There is only one you.
But there are almost an infinite number of channels available to communicate and share parts of you. LinkedIn for the professional you, Twitter for the on-the-go plugged-in you, Facebook for the social you. Together they paint a picture of you. One you.
Establishing and maintaining an authentic voice across multiple channels which all serve a different purpose is not always easy. In a reality where we are all our own marketing agency, and personal brand is increasingly a “thing,” finding our unique and authentic voice is more important than ever.
There is no secret formula, but a few tips can help guide us on this path.
Who are you?
Easy right? Maybe not. There is a reason that every successful company, NGO and, increasingly, individual invests in creating and living a brand. A strong brand enables people to connect with us, it is a powerful communicator, it helps us achieve what we want in life.
Before we focus on what goes out, we need to look at what’s inside. Taking the time to understand ourselves and what we stand for is an investment that will deliver great returns.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde
What are you passionate about? What do you believe it? What are your values? What stands you apart from others?
What does your unique voice sound like?
Remember that old adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all?” Well, perhaps today’s version of that should be “if you don’t have anything new to say, then don’t say anything at all.”
Re-posting or re-tweeting is literally as easy as the click of a button. It’s also a wonderful way to share other people’s ideas, knowledge and opinions. The ease with which information can be shared provides us a richness of content never seen before and we can benefit enormously from this.
But what of our own ideas, knowledge and opinions are we sharing. What are we saying that is new?
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something,” Plato
By asking ourselves before tweeting, posting or updating ‘am I saying something new?’ or ‘am I saying something in a new way?’ we can make sure that we are adding our own ideas, knowledge and opinions. Sitting in silence for a moment until there is something ‘new’ to say is not a moment wasted.
Know thyself, know thy audience, know thy channel
The Ancient Greeks said some wise things in their time. One of them being ‘gnothi seauton’ or ‘know thyself.’
Once we get to know ourselves we need to get deeply acquainted with our audiences, and the channels we can use to reach them. Effective communication is more than just sharing ideas and opinions, it’s about sharing these things in a way that resonates and connects with those people we want to reach, those all important target audiences.
The marketing corners of the internet are filled with excellent advice on understanding audiences. Most of what can be said on the subject, already has and so we have a treasure trove of information freely available at our fingertips.
Part of understanding our audiences is knowing which channels will help us reach them. Are they habitual Twitter users, crazy for Instagram or relentlessly in search of the next ‘big thing?’ Whichever it is, we need to know. And we need to know how these channels work; the language used, the etiquette, the norms. A simple internet search will return enough online tutorials and guides to keep you entertained for months. But the very best way to familiarise ourselves with these channels is to begin.
Know yourself, know your audience and learn the channel. Learning by doing is often the best way, and the most fun!