Standing Out on Social—Without Yelling

By: Marc Acton, with Raye Dene Berry

I had a conversation with one of my favorite coworkers recently, and got a better idea of how her heart shapes iostudio content. I also got a list of four things that from now on I’ll be checking for in all of my own content.

I imagine that if my friend Raye Dene Berry had lived in colonial days, she’d have been the kind of person who always had a pot of tea simmering. She’s just that kind of human being. Kind. Compassionate. I feel like she’s just always prepared to care for people—even as she’s walking through the office, she has this bubble of positivity around her, and when she gets close to you, it envelops you.

But this post isn’t about my friend—it’s about content and what Raye Dene recently taught me about how we can all do it better.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Raye Dene says that when she and her siblings were kids growing up in Texas, their mom delivered this line almost daily. And as much as they rolled their eyes at it back then, the old adage now often comes to mind when she scrolls through her Facebook feed. Negativity seems to be the easiest way to be heard in today’s social media environment, which is especially difficult for people who are proponents of sharing ideas through positivity.

The problem is this: As content experts, Raye Dene and I are supposed to Be Noticed! And Say Things! Our job is to get our clients’ and our company’s messages heard. Still, as we’re doing that, it’s so easy to veer off the right path. But Raye Dene has a method for keeping iostudio content on track—by doing these four things before posting, tweeting or publishing:

1. She looks for a personal touch in messaging.

We want every message we send out into the world to strike an emotional chord, whether it’s coming from an individual writer or iostudio. Brands aren’t just in the business of selling anymore. Today’s consumers want to feel a connection to the brands they choose. They want those brands to have a social conscience. Don’t be afraid to let yours shine through! Be open about your values, and how they guide you to make a positive impact on the world. Be smart, be kind, be funny. Adopting a people-first mentality is the best way to forge and maintain relationships with your followers.

An example of that personal touch is this post! There’s a reason you’re reading about my friend and how her heart shapes our work here. It’s because she matters to me and to iostudio, and we want you to know that.

2. She checks for authenticity in voice.

Being vocal and transparent about your values will help hold you accountable for living by them. The way to build trust with your audience is to be real with them. And trust is what keeps them coming back for more—sharing, liking, commenting, buying, converting, etc. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Today’s savvy audience recognizes when you don’t.

At iostudio, we do this by writing conversationally, and by letting our extremely talented people (like Raye Dene, and our other POV writers) speak for us whenever possible.

3. She double-checks for positivity in tone.

This is the big one. The glut of negativity on Facebook, Twitter and other sites can be overwhelming … and downright depressing. And guess what: Negativity is contagious! Check out this report by Scientific American on a fascinating 2012 Facebook study, which found that users who read lots of negative posts ended up posting negative content themselves. But here’s the good news: The reverse is also true! Folks who read positive posts were more likely to post positive messages. Good vibes breed good vibes.

We think that’s why it’s not just a healthy personal philosophy to stay positive—it’s also a sound business decision. Want your customers to feel positive vibes about you? Be extra positive! Even throw in an exclamation point or two!! People love exclamation points!!!

4. She demands factual accuracy. 

More people than ever before are turning to social media as a news source. That makes factual reliability more important than ever—even for businesses. So whether you’re sharing news to your personal page, or advertising features and benefits of your products, demand 100% accuracy. Establishing a reputation with your followers for reliable information further builds the trust that keeps them engaging with you or your brand.

Social networking allows us to reach a vast audience in an instant. It’s an opportunity—to share information, to develop relationships, to promote our brand, to make a difference, and on and on. But it’s also a platform. What messages will you broadcast? And what tone will you use when you do?

Want to work with Raye Dene and some of the other nicest people I know?
I can get you in touch with them.


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Marc Acton was born at a very young age in a moderately old town in Florida. Some other stuff happened, and then he became iostudio’s Content Manager. For us he proudly pokes and prods projects for the Army National Guard including social media and web, writing and strategizing content that converts. He is a fan of the Oxford comma, saying more with less, and helping write bios for extremely talented iostudians. He also flies helicopters for the Army National Guard. Which reminds us, how can you tell if a helicopter pilot is at your party? (He’ll tell you.)