Can Non-Profits Develop A Voice For Facebook & Twitter?

I had a great conversation last night with my friend Adam Jeske. We were wondering how a non-profit organization achieves the right voice for its social media presence.

Before we get to the meat of the conversation, let’s define what we’re talking about. “Voice” is the unique impression that your words make on the reader. It’s the way that you “speak” in writing. You might have a formal voice, or informal, or folksy, or elitist, or compassionate, distant, humorous, sombre, thoughtful, angry, or you might even have a silent voice.

One non-profit organization posts occasional knock-knock jokes on its Facebook page while another posts daily, un-captioned pictures of homeless people in its city. Each organization has chosen the voice (or lack thereof) that will most engage its participants.

Here are some random takeaways from that conversation:

  • The voice an organization uses on its Facebook and Twitter pages can shape the perceived “personality” of the organization.
  • If voice isn’t intentionally and carefully developed, the wrong voice could emerge.
  • Voice can be used to create an interesting cognitive dissonance. For example, an organization that deals with tragedy might want to create the occasional lighthearted tweet or Facebook post.
  • Voice can be individual or corporate. For example, an organization could post as “The Org” or as individuals within that org. The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society blog is a good example. They don’t post as PCMS, but as individuals within PCMS, which creates a certain personality and approachability.
  • Authenticity is the key to developing the right voice. If you try too hard to copy or create a false persona, people will stay away in droves.

Have you seen organizations that “get” this concept, and have created an interesting or well-crafted voice?

One Response to Can Non-Profits Develop A Voice For Facebook & Twitter?

  1. Good chatting with you last night, Drew. @Rebecca4IVP does a good job for InterVarsity Press at personal voicing for a corporate purpose, too.

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