Social media has become a marketing powerhouse. Isn’t it crazy that not even ten years ago, social media wasn’t even a blip on a digital marketer’s radar? Now platforms like Facebook and Twitter (yes, we know there are many more) are an integral part of any viable strategy.
There are plenty of things you need to do to be successful on social media–use images properly, post frequently, interact with other accounts–but one of the most important is often overlooked: maintaining a brand voice. But how does a company that’s just starting out find their voice and maintain it to grow their presence online?
Finding Your Voice
Before you use a brand voice, you have to find one, but this is easier said than done. First, do some soul searching. Think about the following when trying to find your voice:
- What is your target audience?
More importantly, who is your target audience? Are they old? Young? Male? Female? Your brand voice will change depending on who you’re trying to talk to. After all, you wouldn’t talk to your grandma the same way you’d talk to your 14-year-old niece, would you? When developing your voice, talk to your audience the way you would talk to them. Whether that’s as an authority, as a friend, a mentor, or a goofball.
- What describes your brand?
There are thousands of adjectives out there, but bear with us. In your head, try to choose just five adjectives that describe your brand. Helpful? Happy? Smart? Sassy? The words you choose will help determine how your brand is perceived online. It also helps you get to the core of your brand: what’s truly important to how you’re perceived.
- How should others see your brand?
This one can be tricky if you’re a business owner. It’s difficult to take a step back from the company you’ve created and see it with fresh eyes. Instead of thinking about your company, think about how others perceive your brand. More importantly, what do they want your brand to be to them?
Think of your brand as a person in relation to your audience. If you’re selling retirement services, you’d probably want to come off as educated, smart, successful, and sophisticated. If you’re a clothing brand for teens, you probably want to create a voice with a bit more of an attitude.
Do you have any companies that you think have done a great job developing their brand voice on social media? Accounts like Wendy’s or Burger King might come to mind, but are they really doing anything different? There are plenty of other great examples, like Target or Olay. These brands to a great job of talking to their core demographic without alienating others that want to join the conversation. When you jump on bandwagons like Wendy’s or other big brands do, you’re not only dating your content, but also removing a large chunk of your market from the conversation.
Creating Your Personality
Now that you know your audience and your brand, it’s time to craft the personality that will be having conversations online on your behalf. What better way to do that than think of your brand as a person, an individual who lives in the online sphere.
N.b. This is a great exercise not only for social media, but for all online publication. Ebooks, blogs, website copy, and social media can all take different tones, but all of the core brand voice tenants you create in this step should remain constant through your communications.
Once you develop the five core qualities of your brand’s personality, it’s time to put them to use. Who is the person that embodies those qualities? Let’s look at an example:
Pressable – Jennifer – Web Developer
Reliable, smart, resourceful, helpful, nerdy, fun
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, … Shhhhh. It’s our blog.
Pressable, like most of our customers, is about WordPress. But not just WordPress: managed WordPress hosting. We need to be reliable, because nobody likes a down site. We also need to be smart so we can help our customers when things go wrong, act as a resource for them no matter what the problem is. And, because we’d otherwise be pretty boring if we didn’t, we need to do all this in a fun, cheeky, and engaging way.
Who is this smart, resourceful developer? She’s probably in her mid to late 30s, and has been developing applications, websites, and plugins for quite some time. She goes out with her work friends every Wednesday for pub trivia, and is the person the team always turns to when it comes to Star Trek questions.
Maintaining and Evolving Your Voice
Once you have your brand voice, it’s important to stick with it. Like we said earlier, your voice should work across all media, whether it’s on your social media or on your website.
Keep in mind, though, sometimes things change. Just like a person, brand personas grow and evolve with their experiences. Starting a new marketing campaign? How does your persona fit in? More importantly, which of your qualities will you leverage for different parts of the campaign? Or will this campaign change your brand voice? Is this campaign growing your voice into new territory?
Right now (with this post, we mean) we’re trying to be a resource for marketing gurus and noobs alike. After all, you’re never too good to go over the basics! But in other pieces, we might decide we want to be smart or funny or anything in between.
Your voice should be able to adapt. It should be able to take on all shapes and sizes no matter the medium, because the end goal is still the same: to project the image you want for your customers.
Use Your Voice
Do you have your brand voice yet? Or do you have an existing brand voice that you’re starting to rethink? It’s important to revisit your brand voice every once in a while to ensure you’re keeping up with what you set out to do, your mission, and your goals as a business. And if your brand voice isn’t working, don’t be afraid to revisit it. Remember, your brand voice should be:
- Adaptable: able to work in multiple media.
- Consistent: don’t switch up your voice every time you create something new.
- A Mirror: your brand voice should reflect your company and its values.
Share your brand persona with us on Twitter (bonus points if it has a name!) and we’ll share our favorites. Having trouble developing a voice of your own? We work with tons of talented marketing and branding agencies that can help with just that. Check out our Strategic Partner Program for help on anything and everything WordPress, from SEO and marketing to development and project management.