“Hey buddy, wassup? What’s shakin’? Anything going on?”

“Hello, how are you?”

“Good evening, sir. And how are we tonight?”

All three of the above statements are essentially conveying the same message, right? However, what makes them vastly different is in the tone of it; when you’re writing on behalf of your business, even more so than when you’re speaking, tone is of the utmost importance. It affects everything you post to all your social media streams!

We’ve discussed some of the “rights” and “wrongs” (very loosely defined, of course) of social media posting on this blog before, but the issue of tonality is so subtle, it’s easy to overlook when you’re preparing to launch your social media streams or writing your social media policy.

In a nutshell, knowing how to convey tone in your online writing – any writing online, including blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, pins, etc. – is to know your business inside and out. After all, just as signing up and posting on your personal profiles lets your personality show through writing and content, when you post as a business, you’re giving it voice, life, and personality as well.

If your business were a person, what would it look like? A relaxed, Type B, peaceful, serene person? Or a prim, proper, sharp-tongued overachiever? There’s no right or wrong answer, and that one of the most fun parts when writing a social media policy for your company, or considering what you’d like to write for your Facebook page.

Many businessmen in suits

Is this the image that comes to mind when you think of your business?

To approach writing with the right tone in mind, you must first define who your company is. This is important, because that’s what it your company will be perceived as online: a person. The importance of the word “social” in “social media” cannot be understated; unlike more traditional media, there is an instantaneous conversational style that just simply cannot take place anywhere else. Normally, customers don’t “converse” with businesses, and definitely not like they do with their friends. But online, all those walls come down.

Defining your writing tone also prompts users on how to interact with you. It’s just like when you have a conversation in person; your body language and tone of voice helps to guide the person you’re speaking to in how to respond.

Consider Momma Cherri. Featured on an episode of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (the popular Gordon Ramsay show that highlight kitchens on the verge of shutdown), Momma Cherri instantly won over the notoriously aggressive chef with her fantastic cooking. The restaurant, unfortunately, has since shut down, but looking at Momma Cherri’s Facebook page her personality shines right through.

This is Momma Cherri on Ramsay’s television show. Doesn’t what you see and hear perfectly line up with her Facebook page and writing tone? This is how it should be!

Paint a mental picture of your business in your head, and consider this image every time you go to write on behalf of your company. You’ll find your authentic communication style, and your fans/followers will appreciate it!