Motivating employees to use social media to make a difference for your company is no small feat. Getting people to create blogs and tweets, as well as update LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, requires a steady internal campaign. But doing so could result in a standout social media presence for your firm.

An effective social media strategy engages with customers by giving a personality to your brand.

And simply gaining a desired level of employee output does not constitute a complete social media strategy, either. Think about it: You don't let other marketing initiatives, nor other areas of the company, operate without planning and rehearsal. Social media content production should be no different. Training and guidance is necessary to bring about maximum effectiveness, which comes only when a firm's social media content has a distinct and consistent brand voice.

Steps to Establishing the Right Voice

Your company has probably taken pains to develop a focused brand identity over time. Fortunately, that makes creating the right voice on social media easier. To develop this form of communication in a way that strengthens the brand, consider these questions:

  1. What do your company and its products stand for?
  2. What are your firm's sales and service philosophies?
  3. How do your customer-facing employees interact with clients and prospects?
  4. What exactly do your customers get from your company?

Infuse your brand voice with the key tenets and concepts that answer these questions. After all, social media content is simply another product your firm provides, and it must be delivered in a way that customers and prospects expect from you. These days, it's a tangible part of your company's brand promise.

Keeping Your Voice Consistent

For those employees entrusted with posting company-related social media content, training must reinforce the brand's key deliverables along with the personality and style in which they are to be delivered. For instance, if your brand is considered a longtime authority in the marketplace, then a technical or professorial tone to social media posts could be ideal. If the brand is known as high-energy and fun, then the company's social media strategy should be to consistently echo those sentiments. One of the more difficult aspects of training is getting employees to submerge their individual personalities to create content in the brand's tone, but without stifling their creativity and enthusiasm.

Another central factor in developing a consistent brand voice is incorporating key company terms, phrases and concepts into official social media content. Whichever language is used in prospect marketing, during customer engagement and inside the firm that reinforces its culture should have the highest priority. What's more, because social media's goal is often to start conversations that remain active for as long as possible, companies should regularly engage their audiences for feedback on the company in general, and its social media content in particular. For instance, ask where the company's products and customer service stand out or lag behind. This engagement often reveals areas where the firm can use its distinctive brand voice to clarify or reintroduce elements of its products and services. Next, does the quality of the company's social media content match its overall brand reputation? Having real-time feedback on how your content is received helps the company focus on the words, phrases and ideas that connect customers' needs and desires with your business's strongest attributes.

Interestingly, a recent post on SocialMediaToday advises companies to "allow your customers and readers to influence your [firm's] personality and how you engage with them." In other words, never ignore commentary. Instead, use your brand voice to acknowledge it and explain how it will help your company better match the needs of its social media followers, as well as deliver more strongly on its brand promise. The result will be social media content that has people spending more time engaged with your brand and pushing your content out to their own social networks.

Does your business have a following on social media? What kinds of posts do your customers most frequently share? Tell us by commenting below.

Rob Carey is an NCMM contributor and a features writer who has focused on the business-to-business niche since 1992. He spent his first 15 years at Nielsen Business Media, rising from editorial intern to editorial director. Since then, he has been the principal of New York-based Meetings & Hospitality Insight, working with large hospitality brands in addition to various media outlets.