Manage a Consistent Voice on Social Media
About 83% of B2B businesses use social media as a marketing strategy. That means there's plenty of 'noise' you'll need to cut through if you want to make a lasting impression. Creating a strong social media brand voice is crucial to giving yourself a fighting chance.
Developing a unique brand voice and style is the perfect way to stand out among your competitors and make a real connection with your followers. If you're strategic about using this branding consistently across all your social media platforms, you'll be making your business more memorable and boosting visibility.
In this guide, we'll cover what your brand voice is and discuss why it's such a vital aspect of your social media marketing strategy. Then we'll guide you on how to develop and use your branding effectively on social media. Let's get started!
What is Brand Voice?
A brand's voice is the personality and emotion implemented into your business communication. It's a true reflection of a brand's character and viewpoint. Defining your brand voice will be the essential ingredient to successful content creation and content marketing, ensuring that your messaging always fits with your brand voice. Your brand voice could be sophisticated, playful, exciting, or no-nonsense, whatever the tone that best reflects your product or service. Whether it's organic social media or paid social media, your brand voice is something that remains constant no matter what the message is.
Why is Brand Voice Important?
A brand's voice extends way beyond basic content creation guidelines. Voice is ingrained within your brand's identity, especially when engaging and interacting with customers and users through many social media channels. This allows users and audiences to connect with your brand on an emotional level, whether those emotions be professional, humorous, or authoritative, building brand loyalty and trust.
Establishing a clear brand voice also helps your in-house or outsourced content creators, writers, and social media managers craft copy and content material that speaks directly to your user base, promoting professional uniformity across all brand channels. Clear content guidelines also inform long-term marketing campaigns, content calendars, and social media strategies, helping your project managers plan out long-term customer outreach and retention.
What's the Difference Between Brand Voice vs. Tone of Voice?
While the two are related, brand voice and tone serve two different purposes:
Brand Voice represents your brand's values and the unique perspectives you have. In other words, this is your brand's personality and character.
Brand Tone of Voice is how your brand decides to communicate with your customers and audience, including the communication style, emotional tone, and choice of words. This can change based on what is most appropriate for the situation. For example, as an individual, you have a unique personality, which remains the same throughout your daily interactions. However, the way you speak to people in each of those interactions could be different.
You likely use a different tone and phrasing when speaking to your boss compared to chatting with close friends in a casual setting. Similarly, your brand voice should remain constant, even though you may need to adjust your tone to suit a specific piece of content, audience, or platform.
How to Find Your Social Media's Brand Voice
It is necessary to understand that your brand has its own persona. Every business should be treated as a living being, and you must define its voice and characteristics in the first place. Whenever you do anything, such as communicating with your audience on social media or announcing a new product line, you need to ensure you're maintaining a consistent social media brand voice.
Just the way you need a tagline or logo for your brand, you need a definite brand voice. The challenge here is that this voice needs to be constant throughout all your social media channels. One of the primary reasons for this is that brands that are consistent across all channels are 3-4x more likely to get brand visibility. While this may seem like an uphill task, with some planning, you can achieve it with ease. Here's what you need to do:
Here are tips you can follow to build your own brand voice to use when creating content and interacting with an audience on social media.
1. Review Your Company Mission Statement
A brand's voice and personality should always consider your business's missions and values. Thus, we highly recommend that you review your company's values and mission statement.
This can provide you with meaningful insight into how you would like your brand to be perceived by potential customers. As a result, use that insight to inform the foundations of your brand's voice.
2. Perform a Complete Content Audit
Performing a full audit of your brand's social media content provides you and your content creators with an organized and comprehensive view of all the content created up until that point.
Combined with using marketing software, such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite, you can identify your best-performing social media posts and the content that hasn't performed well.
Carefully examine these social posts – why are they performing the way they are? What type of tone and emotion can be observed through the post? Asking these crucial questions will help you determine what your audience wants and engages with the most.
3. Know Your Audience
Who are you marketing to? What are the obstacles and daily challenges that your service or product helps to overcome? When developing your brand's voice and tone, these are just a few questions you will want to ask yourself and your team.
For example, a local law firm shouldn't use humorous language when crafting and planning social media content. In contrast, a local toy store or gift shop may find lighthearted humor and fluffy language to be useful for connecting with their customer base. It's all subjective.
4. Create Brand Voice Guidelines for Your Content Creation Team
While flexible in execution, it's helpful to create a short guide or chart for your writers, social media managers, designers, and other content creators to reference once you've formed the beginnings of your brand's voice identity. Include your brand characterizations, values, and goals, briefly describing how and why those concepts are significant.
Creating a brand voice and style guide helps refine and specify your brand voice. This way, everyone will know what it is and how to use it. What's more, it helps to keep your brand voice consistent. This is incredibly important since ensuring that your branding remains consistent across all communications and channels can increase your revenue by 23%.
Developing your brand voice guide involves writing down a list of guidelines and rules for how various elements of your communications and marketing will be handled. You'll need to work on the following elements:
- Tone and personality: Will you communicate casually, formally, or via an entirely different tone altogether?
- Brand story: How will you discuss your mission and business?
- Keywords and phrases: What words and terms are important to use frequently, and what language do you want to avoid using?
- Imagery: What types of images and colors will you use to reinforce your brand voice?
- Typography: When given a choice, what types of fonts will you use (considering they should reflect your brand voice and personality)?
The guidelines don't have to be overly formal, but you should be as specific as possible to keep all social media team members on the same page. Most importantly, share your brand voice guide with all relevant parties and ask for suggestions and feedback. Refining and adding to your brand voice guide over time is smart to keep it up-to-date.
Within this chart, include key phrases and words that highlight the tone and language you'd like to see when it comes to your brand voice. It can also be useful to highlight the words, phrases, and concepts you prefer your content creators to avoid.
5. Be Flexible and Experiment
Remember that social media platforms are continuously evolving. Essentially, it's a good idea to "read the room" before posting anything, especially content relevant to current social climates.
However, content creation is experimentation, and the brand voice guide that you create should always remain a living document, able to be tweaked when needed. Make sure that you let content creators stay flexible in their approach and experiment reasonably as they craft customer or audience-facing content.
6. Apply the Brand Voice Guide to All Relevant Social Media Platforms
By now, you know what your brand voice will look and sound like. What's more, you've distilled the core elements and shared them with relevant team members. Now, it's time to put your brand voice into action. It's best to use the same brand voice for all company content and communication.
This includes your social media advertising, websites, and even physical materials so that all marketing and communication remain constant. However, we've focused on social media because it's where your brand voice can do you the best. There are about 2.1 million negative mentions of U.S. brands on social media platforms daily. Thus, you'll need to work at creating a strong and authentic connection with your audience on social media channels.
Every post and message your business puts out should maintain the same personality and voice. The elements you'll want to pay most attention to include:
- Posts and updates: Keeping your brand voice at the forefront when posting on social media platforms is essential. Remember to support that voice with matching colors, fonts, and imagery.
- Company bios and profiles: Your social media brand voice should be evident in how your business is described. After all, this often forms a crucial first impression for new followers.
- Replies and direct messages: When communicating directly with followers, it's vital to maintain the same personality and tone in your status updates and posts.
Every interaction and everything you post you have on social media should be shaped by your chosen brand voice. It may take some time and lots of referring back to your guide at first. Soon, your team will internalize your social media brand voice, and it will come naturally.
Tips for Maintaining a Consistent Brand Voice
Simply, defining your brand voice isn't enough to garner long-term success on social media; you must ensure your brand voice will be used consistently and appropriately. As mentioned earlier, create a brand guide describing your brand's tone and voice you want to use on varying social channels.
Next, you'll want to ensure your team members thoroughly understand your brand voice and how to appropriately use it. Schedule training sessions to review your brand voice guide and allow employees a chance to ask questions that will further enhance their understanding. Here are different forms of training you can provide to your content creation team:
1 Training calls with your team: Hold monthly (or weekly) webinars for your employees. Include anyone involved in the social media department and open up the training call for questions.
2 Newsletters: A company newsletter specific to brand voice can include success stories and current customer reactions to keep everyone aware of company style guides. This can also be a great way to demonstrate the value of your brand voice to your employees to achieve greater buy-in.
3 Online learning modules: Something that can be done by each employee individually can resonate more than working in a group. Include quizzes and interactive situations to give them a better sense of applying brand voice during daily operations.
4 In-person workshops: If possible, hosting a hands-on workshop can engage employees more and keep them interested in learning your brand voice. Be casual, add visuals, and start an open discussion.
Develop Your Brand Voice on Social Media
These days, social media users alike are savvy, highly knowledgeable, and aware of the marketing world surrounding them. With advertisements, blogs, articles, YouTube videos, Tweets, and social media posts continuously being pushed onto social feeds, consumers are now more informed than ever before. This overload in information also means it can be difficult to capture their attention.
Thus, it's imperative that you speak to your users, audience, and prospective customers through engaging content that accurately reflects your brand's values, mission, products, and services. And defining your brand's voice will go a long way toward captivating your audience and letting them know that you have the product, service, or website they are searching for.
If you need help with your social media brand voice, Universal Creative Solutions can help. Our social media marketing consulting services start by auditing your brand and defining the clear messaging and unique value that you bring to the marketplace. We're here to help you captivate your audience's attention and boost company revenue by first establishing a clear and definitive brand voice. Schedule a free consultation with us today!