social media voiceToday I had the pleasure of reading to a local  Kindergarten class. As I watched each hand go up in the air for the opportunity to speak it really made me think.

All of our life we are told to “be quiet.”  We are told to hush, sit down, don't talk too loud.  It is bad etiquette to share your thoughts, ask too many questions or in reality be yourself.

Instead we are all put into a mold of what society tells us to be.  A mold that is as close to “one size fits all” as you can get.  Yet, we are all very far from one size.

My belief is this is very much why so many people love social media! For once we feel free! We HAVE a VOICE!  Even if nobody is listening on the other end, we are free to be.  Free to speak, free to share our thoughts.  We don't have to wait our turn.  Heck we can send 10 messages at the same time with the help of automation tools such as HootSuite and!

Nobody tells us to hush.  Nobody tells us to go away.  If they don't like what we say they simply shut us off.  They create a news feed or a friend list that may or may not include us.  The only issue is we don't know what list we are on, what list we are not on!

Are you on the list that gets read or the list that gets ignored?  For the purpose of this post it really doesn't matter.  My point is that social media gives you a voice.  It enables you the ability to be heard in a much bigger and badder way than you would be heard otherwise.

Now my next question for you is… “What are you doing with your voice?”

Today's experience and deep thoughts have inspired me to write much more on this exact topic.  I will do such over the coming days and will put together a succinct guide to help folks share their voice with proper etiquette, tone and content.  For now, here are few questions and tips to get you started.

What are you doing with your social media voice?

1. What are your objectives?

2. Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you want to achieve and WHY?

3. Who do you want to hear you?

4. Why do you want them to hear you?

5. What do you want them to hear?

6. Are you messages you are sharing aligning with all of the above? If not, why not?

7. Are you sharing value or noise?

8. Does your audience want to hear you?

9. Why should your audience listen to you?

10.  What content would help your audience?

Quick Tips for adding VALUE to your VOICE:

1. Speak WITH, not AT your audience.

2. Speak in the TONE your audience wants to hear.  Just like when I met with the kindergarten rugrats today, I spoke in their language. I laughed at funny pictures.  I didn't speak to them the same way I did the office clerk or my other son's 10 yr old class.

3. Speak with AUTHORITY.  Do your research. Know your stuff!

4. Speak with FOCUS! Don't try to be everything to everybody.  Instead do “Your Thang!”  What is your core passion? Your core expertise?  Start there and master it.  Share it with the world. You'll be amazed at how sharing little versus sharing everything will get you further in social media!

5. Speak with RELEVANCY.  This also gets to the noise.  Don't just blast 10 tips because you want 10 rounded tips.  That's why many times you'll see me publish blog posts that include lists of 12, 22 or 32 tips. It's not because that's the number I thought would sound good but instead is the number of relevant of tips I came up with. I refuse to add 2 more just to get to a “right number.”

6. Speak DIFFERENT! Don't just copy your partners, colleagues or competitors.  Instead focus on your own passions and what YOU personally have to offer.  Dare to have a different opinion, a different way to explain a bland or mundane topic.  Take a bike ride, visit a national park. Volunteer for a local charity.  Do anything that will help bring relevance and creativity to what it is you do and can share with others.  Bring different life experiences into your content, your world and your life!

7. Speak CASUALLY!  Real people don't speak in business terms or contextual definition.  Real people use real language. Your audience will appreciate authenticity! Speak to them in social media the same or similar to the same tone if you were at a networking event.

8. Speak with GENUINE CARE! If you don't care about your audience then why are you in business in the first place.  Social media is about giving more than you receive. If you only focus on what you can get out of social media you will never succeed.  Focus on sharing yourself, your knowledge, wisdom and experiences to benefit others.  Don't just focus on how your wisdom can impact your bottom line.

9.  Speak with a PLAN!  It should include your key objectives and audiences.  I don't have time in this post to help you write a marketing or business plan.  If you follow me on any regular basis you know first hand I despise random acts of marketing and always recommend a plan as a #1 priority.  Start with your objectives, audience, goals for each audience etc.  Then create an editorial calendar.  Start with a list of ideas, a list of topics that you can master and provide value.

10. Speak WITH EXPERTS!  Bring in other experts to validate your words.  If you have contacts who have a voice, a passion for what you believe in then partner with them. Work together. Guest blog for them and let them guest blog with you.  Interview them and then document and video tape your interview on a blog and video channel!

11.  Speak with FUN!  Have fun.  This isn't rocket science and it isn't the end of the world if your blog post doesn't get read. You'll win some and you'll lose some.  Be real, be yourself or don't be!

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my opinion that a voice is really what those engaging in social media are looking for?  Is it the voice that gets pushed down. Is it too many years in corporate that turns us into cogs in a wheel that only speak when spoken to?

Take yourself to the next level in social media! Create a voice that stands above the crowd! Be different but be REAL!