Social is, or more importantly, should be viewed as a conversational medium; more 'story-telling' than dictating. I believe the most successful engagements are those where one can feel themselves drifting into a room with the person they are interacting with… rather than being preached to from the pamphlet. This being said, the written english language (perhaps more so than many other languages) is pretty loosey-goosey, it is fraught with pit-holes and boobie traps...
...how does one sound authoritative without out coming off as arrogant; positive withouts sounding childlike; encouraging without sounding fake or hackneyed...
I've found myself blithely adding the line "...will maintain your corporate voice." into all my proposals of late; with the full knowledge that most folks haven't once considered what they sound like when they post to their "conversations" over social.
While I cannot claim to have all the answers… let's hijack Anna's article and see how the advice on hiring voice talent for ones answering machine, corporate videos et al may apply to the place and point where one should expect to have the most significant perhaps even the most intimate interaction with one's customers:
1. Match the voice with your brand
"A voice that sounds overly energetic might not be the correct choice for a quiet professional office building. The sound of the voice should match the tone and demographics of the business."
Indeed, do you want to be humorous, carefree or sardonic when your product is say… high end stereos? Likely no more so than coming off as a know-it-all. If you've done your brand-homework, you likely know your demographic, but do you speak to them like you would in the "showroom"; OR like you would over a glass of wine, in your living room, marvelling over the fidelity of your long lost favourite jazz standards?
2. Choose a dynamic vocal range
"The vocal abilities for each person are different and many people do not have a dynamic range that could carry a very varied video production for an hour or more."
There's a "dynamic of character" at play here… perhaps this goes beyond simply voice. Are you hiring an actor? If so, is your social voice wooden and one dimensional. Is it the voice of the sales-toad who reads the pitch script line by line day after day? Does your voice have mood swings, bad days and a bias towards that "certain type" of customer that just really gets his goat up? …the trap here of course is that all conversations are being eavesdropped upon; finding a social voice with "range" yet whose banter remains attractive across a wide spectrum of buyers. I'll defer… who is your best salesman (you?), he might just be the model for this "actor" who becomes your voice. Quick, someone call Stanislavsky!
3. Look at the voice talent’s experience
"Not all voice talent is the result of professional training. Some actors have a natural ability and ear for the work."
Maybe this person is already in your office? Perhaps it's that guy or gal whose been toiling away on your ting for ten years now; has put up with your crap but who has so thoroughly "bought in(to)" (your crap). The person most definitely must love your product/service, not be taught & sold on doing so. We're making this up as we go along here folks (at least most of us appear to be)… There is not yet a CAA agent with a tape deck and a book of head shots (that I'm aware of) (of course, I'm not aware of many things… suggestions?).
Clone yourself, or at least, that part of yourself that is the passion behind what you're doing… (Oh and, unlike some folks who shall remain un-mentioned (um, me), perhaps stick with one fewer soap box, or two… :-)
4. Check the voice talent’s availability
"Customers will respond to that one familiar voice favorably whenever the actor is heard."
Of course, I'm available! - And, I'll work for air-fare and a plate of "the veal" most days, But I doubt you'd really want to saddle yourself with, what is does this voice of mine sound like, "sardonic jack-assed-ness" is that my tone? (Honestly, I have little clue how this voice of mine sounds most days, and that may be a 5th tip, get a 2nd opinion on your voice)…
AND, see #3 with respect to long term familiarity. This is an important (likely becoming fulltime) job... OK, hire me, and I'll hire you a voice, deal?
It's a wrap... This voice must be constantly consistent, albeit with range. This voice must love your product without being fawning and trite. It's so easy to sound fake when talking through the tippy-tapping of ones keyboard. The voice should wander into "these room" with your customer, chat, but not simply txt msg them… It's funny how something as simple as how you sound can be so incredibly un-easy, how the wrong voice can so un-easily make one cringe. You can spend millions buying copy-writing services to draft the script. The "guy", person, actor you hire to interpret and improvise this script, day in day out, on the fly, adhoc and without a net may be worth… billions. At least should be worthy of strongly considered, consideration.
At the risk of sounding melo-dramatically over the top… May the forth be with you. (Oh, and hire someone who can spell (he say's while immediately ruling himself, out.))