Topic (00:41): The Voice of Your Social Media
How are you perceived on social media channels? Not your personal voice. But your voice as a brand and business. Establishing a tone and voice is so important regarding how you talk about your business on social media and other digital marketing channels. This is important whether your brand is just starting out, going through a rebrand, or you are a solo marketer joining a brand’s digital marketing team.
Social media has an impact on how you present your brand to the world online. Not only saying, “This is us, here we are,” but also how you’re engaging with your audience and with people who want to know more about you and what your brand is about.
How can you humanize your brand to them?
Tip 1 (3:05): Who is your brand?
What many businesses do when they’re starting out with branding or when a new digital marketer is joining their team, is have a list of adjectives to embody their brand voice. So, if your brand were talking to you, these would be the traits that you’d want to come across as having.
Depending on your audience and what you’re promoting for your business, your brand’s voice could be very bubbly and humorous, or it could be very authoritative and logical. Honing your brand voice requires not only a proficient understanding of your business but also of whom you’re targeting online. Be thinking about who the demographics are that consume your content and what they may be responsive to.
If you were to think of a cartoon character and all of the traits that go into a cartoon character, you must think about your brand in the same way. What is the character? What is the persona? All the way down to the little things like– when you publish on social media, are you speaking in first-person? Are you speaking plural? Do you use the company’s name? When you’re talking to people do you say, “you,” or do you say, “customers?”
As you explore the personality of your brand’s voice, compile a couple of set examples for your team to always be able to refer to for how your brand should sound. This is especially helpful if you’re going from platform to platform on social networks. On Twitter, you might write a little more casually, particularly with such a short character count, whereas you might aim to sound more professional on LinkedIn.
Tip 2 (5:55): What makes up a brand voice?
One way you can figure out and develop your voices across platforms comes from a four-part formula created by Stephanie Schwab. You need to think about a voice’s components, which are:
- What’s the character or persona? Are we playful, are we friendly, are we warm?
- What’s the tone? Are we like straight shooters where we’re very honest and direct?
- What is our language? This one’s really important because you’ll need to decide if you’re a brand that explains things in very technical terms, so there’s a lot of jargon or industry and insider language, or are you using a more conversational tone, more fun-loving? Again, that can vary from network to network. Twitter could be lighter, softer, more fun. Then on LinkedIn, because you’re speaking to maybe investors, it is more jargon-filled.
- What is the purpose of the content that you’re creating? That might also help you figure out the voice in that particular moment.
After you’ve come up with those four components of your brand’s voice, also think about if your team has brand guidelines. A lot of companies build brand guidelines around the visual look of the brand, but you also have to think about brand guidelines in terms of how you come across in your messaging. This could be another exercise or study if your team hasn’t done it or if it’s time to revisit it. How should you respond or how should you communicate? Because consistency is so important. When you’re working on a digital marketing team, even if multiple team members are working on the same account, you should all sound like that one same brand every time.
Tip 3 (9:53): What reputation do you want for your brand’s voice?
Another way to determine how you want to define brand voice is to look across social media at brands like Wendy’s, who has a really popular Twitter account because of the way that they engage in playful competitiveness with other businesses and talk casually to their audience. They understand that their purpose on Twitter is maybe not as much promotion of their food, but more about how they’re building that connection and humanizing the brand.
Pro Tip: At the same time, if someone sent Wendy’s a serious question or a complaint on Twitter, they’re going to handle that seriously, too. You must be able to strike a balance between both and build-out guidelines for your team on what that looks like.
However, don’t just base your research on a single social media account. When you’re looking for good examples, check out a variety of brands’ social media accounts and look across their Twitter, their Facebook, their LinkedIn, wherever they post, to see what the consistencies are. The voice might be the same, but how do they slightly change up tone? How do they direct their voice slightly from network to network? Here are some more top brands succeeding at a cross-platform voice:
On LinkedIn, L’Oréal is highly, highly focused on things happening within the company when it comes to innovation and research and the science of how they develop their products. It’s also very people-focused, around the team members in the company. Then on Instagram, they actually have two different accounts. They’ve got L’Oréal Paris, the makeup brand, and that’s more front-facing, focused on what goes into the product, like different key ingredients that a consumer might want to know, and also they’ve got their other Instagram account that kind of is more similar to that LinkedIn account where it’s got that mix of how they’re improving sustainability when developing products, what’s going on with their Research & Development team, and things like that.
Another is Denny’s. Their Tumblr blog is notorious for being chaotic and absurdist, very en vogue with the platform. It is especially popular with the younger audience members who are more attracted to that style of humor. You can learn more in our Millennial and Gen Z Marketing blog about what might appeal to those demographics. Likewise, Taco Bell and Jack in the Box both have very funny Twitters that focus on their buyer persona really well when creating content for their munchies-loving audiences.
Lastly, Walmart has also been expanding into social networks that attract young audiences. They, as all marketers should be, have been thinking about how to get in front of Millennials and Gen Z and these other audiences that are now decision-makers and purchasers. To do that, they’re now marketing on networks like TikTok and Snapchat. Their content on these platforms is choppy and meant to just give you these little, short snippets to capture your attention and do really weird and odd things that are fun and people would relate to. Then on the flip side to that, they have ads running on Facebook with a more conservative feeling.
Final Thoughts (13:36)
Your voice really depends on the brand, how you’re targeting people, what space you’re in at that moment, and what makes sense for that particular channel or medium. It’s all of these things combined that make a brand’s voice so successful in their digital marketing.
We get a lot of these topic questions from our clients, workshop students, and general audience, so please feel free to ask us your own questions by tagging or messaging us on social media! You can also learn more digital marketing insights by listening to more episodes of our 10 Minute Marketing podcast or reading our blog.