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by Kieran Sait on 5th June 2014
Last month I created a post that addressed the fundamental lessons involved in devising a social media strategy for business. In the post, I touched upon the importance of shaping your brand’s voice – and how you can utilise it to communicate in a way that really speaks to your audience on social platforms.
In my latest article, we’ll explore the various facets that you’ll need to consider to find a voice that is best suited to your brand and will resonate well with your audience.
Whilst the majority of modern day businesses are toying with social media to one degree or another, something I’ve seen plastered all over the Internet is how many of these brands that are actually doing it wrong. I can’t tell you how many pages I have come across where the only updates are commercial – they’re not informative or entertaining in the slightest, there’s no element of rapport, it’s as simple as “buy our products” or “check out our service page”.
But why does that matter? Why can’t that be your tone of voice?
The answer is simple, there’s no attempt at persuasion, there’s not even an inkling of an incentive or reason for a user to take action on what you say. You have to establish familiarity and win them over first.
Social media is a great platform for your communications to become a lot more creative: if you’re unknown, it gets people to like your business, if you are known; it helps you to carry on building rapport until people really do want to buy your products or services.
For me, there are three main reasons that best demonstrate why it is so important to really nail your brand’s voice, all of which help you to manage and influence the perceptions that people have of you as a company.
The way in which your business communicates: the language it uses and the tone sets the internal culture, personality and values of your brand, and those of your workers.
To successfully build rapport and trust between your brand and your consumers, all of your communications need to be consistent and familiar from one message to the next. The result of this is that you will inevitably strengthen the perceptions that people have of your business, whilst taking the necessary steps to influence and persuade them to choose you.
When pitted against competitors, the way in which your messaging comes across needs to distinguish and separate you from the opposition. With each and very organisation we have our own ideas about who we are as a company, we have our own panache, our own eccentricities to exploit – capitalise on these and relay them to your customers when you are communicating with them.
So now you know why you should seek to shape your brand’s voice, let’s look at what you need to consider when doing so.
Below I have pulled together, with the help of Social Media Explorer, four key pillars to help develop your brand’s voice. These are the main facets of a voice on social media and can help you achieve the three aforementioned benefits to your business.
Courtesy of Stephanie Schwab at Social Media Explorer
This will be your first port of call along the way to finding your brand’s voice. The best thing you can do at this stage is carry out a bit of research into your customer base; who are they? Is there a trending behaviour among them? Once you identify these two questions you can then adapt your persona to assimilate with your target audience.
Alternatively, if you have many products and services that cater to different customer segments, you might want to consider utilising multiple social channels and voices to reach these people. The same applies if you are a multi-brand enterprise.
Your persona may also depend entirely on the nature of your market. Let’s say that you’re a pharmaceutical company – using a tone that is fun and quirky as opposed to informative and professional is probably the wrong choice; particularly if you want to instigate trust in your business, products and services.
The tone of voice that your business employs embodies the general impression that you want your audience to have of your brand. It also helps to form the building blocks of a credible brand on social media.
To decide on the right tone for your organisation, you should again revisit your customer research, the nature of your industry and your competitors. This will give you a pretty handy insight into whether or not you want to be quirky, direct, academic or personal.
The language you use in your comms on social media is also an important aspect to consider. Before you begin talking to your customers in a social environment, have a look at the kinds of language that others, either in your industry or a related field, are using.
Also, take a look at your customer base and then adapt your language to best suit them. For example – younger audiences for a brand with a cool and youthful product might benefit from communication that is more colloquial. On the other hand, mature customers of a professional service might be better served with formal language and insider terminology.
Finally, what is the purpose of you actually operating on social media?
Your brand voice can help to relay this to your customers. Is it solely for educational purposes? To tackle customer service issues? Keep people interested in your brand whilst you develop new products? Do you want to subtly build interest and sell your products in another channel?
Once you have nailed these four pillars, you have pretty much nailed your brand’s tone of voice. The last part is making sure that it is all joined up. To do this, every pillar needs to be related to the next. For example – if your persona is authoritative, your tone will want to be direct, your language formal and your purpose to educate and inform.
If you have anything you would like to share with regards to shaping a brand voice, please feel free to leave a message in the comments section below. Or if you’d like to know more about Social Media management please get in touch.
Woman with a megaphone image courtesy of Bigstock
Kieran Sait works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. His most recent work before joining us was for the BBC’s Natural History brand: BBC Earth, where he gained valuable skills in content development, website strategy, social media management and branding. He is an avid fan of film and also holds a strong interest in new technology.