• Carla de Klerk

Socially Speaking: The unique voice of social media

One of the great pros of having grown up as the internet has just become a household tool and social media developing from dorm-rooms is that you can actually sit back and see just how platforms have morphed and shaped to what they are today.

Facebook isn't the hip platform to chat with your friends, generally you chat with your grandma or aunt overseas, Twitter has shifted from the place where you tell everyone you're busy drinking coffee to meme-central and a news station of sorts. Instagram, the great food-snapping channel has become, well, still a place to take pictures of your food but by and large a mini blog of sorts. And that's just the big triumvirate, I'm not even talking about the cool up-and-comings.

In my spare time I like to help friends build their social media profiles to reflect as their personal brands. In some cases I have even taken over their accounts entirely, posting and managing these platforms on their behalf. What can I say, I enjoy shaping the digital appearance of people, although my own channels are terribly bare!

I often emphasise the importance of tone of voice and that concept can't be more important when talking cross-channel communication. Yes, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are social media channels, essentially cut from the same cloth – except that they're really not. Each channel has a very specific reason people use it, and have a very specific structure for people to use it. Although some element like "live stories" have been adopted on many a channel, you are still talking to very specific audiences on each channel, therefore requiring to speak in a very specific voice on each channel.

Facebook, for example, is familial. You're connected with friends, families and colleagues. Generally Facebook is where you find life-updates, stories and photos in that you update people on your goings, and mostly these are people who are invested in your life. It's most likely for this reason that Facebook is slowly dying among the youth. Remember way back when family newsletters were a thing? Yup, basically the same.

Twitter, my personal favourite channel, is more than anything a news hub. Fast news, relevant stories, as they happen. Twitter has also grown to be the most humorous of channels. Seeing news unfold as they happen and telling stories in fast-paced phrases have also led to quick opinions and quick reactions.

Instagram I consider to be the least "real" of the triumvirate. Instagram isn't where you show your opinions or update people on your life, you show who you aspire to be. Yes, you may be sharing a photo from the beach on your last holiday, but it's generally heavily edited and positioned to fit a narrative of your glamorous life or soul-enriching adventures – whereas your aunt or granny just want to see thousands of smiling photos of you, plus a context of where you have been.

In essence all social media started with the same goal, to get people to interact with one another, but that doesn't mean they warrant the same type of interaction. Just compare that beach photo from Instagram to what you would post on LinkedIn. Yes, LinkedIn and Instagram are at the opposite ends of the spectrum but the analogy rings true to all social media channels – speak to your audience in the right tone of the channel and never-ever (please dear lord never) autopost from one channel to the other!

 

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