Every time your company releases an advertisement, launches a website, speaks at a conference or posts on social media, you release your brand voice. But one of the most difficult questions to answer is whether or not these channels all stick to the same tone.
The perfect setup is for everyone to recognize your logo without any content. However, that’s not the case for most businesses out there. This means companies have to rely on building a brand voice on platforms like social media to get more people aware of their product or service.
According to the Sprout Social Q1 2016 Index, brands received 118% more messages on Instagram content from Q2 to Q4 2015. The demand for responses on social is real. So if you mix your tone, brand strategy or just the way you talk, it can send different messages to consumers. Your ultimate goal should be to provide a consistent and enjoyable brand experience every time a customer interacts with you.
But how else does your company’s brand voice play a role on social media networks? Let’s look at what makes it up to begin with:
What is Brand Voice?
Brand voice is your compilation of words, terms, attitudes and expressions that flow across all channels with the purpose to inspire and engage a connection with your brand. This tone in language is used to attract consumers’ attention, but also be a recognized voice in any form of communication from the brand.
In a nutshell, your brand voice depicts how consumers see you–it’s your identity. For example, some brands are known for their relaxed or goofy identity, while others want to portray a complete professionalism.
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) October 11, 2016
Words, social media posts and advertisements all drive your brand’s identity. Again, every time your brand speaks, it sets a certain tone to consumers. This makes it extremely difficult to maintain consistency with your voice.
If you let your brand voice differ across your channels, you set up consumers for disappointment and lack a true identity that can spread. Don’t harm your brand’s growth with an ineffective voice.
Use these tips to maintain a consistent brand voice–specifically across your social media profiles:
Find & Outline Your Ideal Brand Voice
To get started, make sure everyone in your company is on the same page with what your brand voice should be. Specifically on social media, you should know how every Tweet or Instagram caption sounds each time you post.
In fact, the Sprout Social Q3 2016 Index discovered 71% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social because they were embarrassed and 41% admitted to unfollowing brands who don’t share relevant information.
With users being so choosy, you have to maintain a clear voice right from beginning. Otherwise, you’re going to annoy, confuse or upset your audience and drive away customers. Try these few exercises to create a clear outline:
- Storyboard your voice: Storyboarding is a great method for writers to develop a character in a story or script. Figure out everything your brand likes, doesn’t like, end goals and who you want to be. This could help you define your voice with even more precision.
- Have a social customer service strategy: Do you know what to say when an angry customer hits you up on Twitter? Is it more than just a “sorry to hear that” or are you directing them to your customer service number? Ensure all your responses and interactions have the same goal and know you can answer any question that arises on social.
- Detail your social jargon or colloquialisms: Does your brand speak frankly on subjects? Does your audience understand the relaxed or professional jargon you use? Make sure you don’t have one person posting Facebook statuses that use professional buzzwords, while another uses casual or colloquial language.
Reinforce Your Brand’s Beliefs
Do your social media managers reinforce your brand’s beliefs and goals across networks? This is an important question to ask because many businesses don’t maintain the same beliefs from content to advertisements to social media posts.
According to Contently, more than 66% of people have felt tricked by a brand for sponsored article, video or other content. It’s easy to be deceived by brands, but your company shouldn’t look to bait and switch tactics. Instead, by focusing on your brand voice, you know your content will resonate across all your platforms.
If your company believes in providing the freshest ingredients or making products in the US, make sure your audience knows. Instagram is a great source for marketers to highlight a brand voice through images, short videos and hashtags.
Reinforce your brand’s beliefs with social media content this is relatable, easy to digest and fitting for whichever social media channel you choose. This is especially true for social media retail brands trying to get customers in the door.
Listen to Your Audience
Like we mentioned before, each time you reply to a message, post a status update or upload a video, you’re pushing your brand voice. And on social media, users come to you with questions and concerns, which means you have to maintain that brand voice when responding.
According to an Oracle report, 43% of social media users only interact with brands to get a direct response to a question or issue. While monitoring all of these conversations might seem like too much work, there are third-party tools to help your efforts.
In fact, Sprout Social has some of the most robust social media monitoring tools to help find conversations going on about your brand even if you’re not tagged in the message. With our advanced monitoring tools, you can truly listen to your audience (even if they’re not talking directly to you).
Responding and answering questions is the best way to build trust and loyalty with your customers. When your customers can count on you for any question, you make their lives easier. Listen to your audience and don’t take small conversations not directed specifically at you for granted.
Know Where Your Brand Voice is Highlighted the Most
Not only is it smart to know your brand voice’s tone, but also recognize where it is highlighted the most in your company. When your brand voice is used through the right channel, you increase your influence. Some of the most popular places where your brand voice is highlighted on social media include:
- Replies: All brand replies should have the same context as other important messages. Determining your brand voice in advance helps you know the exact tone in which to reply to any comments on social.
- Calls to action: Your calls-to-action on social media must also maintain the same brand voice as everything else. Don’t switch tones with your CTAs and landing pages as it can put off your readers. Use CTAs that match your company’s beliefs. You’d be surprised what one-to-three words can do.
- Instagram captions: On Instagram you have the ability to draw in your audience with creative captions or things like emojis. Instagram is certainly the place to showcase your brand’s creative side, but make sure your captions match anything that would be on your company’s website or other documents.
- Direct messages: With emphasis on social customer service, you need to ensure your direct messages are answered with the utmost care. If your brand voice is supposed to be trusted and professional, DMs with jokes or relaxed text could standout.
- Bios: Your social media bios are the best space to showcase your brand voice. It doesn’t need to be humorous or stern, but simply you. This is how many consumers will first see you, so make sure your bios are well-written.
- Visuals: Your brand’s voice can be detected in visual content as well. Always make sure your visuals still lead back to your own brand.
Business Examples of Stand Out Brand Voices
There are a lot of brands out there doing a wonderful job of maintaining their voice across social media channels. By crafting a brand voice that is memorable, you will stand out among the rest of the companies in your industry.
Let’s take a look a few brand examples who have their voice nailed down perfectly on social media:
The health and beauty company, Dove, continues to put women’s voices in the limelight to help promote self esteem and body images. The brand’s messages are all empowering and have a specific tone to feel your best and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
This negativity can have a huge impact on girls’ self-esteem.
— Dove (@Dove) October 5, 2016
Dove’s brand voice is compelling, empowering and passionate. If their brand responded to all incoming messages with humor, it wouldn’t make sense. Instead, Dove does a great job at being thankful and caring.
To engage social media users and share their passions, Nikon uses visual content to share their brand voice. Nikon has monthly contests for users who take photos with their cameras. The winners appear in the company’s Facebook cover photo.
As for Nikon’s brand voice, it’s inviting, engaging and curious. They’re always asking questions and want to know what you love about their products. Being active on Facebook helps them manage the more than 11.2 million people who have liked their Page.
Another great brand showcasing their voice on social is Shopify. This ecommerce software platform constantly promotes small and big businesses, entrepreneurship and productivity. You could easily think a business in this industry would be “boring” or use typical stock photos.
However, Shopify has an awesome Instagram full of bright, inviting and creative images. Their captions ask questions, tag useful keywords and always have a common brand voice of togetherness and working hard.
Be Proud of Your Brand
With so much commotion on social media, it’s hard to stand out. But when businesses develop and stick to an actionable brand voice, social media interactions suddenly get easier. Make sure you work to promote your brand voice and have a clear vision of how everyone sees your brand.