“Sound Like a Human” and Other Sage Advice on Mastering Your Brand Voice

For startups, developing a brand identity across digital and social media channels is a crucial part of gaining traction and reaching your core audience. Far too often, founders have basic questions. How often should I post? Which social channels are best for my business? How can I promote organic engagement with my content?

Kelly Moffitt dropped by LIFT Labs PHL to offer some answers. Moffitt is a passionate storyteller who is currently a producer at StoryCorps. She travels the country recording stories from everyday Americans and edits them for broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition. In her talk at LIFT Labs(presented in conjunction with the Made in NY Media Center by IFP), Moffitt offered easy ways startups can tell better stories across the web.

  1. Ask not what your audience can do for you, but what you can do for your audience.

    The most authentic and effective social media personalities make sure they’re adding value rather than continually asking their audience to click this or buy that. “On social media and across the web, people are quick to sniff out when people are making asks of them and giving nothing in return,” said Moffitt. “It’s just like a friend that asks you for a ride home but never gives you a ride. It gets really annoying after a while.”

  2. Sound like a human.

    Nobody scrolls through social media to have a robotic brand spew commercial in their face. They want to be inspired and communicate with like-minded people. So, make sure to communicate on social media the same way you speak in real life. If your brand is light-hearted, be light-hearted online. If your brand is more serious, make sure that comes through in your copy. “Do you actually say y’all in real life? I do so I get to use it on social media,” said Moffitt. She offered a few tactics to humanize your brand:

    • Allocate hours to engaging with people commenting on your posts.
    • Offer mutual learning and dialogue opportunities.
    • Don’t ignore people who have a complaint about your product.
  3. Spend time to make your visuals shine.

    Imagery is king on social media and can be the difference between your content getting noticed or being ignored. Moffitt offered these sobering statistics:

    • The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.
    • People retain 10% to 20% of the information they read about, but once that’s paired with a visual, retention increases to 65%.

    Hire a professional photographer, take a photography class or invest in that fancy new camera. “We live in a world of very little attention spans so being able to get your point across with a visual will help you,” said Moffitt.

  4. Post often but be responsible.

    In general, the more you post the better chance you have to get in front of your audience. But, use your head and know when it’s overkill. Also, don’t stretch yourself thin thinking you have to post on every social platform every day. “It’s better to be one place than in 10 places and failing. Do it in one place, do it really well, and develop a community there.”

  5. Evaluate your creation/distribution ratio.

    You should be spending the same amount of time on distributing content as you do creating it. That’s the formula that’s made Buzzfeed so successful, said Moffitt. “If it took an hour to write a post, they spend an hour looking for channels, rewording things and trying to get that content into different people’s hands,” said Moffitt. “We tend to think if we make wonderful content people will come, but no, you have to spend the same amount of time getting that content to where people are.”