When it comes to business communication, I have seen it all. I have written speeches for CEOs, developed product and service brochures, come up with copy for ads, websites, and jingles – and everything in between.

But some of the things that made me successful as a business communicator and copywriter were the things that prevented me from communicating well in social media. Even after some considerable time using social media, I found it easy to slip into a more formal business style for communicating.

Fundamentally there is a dividing line between writing in the voice of the brand and writing in the voice of the customer. I call this the “mirror of intent” – for your communication can go either way. Do you want authority or do you want authenticity? When you know which side of the mirror you stand, you can adjust your style accordingly. But be warned – both approaches are valid for different types of communication. And both take practice and discipline.

The graphic below explains five ways you can deliver on your intent.

These are my observations and were inspired by discussions with the wise and articulate community evangelist, Marilyn Pratt – but perhaps there is something I have missed. Share your experience by leaving a comment!