Recognize your Social Media followers as friends rather than dollar signs. Now communicate to them with the same tone and approach as you would to an actual friend, simple. Of course there are a few more details to understand when it comes to nailing your social media ‘voice’, so we have decided to make it as clear and simple for you.
There is no perfect answer for all social media ‘voices’ as they need to be customized to every brand. Your ‘voice’ is defined by the whole body of work and must be consistent, or you will seem unreliable. Of course there is an exception at the beginning, as you tweak and develop this identity.
So why is a brands ‘voice’ so important?
Tone of voice is just as important to your brand as anything else. It really connects your brand to its valuable followers by creating a personal and approachable face. While remaining semi-professional and smart, it allows for a natural conversation. Your audience will feel like they are contributing and are apart of the community created from such an interactive environment.
A small survey was conducted by Software Advice to find out whether people rather casual or formal communication when dealing with a company. The results support our idea of a personal approach and show that 65% of customers of all ages prefer a casual approach.
It is extremely important to not only think about your tone, but what is actually said and the purpose behind it. Really do your research before posting or responding. Think about the #hashtag, the image, the joke, and post topic and whether it is appropriate. A perfect example of what not to do is seen by Black Milk Clothing with the image seen to the right. Under no circumstance should you ever talk down to your very valuable followers, majority or minority.
For the Freelancers out there, it is expected even more from you to communicate with personality. It really engages your audience and helps them feel like they are communicating to you and not a personal assistant or generated response.
Here are five key/summarized points to remember when developing your brand ‘voice’:
- Know your audience. Understand their social expectations and language well. See how they communicate to each other and what interests they have. Will it work for your brand? If it doesn’t fit, than maybe you are targeting the wrong audience?
- What are similar successful brands doing? Do some environmental scanning of similar brands and how they communicate, and determine its success. Do they engage, do they inform, do they joke. This will be a huge push to the right direction.
- Friends not dollar bills. Followers are customers/stakeholders who now have the power to interact and have a say. It is important to treat them accordingly and create a personal relationship with them. Social media has taken it to the next level.
- Judge Well. Really think about the situation at hand and what social media platform is being used. Does the casual approach you use for Facebook really work on places like Twitter? When people are upset, will a formal approach be less upsetting or will it seem careless?
- Learn from your mistakes and others. Just like the example from Black Milk Clothing, there are many existing social media fails to learn from. If you happen to make one yourself, recognize it, fix it, and grow stronger.
A few Facebook examples have been gathered and examined:
NAB is a corporate company and therefore must come across tasteful and professional. They have done a wonderful job incorporating friendliness into their personalized responses to these customers. Despite the first comment being a negative post from an unhappy customer, they apologized sincerely and asked what the issue was to help solve it. Their tone is very polite and has stopped the customer from continuing with their complaint.
BEGINNINGS BOUTIQUE is a fashion boutique targeted at teenage girls and young adults. They have very bright and fun imagery which sets the standard and gives off a friendly and creative impression to followers. A common theme in their brand ‘voice’ is the same as ones best friend. They want their girls to feel special and a part of the team. Someone who is ‘cool’ enough to be included in the conversation. This example shows just how including they are. This might not be appropriate for certain businesses, but has proven successful for Beginnings Boutique.
Social Media is now a really important tool for brands, so having discussions about these topics is very important for the online community. Please share your insights and ideas in the comment box below. Let’s keep the conversation going.