To Be, Or Not To Be...In Character

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"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players...." While he may have left this world 400 years ago, Shakespeare's words still ring true. We all live our lives on the world's stage, acting out our own play. This applies to your organization's presence online, as well. You shouldn't sit idly on the digital stage. Instead, your organization needs to get up, cross downstage left, and deliver a speech with feeling! How? Animate your digital presence by establishing a clear personality.

Every piece of digital communication gives you the opportunity to hone your voice and cultivate your personality. Your organization shouldn't be a robot, devoid of emotion; that won't help you stand out online. Developing a cohesive digital persona makes people want to connect with you and establishing a tone of voice builds trust with your advocates.

So, how do you give your organization personality and use that personality to move forward?

Act I: Start with creating a real human profile of your organization. If they drove a car, what model would they drive? Male or female? How old? Do they prefer pizza or caviar? Answering these types of questions will help you write for that persona in the future.

Act II: Before you deliver your lines, pause and look for cues from your audience and your fellow actors on the digital stage. Listening to your audience reveals how your community speaks and helps you communicate more easily with them. Use their language and meet them on their terms.

Act III: Now that you're fully in character, use that personality to drive your communications. If your advocacy organization's voice comes from a 16-year-old, add some GIFs to your social media. Toss in a joke once in a while - nothing connects humans like humor. (Of course, it goes without saying, to use humor appropriately.)

Shakespeare never used Twitter, but he did create long-lasting characters, whose personalities and motivations still resonate with us today. Creating a strong, consistent voice is the key to building a real relationship with your audience. And social media gives organizations a chance to develop personality, style and characteristics of their own.

As with all things digital, it's important to test your tone for effectiveness. Gather data on engagement and see what types of posts perform well. Dissect that content until you're able to pin down your exact, successful voice. For more help, check out the resources at The Digital Advocacy Institute has for developing and implementing your nonprofit's personality.