Establish Your Voice

Establish Your Voice

When many people ask how to “use” social media, what they often mean is how they should sound, or what style of writing to use. While there is never any one, universal answer to this question, here are some tips to get you started:

  • When in doubt, be yourself. In most instances, informal language will be the most effective method of communication. Your target audience will be more likely to interact with your content if it is presented with a casual, personable voice.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. Share media such as photos, videos, audio, or even existing relevant articles. The best way to express your thoughts or opinions may involve few words.
  • Be helpful. In many cases, social media communicators are the new customer service representatives. If you can’t answer a question, apologize and refer the user to someone who can.
  • If appropriate, carry out live discussions. Social media is best used in real time.
  • Try to be consistently responsive. Direct replies and comments should be met with some form of response or acknowledgement, even if it’s just to say thanks for their ideas. Every bit of feedback is a measure of success for your social media campaign.
  • Your social media voice should exemplify a consistent, discernable personality. While this may be as simple as a change in syntax or as complex as evoking a particular attitude, the essential goal is to create a sort of character that users feel comfortable responding to.
  • Write deliberately and accurately. Just like in the real world, saying what you mean and meaning what you say communicates authenticity. Step one is to get people to listen to you; step two is to ensure that they trust your expertise.
  • Respect copyright laws. Always give credit and link to your sources.
  • Refrain from broadcasting private issues and topics.
  • Accept failures graciously. Acknowledging and correcting mistakes promptly will help maintain your rapport with your readers and, in some cases, even strengthen it.
  • Remember that you are speaking to a group, not just a collection of individuals. Adopt a more communal voice that sounds reasonable to the diverse backgrounds that compose that group.
  • Have a sense of humor. Readers skim online, and they’re much more likely to click on or share something that’s amusing.

Connect and collaborate with communicators across the University.

Join the Campus Communicators to share updates and announcements with University colleagues via listhost, Facebook, and at workshops and biannual gatherings.

Find an array of UChicago new media sites, as well as contact information for their owners, in the Social Media Directory.

Create targeted communications campaigns and digital platforms.

Work with UChicago Creative’s team of designers, writers, and producers to develop compelling materials and comprehensive multimedia campaigns.

Enlist University experts to build, design, and support your web applications by partnering with Web Services.

Discover resources to enhance your communications platforms and outreach.

Follow social media and multimedia from across the University at UChicago Social.

Collect and disseminate our latest stories with print-on-demand news.

Capture the images and ideas of the University community.

Enlist UChicago Creative to produce expert videography.

Book the TV studio for broadcast interviews.

Book the sound booth for remote radio interviews.

Align the look and language of your communications with those of the University.

Find best practices for the use of our logo, typeface, color palette, and editorial style within our visual identity.

Build and refine social media sites using our social media guide, and find web writing tips in Web Services’ multimedia content guidelines.

Order print materials created for your audience and customized for your office.

Present a uniform look with University of Chicago business cards and stationery for your department, office, or position.

Purchase maps, calendars, and brochures to welcome your guests and visitors to the University.