4 Reasons Why Social Media is the Best Place to Solidify your Brand Voice
Customers expect more from brands than they used to. Today, customers aren’t just looking for clever copy and stand-out products and services, but for brands who embody what they communicate in their campaigns. Customers are looking for brands to be more human. Humans not only hold a set of values, but they are also recognizable and distinguishable from each other, and therefore brands must be, too. But, of course, brands aren’t just one individual, they’re comprised of many different people filling many different roles. Brands can still embody values while being recognizable and distinguishable from others in the field, though. The best way to accomplish distinction and communicate what your brand stands for is by maintaining a consistent brand tone of voice. We conceptualize it like this: If your brand was a person who could speak, what would it say, and how?
Wendy’s is an excellent example of a brand that has crafted a recognizable brand voice:
Ok, we goofed. We meant to tell everyone we had Chicken Tenders, we just weren’t loud enough. So WE HAVE CHICKEN TENDERS. CHICKEN. TENDERS. WE HAVE THEM. THEY ARE VERY GOOD. https://t.co/hcQpic90lu— Wendy's (@Wendys) July 28, 2018
Brands once had only three ways to communicate with their audience—through radio, tv, and print ads. During this time, keeping a handle on brand voice was a much more straightforward task. However, these traditional ads tend to go only one way: a brand speaks to their audience without any response. Fortunately, the advent of social increased the communication options for brands. Now, instead of three main types of ad options, brands have an ever-expanding world of two-way communication, which includes social media, messaging, and reviews.
Brands have an ever-expanding world of two-way communication, which includes social media, messaging, and reviews.
As your organization grows and ventures into various types of digital communications, many brands fear that maintaining a consistent brand voice will become more challenging. This fear can hold brands back from fully engaging on social. Fear of losing control of your brand voice can also mean you aren’t taking full advantage of all that social has to offer, like an expanded content reach, the ability to identify untapped audiences, and forming mutually beneficial partnerships with other organizations and influencers.
We believe social can ground your brand’s tone of voice for four important reasons. First, social is an excellent way to flesh-out your brand’s voice as well as your communication style. With social, brands can understand the power of their content in real time, and adjust their voice accordingly. Also, social offers an elegant way for brands to experiment with their voice and switch-up their communication style if they’d like. We’ll explore this in more detail in what follows:
Hone your brand’s tone of voice
You can’t maintain a consistent tone of voice if you don’t prioritize honesty. In order to ensure that your brand is building your content and other communications from a place of authenticity, your brand’s tone of voice must highlight its core values. We’ve found that authenticity is one of the most important qualities consumers look for in brands. When you know what you stand for, you can make sure you’re consistently relaying that message to your audience. For example, when the Trump administration tried to reverse national monument status for two Utah parks, Patagonia immediately got involved:
Because environmental activism is central to Patagonia’s values, their voice comes through clearly, powerfully and authentically.
Keep in mind that your brand’s tone of voice doesn’t have to be flashy: you don’t need to choose a provocative tone (sarcastic, funny, irreverent) to make an impact on your audience. After all, authenticity is most important to consumers, not the specific types of communication your brand uses.
Get down to the sentence level
Aside from establishing what your brand stands for, your brand needs to understand how to properly convey it’s key values. Social is an excellent place to begin. Social posts, like those on Twitter or Facebook, are just a sentence or two long, and as such, your brand can experiment with things like how formal your writing will be—will you use abbreviations, how about emojis?—and which audiences you’re hoping to attract with your content. Take this recent ad from OkCupid that redefines common social media slang in a clever, memorable way:
OkCupid also ran the ads on billboards, demonstrating how a tone of voice and communication style developed on social can be incorporated into traditional ad forms.
Use social as an always-on focus group
If your brand posts regularly on social, each day is an opportunity to see which communications are compelling to audiences and which aren’t. If you get away from your core values and your content isn’t resonating with key audiences, you’ll know if you’re listening on social.
If your brand posts regularly on social, each day is an opportunity to see which communications are compelling to audiences and which aren’t.
Another excellent way to assert your brand’s voice is to define who your brand is not. For instance, your brand might be playful but not sarcastic, on-trend but not jargony, or witty but not cute. Again, if you’re paying attention to your brand’s social engagement, you’ll be able to tell when you miss the mark and when you strike gold. These lessons can be applied to all of your brand’s communications.
Revamp your tone on social
If you’re not crazy about your brand’s current voice or feel like it could use a boost, social can be an excellent way to innovate and experiment. For instance, Denny’s experiments quite a bit with their social, but their posts still resonate with audiences:
Customer: what do you recommend?— Denny's (@DennysDiner) August 4, 2018
Waitress: we make a mean Spicy Sriracha Burger
Spicy Sriracha Burger: your outfit is horrific
Customer: wow, that was hurtful. I’ll take it.
Social can help keep your brand’s tone of voice crystal clear, authentic, and compelling. Brand voices that are done right are easily distinguishable. You know you’ve developed a great tone of voice when your customers can recognize branded content without seeing your name, product or service.