Social media is one of the most popular and important ways we talk to our audiences. Whether we are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another channel, our voice should always be approachable, conversational, and confident.
We use a different tone of voice when we're talking to our boss than we do with our best friend. On social media, we need to identify our audience and communicate with them in the appropriate tone.
Our tone changes depending on the channel. For example, on LinkedIn we use slightly more formal language to align with the professional nature of that platform. On the other hand, on Instagram it’s appropriate to use a less formal tone and include emojis.
(For more information about social media platforms and the audiences they serve, visit our social media guidelines)
Whatever platform you're using, follow these tips to meet University voice and tone guidelines.
Informative, not overwhelming
An informative tone helps your followers quickly digest the information you're communicating. An overwhelming tone can confuse your audience and make them scroll right by your content.
Concise, not wordy
The fewer words you can use to get your point across, the more confident you will sound in your writing. Avoid elaborate words when there is a simpler alternative.
Aim for shorter, catchier posts. Your post should accentuate the content you are sharing, not replace it. In most cases, if your post is longer than a couple of sentences or triggers a “read more” prompt, revise it.
Professional, not stuffy
Using jargon and writing in an academic tone or in an overly professional manner makes it harder to connect with your followers.
Confident, not arrogant
Let the facts speak for themselves. Don’t oversell or sound boastful when promoting the University.
Tips for Sounding Confident
Writing in a confident tone builds credibility and helps readers trust the information you're providing.
Avoid common hedge words, like:
- Most likely
Using words like "sorry" and "please" makes you sound less confident. You can still sound friendly and conversational without common polite words.
Engaging, not impersonal
Invite users to engage and interact with your channel. Don’t be afraid to ask users to open a story, comment, watch a video, or share it with your friends. Include a call to action when possible.
Tips for Sounding Engaging
Even a perfect post will fall short if your audience can’t engage with it. Follow the University’s guide on accessible social media and make content that’s accessible to all.
Avoid using too many hashtags or handles.
Most of the time, one or two hashtags are sufficient to join the conversation around a topic. Using too many hashtags can make your post look like spam.
Be careful with slang.
All of our channels should connect with students but shouldn’t rely too heavily on the latest trends to do so. Slang can come off as inauthentic and may be inappropriate.