavior accordingly, following these guidelines:

1. Never forget you’re an invited guest. 

Yes, it’s your Facebook or Twitter page. But you’ve been let into others’ social media streams — it’s a privilege to be among their family and friends. You’d never barge onto someone else’s patio and try to instantly dominate the conversation — so don’t wear out your welcome with post after post bragging about your company. Limit yourself to once a day or a few times a week at most. And also…

2. Engage and entertain.

You know the ones at the party. It’s all about them — how well their kids are doing, where they’re going on vacation, the home improvements they’re making, and before you know it, your eyes have glazed over and you’re mumbling something about finding the bathroom. Don’t just talk about me, me, me — draw your audience in by relating to their needs, asking relevant questions and starting discussions they can participate in. Talk with them, not at them. Which brings me to…

3. Write like you’re standing around having a conversation.

Remember, social media is a free-flowing, casual chat, not a speech at a podium. When you’re typing that tweet or Facebook post, picture yourself at a backyard barbecue, eating off a paper plate and telling an amusing story. Keep it short and sweet. Start sentences with “and.” Use contractions. Write like you talk — it’ll feel less stiff and make your company’s voice seem like it’s coming from a real person, not a PR department. Of course, it also helps if you…

4. Have something to say.

Don’t be one of those companies who only uses social media as a megaphone to announce their latest sale, or regurgitate news that has already appeared elsewhere. That approach gets stale fast. Instead, be timely and relevant — try to find a way to connect what you do to what everyone’s talking about around the Keurig machine. If that doesn’t work, Google News can be your best friend — find and share links to news that could impact your audience. And give it your company’s own unique spin, which means remembering to…

5. Be yourself — or rather, your brand.

Your social media voice can be more casual and conversational, but it should feel like it’s coming from the same place as everything else. If your website, online ads and print campaign have an intellectual, sophisticated voice, make sure your social media posts sync up with the same tone — everything should seem like the same person’s writing it. Don’t be that guest at the party who’s one person at the office and someone nobody recognizes after hours.

These are just a few things to keep in mind if you’re trying to establish or grow your company’s social media presence. With all the competition in news feeds from entertainers, sports stars and childhood best friends, it can be challenging to be the center of attention at the “online cocktail party.” But if you find the right voice and the right ways to add it to the conversation, you’ll be a welcome guest anytime.

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Pat Dugan
Executive Creative Director
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