GOOD TONE: How talking human can put a human face on your organisation


I’m a slightly ambivalent about Twitter takeovers these days.

I’m proud to have been involved in one of the first in the public sector nine years ago but where once they boldly charted new territory they now often feel like tired box-ticking.

I did quite like content posted from lead nurse for recruitment Vicky Jobson on the corporate account of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.

The purpose of a takeover is to be human

Some critics of Twitter takeovers complain that there isn’t a call to action to go with them so why bother doing them?

I both get that but disagree. Yes, comms will be judged on what people have done as a result of all that comms activity. How many sign-ups to that thing is critical, for example. But to judge social media activity solely on the bottom line fundamentally misjudges how best to use social media.

I’ve blogged many times before on the need for an 80-20 split between your content with the majority being human over corporate content. It’s the recipe that just seems to work.

So some of the content that shows real people at work really hits the mark.

Consciously or not using a human tone for eight pieces of content will make it easier to land those prompts to become a nurse with the other two. Would 10 posts that start with ‘work for us’ land better? Not on social media, they wouldn’t.

Conversations should sound human

I’m reminded of lines from the Cluetrain Manifesto. This amazing document from 1999 was the result of crowd-sourced discussions between early internet pioneers which sets out what the internet could look like. It described social media before it properly happened.

Included in the manifesto are…

  • Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
  • Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
  • We know some people from your company. They’re pretty cool online. Do you have any more like that you’re hiding? Can they come out and play?

Essentially, takeovers are reminders that humans work here.

But I genuinely think that these human voices should be the default setting rather than a special occasion.

Sure, you have to break bad news from time-to-time and you need to handle that.

But wouldn’t that formal tone be better coming from an organisation that has already long won people over by being human?

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