Despite the numerous ways in which brands appear distinctive online, for example, through creative content and remarkable visuals, one important aspect is overlooked – tone of voice.
A clear mission, voice and tone are necessary in order for brands to demonstrate their authenticity. They form a strategic route to reaching and connecting with your intended audience. Your advertisements, posts on social media, website copy and even presentations at conferences all exhibit your brand voice.
Building a brand voice on social media is essential to distinguish it from other brands; managing it is a major contributor to delivering a unified and consistent message across all communication channels, both internally and externally.
What is tone of voice?
Essentially, tone of voice characterises your brand personality and values and how it communicates with the audience, thereby humanising the brand. Simply put, it is how your brand speaks to customers. Having a distinct voice symbolises integrity and trustworthiness. In order to achieve this, special attention is paid to content delivery in terms of language - words and sequence, as well as website content, emails and social media posts amongst others. Therefore, this influences consumer perception of your messaging.
Why is it important?
With a unique and suitable tone of voice, your brand can communicate its values and its mission. As a contributing factor to social media success, it determines whether audiences will continue to follow your brand on this platform.
The impact of a brand’s tone of voice can be outlined as follows:
- It creates a connection with your audience, encouraging engagement and dialogue. A friendly attitude makes the audience feel comfortable, and so they are willing to interact with you more, resulting in liking, sharing and commenting on your posts. Naturally, this propels a culture and community into conversation and ultimately an enhanced customer experience.
- Builds trust between yourselves and the audience. It helps develop a rapport with consumers. Most customers cite shared values as one of the reasons they place trust in a brand. Trust can be gained through your brand’s efforts in highlighting charitable work or donations, for example, or significant events in the company’s calendar.
- Creates a memorable and consistent brand image. Not only does language define customer perception of your brand, but major colours can increase brand recognition by 80%. Uniformity in communication reinforces the core values brands are trying to express which allows for a more consistent brand image.
How to find and maintain your tone of voice for social media
- Understand your brand:
The very first step in establishing a social media tone of voice is being able to define your brand messaging. Before you can create content, you need to know the real purpose of your communication. This is where your core brand values will not only help you create the right language to communicate effectively but forge your brand community for audience engagement and interaction.
- Understand your audience:
Your audience forms an important part of your brand and it’s essential that you already know at this stage your buyer persona. Knowledge of who makes up your audience, what they read and how those familiar with your brand would describe it is paramount. To gain further insight into your audience, you should be able to determine what your audience is receptive to. It should be noted that your social media audience will not consist solely of customers but will also include individuals who are interested in the content you develop.
- Audit your content:
Review your existing content and communication to see how your brand looks. Your brand voice is reflected and maintained in social media posts, updates, message responses and videos. Listing top-performing content in accordance with whether it fits the brand values you wish to communicate, reflects your mission statement values and correlates with your message composition.
- Refine according to channel:
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are usually categorised as one entity in marketing, but they are different. The writing must be adapted for each audience and platform because of their distinctive characteristics – varying content lengths and formats. You cannot replicate content exactly for each channel and so must tailor your messages accordingly.
- Create tone of voice guidelines:
With all the valuable information at hand on brand messaging, you should be able to develop your own brand’s style guide. This would contain clear and practical guidance on communication to complement your overall tone of voice across your social media channels, useful for your team, dedicated social media staff and any freelance writers.
A clearly defined tone of voice and comprehensive guidelines are key to your content strategy if you are genuinely looking to be authentic and trustworthy in the eyes of customers. Brand messaging can be created using the right language with the knowledge of your audience’s location online and what they are interested in reading more about.
Consistency should be visible in all content delivered across all communications, reflective of your brand’s values and beliefs, helping audiences understand what your brand stands for and how you can benefit your audience. However, it is an ongoing process. Therefore, guidelines need to be regularly evaluated and feedback, both positive and negative, reviewed to ensure that you are going in the right direction.
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