Social media gives brands the opportunity to interact with fans, followers and customers in a unique way. You have a direct line to your customers, and you have a platform on which to share your voice.
But what does that voice sound like? When someone interacts with your brand on social media, what impression will you have on them? Brand voice is an essential part of your social media strategy because it will affect every other aspect of your digital personality.
What Exactly is Brand Voice?
Your brand voice is how you want your messaging to come across to your audience. The easiest way to think of brand voice is to think of it as a brand personality. It may be professional, or helpful; maybe your brand voice is a little bit sarcastic or quirky. Whatever your brand voice is, you want it to be consistent and to resonate with your target audience. While your brand voice should be the same throughout all your content, your tone may change.
Brand voice shouldn’t be confused with tone. Your tone is how you discuss things, and it will change depending on the situation, channel and other factors. Think about your caring and compassionate friend who sometimes has to use their serious voice when they really mean something. The personality stays the same, but the tone changes.
Why is it Important?
Your brand voice is the base of your brand efforts on social media. It’s how you want to be perceived and how you present yourself. From your brand voice on social media, all of your other social media efforts will grow. Your brand voice, when executed correctly, will also help you meet and engage the right people.
As we can see from the above chart, brands lose followers and annoy their fans if they have no personality, use slang they shouldn’t or try too hard to be funny. All of these issues come from missing the mark when it comes to your brand’s voice on social, or from having no voice at all!
The Party Metaphor
Think of this metaphor that’s probably been used 100 times to talk about social. Your brand is a person at a party, and you want to attract the right kind of people (your potential customers) to chat with you at the party. If you’re standoffish or only talking about yourself, no one will want to hangout with you. If you’re a little too loud, or trying to hard, people will steer clear as well.
So … how to choose your brand voice?
When brand voice is so important, but also so varied, how do you solidify what voice is right for your company on social? These are the key questions you need to be asking yourself as you make the choice:
1. Who Do You Want to Reach?
Who is the key target market you are trying to reach? What are they likely to respond to? It can help to create an archetype in your mind of a person that embodies this target market. Do they respond to humour, or are they more interested in straight facts? Is it a pretty broad audience, or can you narrow them down into a specific niche?
For example, Wendy’s recently switched up their brand voice on social. They had been doing rather run of the mill messaging but they wanted to court a younger audience. They developed a voice that used humour and a little bit of sarcasm. They made an intentional choice to speak less like a stuffy professional brand, and more like one that didn’t take themselves too seriously.
Me when I heard the Double Stack in the 4 for $4 is only at Wendy’s for a limited time. pic.twitter.com/CH1JCmWecP
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) January 9, 2017
2. How Do you Want to Reach Them?
How do you want to approach your audience? Are you the thoughtful resource they can reach out to, or are you just like them, offering insight and insider knowledge. The voice with which you reach out to your audience will also have a lot to do with how your audience responds. If you’re light hearted in your voice, chances are the audience will respond in kind.
3. What are you going to say?
A lot of social media brands are just pushing out promotions and talking about themselves. That in itself can be done in different voices, but the brand voice you choose for your brand should also inform, and be informed by what you want you want to say.
Let’s take a look at Denny’s. The International Diner chain could just talk about their locations, sales and items, but instead they make funny, and often silly tweets that (usually) have more or less to do with food.
fun potato games:
-potato sack race
-pin the potato on the potato
-mashed potato pants
-just throwing potatoes at your friends
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner) February 2, 2017
How Do You Know You’ve Got It Right?
You can constantly play around with your brand’s voice on social until you find something that works. When you hit something that works, followers will start responding and engaging with your brand. When you start to see some really engaged followers, start listening. What are they saying, how are they speaking to their friends? Look at influencers that you’d like to align with, what and how are they using their social to reach their audience?