At the beginning of the semester I started working with one of Boston University’s online magazines by managing its social media presence. As I began tweeting and posting to both Facebook and Instagram on behalf of the magazine, I realized that one of the most difficult parts of the job for me was to maintain a balance between professional and casual content. With social media emerging, linguistic expectations have really changed. Hash-tags and abbreviations are commonplace, while grammar and spelling seem be compromised at times. It might be okay for me to craft a post that doesn’t include a single capital letter, but the standard of writing in a professional setting must obviously be much higher in order to succeed. The key to keeping the balance isn’t all that difficult, though. Nobody wants to read tweets that sound like they’re being written by an automated robot. They want to feel a genuine connection to the brand.
Here are a few things to remember when you’re posting as a brand representative:
1. Spelling and grammar always count
If you’re tweeting from a brand’s account, you’re representing much more than yourself. Disregarding spelling or grammar will reflect poorly on the entire brand, undermining its professionalism.
2. Choose your words carefully
This isn’t the time to expose your sailor-mouth and to start using profanity everywhere. Common slang terms and hash-tags are usually fine, as long as they aren’t offensive or profane.
Nobody likes talking to a robot. Your audience wants to feel a connection with the brand. This is probably the hardest component of managing a brand’s social media presence because sometimes it’s hard to know how get personal without getting too personal. I’d suggest writing posts as if you’re talking to an adult relative or to an acquaintance. The writing should be polite while still conversational.
As social media’s role in our lives continues to become more influential, it will be interesting to see how our language and standards change. As a current undergraduate, I do like being able to see the personalities of my favorite brands, feeling like I’m more connected when I follow them on social media sites. One last thing I was reminded of during a presentation in our PRSSA weekly meeting was that it’s important to show yourself in the best light possible even when you’re posting as yourself. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are so commonly used now that they’re easily accessible to employers and future clients. When you’re applying for a selective job or internship, you don’t want an easily accessible twitter account full of profanities and inappropriate content to slow you down. You want to succeed, so remember how to balance and make the most of it.