In my previous article, I shared an effective way to interact with your customers online. Today let’s talk about how to find your authentic brand voice on social media. This is part III of my blog series on building connections on social media.
Many brands starting on social media are often clueless on what to do after creating their account. They know the importance of engaging their followers but are unsure how to do it. They resort to trial and error methods and hope that one of them would hit the mark (spell “B-L-A-C-K-B-E-R-R-Y” one letter every comment without interruption!). If you are unsure of what to do, you can start by first determining your brand voice on social media.
Every brand has a voice
Whether it is a start-up brand or a Fortune 500 brand, all brands use a voice each time they communicate to their customers. The tone and language brands choose to use (or use without much consideration) is what we call their brand voice. A brand voice is often overlooked and under-utilised when interacting with customers online.
Your brand voice exemplifies the personality and identity of a brand - an important factor in the establishment of truly deep emotional connections with your customers. If you were to look at all the world’s most effective brands, they all have a confident, consistent yet unique voice that enables their customers to identify with them. Brands like Nike have always used their unique voice to support their marketing campaigns and reinforce their authentic athletic attitude.
Finding your brand voice is critical in the age of social media
A few months ago, Hubspot released an infographic that revealed some thought-provoking stats on consumers’ behaviour on social media:
- 81% of consumers have “unliked” or blocked a company’s post from their Facebook news feed
- 71% of consumers are now more selective about liking a company’s Facebook page than they were last year.
- 41% of consumers have “unfollowed” a company on Twitter in the past year.
This means now more than ever, it is important to create a strong voice in social media for your brand. Take Taco Bell for example. Taco Bell uses its brand voice very well whenever they interact with their customers. Their bold, cheeky, fun, and sometimes scandalous tweets seem to always gather many retweets. It’s also unsurprising that Taco Bell responds to almost everything, even tweets that are totally random. By using a consistent voice each time they interact with their customers online, they gained a unique identity and stood apart in the cluttered world of Twitter.
Before you open a new social media account, take the time to find your brand voice. If you have already been engaging in social media but have not develop your brand voice, it’s still not too late to start. You can develop your brand voice on social media by following the 3 steps below.
1. Define your brand personality
All brands need a clearly defined personality. A brand personality is the first step in establishing the brand voice. A brand that is creative, spirited, fun will speak with a completely different voice to a brand that is technical, corporate, and systematic. Trampoline, a gelato brand in Australia, is one brand with a clear sense of personality and a strong brand voice.
To define your personality, consider these questions below:
Brand Essence - What are the essences of your brand? What does your brand hope to achieve? What services or products do your brand provide? If you have trouble coming up with your brand essence, look up your brand vision and mission statement.
Brand Values - What traits do your brand value the most? What values sum up how your brand connects emotionally with your customers? What do you want your customers to feel when they use your products and services? Family-orientated? Fun? Cool? Simplicity? Privacy?
2. Understand your customers
The clearer you know who your customers are, the better you understand them, the more rapport you have with them, the greater your chances to develop a brand voice in social media that will resonate with them. Different groups of people have their own distinctive “dictionary” with unique phrases and definitions. Find out what kind of tone and language they enjoy communicating with.
For example, connecting with teenagers requires a different tone and language to connecting with granddads. Similarly, talking to customers in a financial service requires different terms and jargons than customers in an IT service.
3. Find the most effective way to engage
After defining your brand personality and knowing who your customers are, the next step is to find out the most effective way to reach your audience. Different types of content and social media platforms exist for different purposes. Knowing which one to use can help you to connect better with your customers. For a lot of times, a combination of different types works well together. Here is a guide to help you determine which one(s) is best for your brand.
Purpose -What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve? Are you working to educate your customers? Do you want to entertain them, and get them to visit your site? And even if you do want to promote your stuff, what can you give them to help them be engaged by your brand?
Know where your customers are - Do you know which social media platforms your customers are on? For example, many teens think that Facebook is no longer cool.
Once you have done the 3 steps above, you are well on your way to start developing your unique brand voice. Find a language that is authentic, natural and intuitive, and then strive to be consistent whenever you engage your customers.
For a start you may want to come up with a mantra sheet for your brand’s voice that you can refer to. This mantra sheet should contain your brand voice attributes and some of the buzzwords which describe your brand and which you want to use when it is appropriate to. You may also want to add some “dos and don’ts” guidelines to help you decide the type of language and content to create.
The bottomline is this: Having an authentic and unique brand voice provides the foundation for building consistent brand experiences with the ability to connect truly and deeply with your customers, so find your authentic brand voice on social media today.
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