We often pay a lot of attention to how brands look on social media but brand voice can be as influential as logo design, imagery and visual content. Brand voice is a term used to describe the way brands communicate. Having a brand voice enables businesses to showcase their unique personality. Brand voice is used whenever a business shares a post, writes a comment or responds to a follower, so it is essential that the tone is cohesive and consistent.
Social media started life as a network for keeping in touch with friends and making new connections. Today, it can be an incredibly powerful platform for brands looking to engage with customers, raise brand awareness and increase sales. Having a defined brand voice is beneficial for a host of reasons. It can help you stand out from the crowd, it promotes consistency and authenticity and it gives prospective customers an insight into the culture and ethos of your brand.
Globally, more than 3.6 billion people use social media. This figure is set to rise to over 4 billion by 2025. Web users spend an average of 144 minutes per day on social media. Following brands on social media is not just about finding out about the latest products for followers and customers. Figures suggest that over 60% of consumers believe engagement should be a priority for businesses.
How to establish a brand voice on social media
To establish a brand voice on social media, it’s important to follow these steps:
Determine your brand’s core values
Your brand’s core values should be an important part of the way you present your business. Consumer trends have evolved and today, customers are much more eager to buy from brands that align with their values. According to a 2020 Consumer Culture Report, over 70% of consumers want to buy from companies that share their core values. This figure rises to 83% among millennials.
Establishing core values is essential for companies across all sectors but this is only part of the task. Brands should utilize social media to inform customers and followers about these values and make sure they have an insight into what the brand is all about and what makes it tick. Your brand voice should reflect and celebrate your fundamental values. The way you create and share content and the interactions you have with social media users should provide information about what your brand stands for and what matters most to you.
When determining core values, it can be beneficial to write a list and create a brand mission statement. Here are some tips:
- Brainstorm ideas and think about which adjectives best describe your brand
- Determine which values are vital to the success of the brand
- Encourage employee input
- Prioritize values that matter most to you and think about how you want people to perceive your brand
Your mission statement should be:
- Clear, concise and succinct
- Sincere and authentic
- Distinctive: your values should set you apart from competitors
Review current content and determine what your target audience likes
Reviewing existing content and auditing and analyzing previous posts and online content can be helpful when establishing a powerful, unique brand voice on social media. Evaluating current content and looking at how different posts performed will provide you with useful information about what your target audience likes, what kinds of content and communication provoke a reaction and which posts don’t typically perform well.
Use the information you gather from auditing and reviewing your feeds and profiles, looking at feedback and utilizing analytics to inform decision-making going forward. Craft ideas and plans based on what your target customer likes and what they want to see from you. It’s crucial to recognize the importance of building customer relationships especially in an age where competition to attract attention on social platforms is fierce.
Statistics suggest that 80% of social media users view authenticity as the most important reason to follow brands. Research indicates that transparency is the second most important consideration behind engagement when determining best practices for brands.
Understand your target audience
Defining a target audience can help you establish a brand voice that will resonate with social media users and prospective customers. It is hugely beneficial to gather information about your ideal customer, to get to know them and to learn what motivates the decisions they make when choosing which brands to follow, which products to buy and which posts to engage and interact with.
There are several ways to gain a better understanding of your target market, including:
- Encouraging social media followers to leave feedback
- Carrying out surveys and questionnaires
- Organizing focus groups and virtual hangouts
- Using data and analytics to track social media activity and gain an insight into behavior and habits
Learning more about your target market and having a clear vision in mind when defining an ideal buyer can help you develop a strategy that will maximize your chances of achieving key objectives. You can use data, social listening and feedback to ensure that your brand voice is compatible with your target customer and to use your voice to generate positive reactions and responses. Utilize research to determine how you communicate, what kinds of posts to share and how to start conversations, inform followers about your values and showcase your brand in the best possible light.
Tailoring content and speaking to your audience in a way that builds positive relationships is critical for keeping followers interested and encouraging them to buy, subscribe or spread the word. Sprout Social statistics suggest that 45% of consumers stop following brands because the content is not relevant to them.
Create a brand voice style guide
Did you know that only 60% of marketers believe that their brand is aligned with the direction in which their company is going? The advantages of having a distinctive, powerful, influential brand voice are clear to see but how do you go about implementing measures to establish a voice and use it to boost your business? One of the most effective solutions is creating a brand voice style guide.
A style guide is an instruction manual, which influences how your brand is marketed and the voice you wish to use when communicating with clients or prospective customers. Your written guidelines should cover:
- Your brand story and background
- The tone of voice you wish to use and the personality of your brand
- Keywords and phrases you want to use to promote your brand and form connections with followers and customers
- Instructions related to grammar, language and tone
Your style guide should be relevant to all communications. You can adapt the key components based on the type of communications, for example, sharing content on social media. It is essential to have guidelines in place to ensure consistency across platforms and different types of media.
Be consistent across all social media channels
Many brands utilize an array of social media channels. No matter which platforms or apps you use, it’s essential to ensure consistency. If you have different people posting on different apps, there is a risk of your voice changing or becoming diluted. Use your style guide and written list of values to facilitate consistency and ensure that the entire team is aware of the importance of brand voice. Anyone who is connected to your business should be aware of the brand voice guidelines.
To improve consistency, it’s advantageous to have written instructions and policies but it’s also an excellent idea to encourage interaction and open communication between teams responsible for generating and sharing content and managing social media accounts. Talk openly about your core values, what makes your brand different, how your brand makes customers’ lives better and how you want people to perceive your brand.
Your brand voice and the tone you use should be consistent across all platforms, covering:
- Instant messaging and live chat
- Social media posts and interactions
Communicating in the same voice will reinforce messaging, highlight core values, provide clarity and prevent confusion. It can also help to enhance authenticity and give people a really clear perception of what your brand stands for and why it is different.
Statistics from Lucidpress suggest that consistent brand presentation can increase revenue by over 30%.
Having a distinctive, strong and recognizable brand voice can help your business thrive on social media. Consumers today want to interact with brands, learn about company ethos and culture.
Effective social media marketing allows businesses to build strong connections, build trust and learn more about their target audience. It is important for a brand voice to be clear, authentic, distinctive and consistent across all social platforms.