Your brand’s social voice should be as strong as the social content it posts.
What do Mariah Carey, Whitney Huston, Christina Aguilera, Aretha Franklin, and Beyonce Knowles have in common? They all have hit records written by prolific songwriters. Their strong voices along with great written content induced record-breaking singles. Naturally, the messages conveyed in these songs were enhanced by the strength of their voice.
Here’s how to strengthen your brand’s social voice:
Humanize Your Voice
Establishing clear and concise communications should be a major focal point for brands. Some brands avoid using language similar to what consumers use on social channels. They prefer using formal language to ensure all social communication is clear and not misconstrued.
Perhaps they fear communicating in this manner will diminish their brand. But will it diminish their brand or make it more “human?”
Here’s the dilemma:
Should a brand communicate efficiently or effectively?
I would love to know your thoughts in the comment section.
Since successful brands don’t communicate for communication’s sake, they do it to increase awareness, conversions, or to retain customers. To meet business objectives, I would suggest establishing a brand voice that communicates effectively. Although efficiency is beneficial, efficacy must be a priority to elevate consumer engagement.
Essentially, I categorize efficient communication as something derived from a non-human source, such as generic updates and automated responses. When consumers think of being social, they think of engaging with another person- a human being with feelings, emotions, and opinions. They will avoid non-human communication at all costs.
Bottomline: Efficient communication is not automated communication!
Domino’s experienced a backlash when consumers accused the pizza chain of automating social engagements. When a user complimented Domino’s Pizza on the brand’s Facebook page, a bot mistakenly replied with a message designed to field complaints.
Domino’s claims it was a human error, but I’ll let you be the judge. Does it matter if this message was sent from a bot or human? Nope. This generic response conveys how they automate their communication: whether it’s a human or not.
Most brands have previously conceptualized their brand voice for traditional communications such as advertising, public relations, and other marketing efforts.
Social media, however, is a different ball game.
It’s a medium where bilateral communication is prevalent and outright expected.
Unfortunately, many brands view their social media communications as an extension of their traditional communications. They’ll simply repost information displayed on their website, brochures or television commercials.
Sale! Sale! Sale! Buy my new book! Limited time offer! Get it while it lasts!
At first glance, communicating in this matter seems efficient but it’s certainly not effective—especially on social media.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Strengthening your brand’s social voice starts with allocating the necessary resources to properly engage with consumers. Businesses often throw interns, junior associates, or anyone who claims they understand social media into social engagements.
This is counter intuitive.
Naturally, social communication provides the most engagement and biggest “echo”.
As a result, businesses should put more resources into the social channel, not the television channel.
Communicating via social media is simply not enough. Responding to the “echos” makes your communications effective.
The best way to do this is by establishing a business structure that supports the ability to actively listen and engage with consumers.
Is it teaching your sales reps social selling? No.
Is it assigning an intern to manage your social communications? No.
Is it establishing a structure to develop content AND engage with consumers via social media? Darn right it is!
With all the content available for consumption, it’s difficult to keep a brand top of mind. Nowadays, it’s difficult to rise above the noise and grab your consumer’s attention. To stay relevant, I see brands cranking out new content as often as possible.
This actually reminds me of juggling.
When you see someone juggle, you’ll notice them preventing the ball from staying at the bottom too long.
If so, everything literally falls apart.
This action is similar to content production. Brands try to keep a stream of content at the top of consumers’ minds.
Unfortunately, they sometimes prioritize content creation over content engagement.
To strengthen your brand’s social voice, don’t fall victim to this habit. Understand that the value of engagement is just as valuable (or more valuable) as the content itself.
Having a strong brand voice is dependent on the structure and resources the business has established.
I suggest establishing a centralized structure when building a response team. It should be the responsibility of one group to monitor closely and respond to consumers as you release content.
If multiple people on your team manage the social communications, the tone of your company’s posts may differ depending on who publishes what content. The group should agree on how to post to ensure your brand has a consistent tone of voice.
Have A Voice And Be Heard
That’s right. Have a voice. Be heard.
Contribute to the conversations taking place in your consumer’s social world. Social engagement shapes conversations ranging from politics and celebrity to business and brand loyalty.
Without establishing a brand voice, you’ll end up waiting to jump into a conversation like a kid eagerly awaiting to jump-rope.
If you’ve established a brand voice, jumping in becomes easy.
Developing a strong brand voice means preparing to jump into conversations that are relevant to consumers that lead to fostering stronger relationships.
Steer clear of questionable conversations as the end result may not be what you expect. It’s important to understand where the conversation may lead.
Treat your conversation as you would when on your first date: avoid topics regarding politics or religion.
Ultimately, don’t let your social governance hinder your engagements. It shouldn’t prevent you from being an interesting brand.
Once you have established your brand’s tone of voice, now you can strengthen it. I suggest by developing a social communications playbook so all responsible parties are on the same page. If you ensure that everyone is in agreement about your brand’s voice, it will help alleviate questions or concerns about social conversations and how your company should respond.
As you strive for communication consistency, you’ll likely realize your brand’s social voice will not fit all scenarios that may arise.
Remember, it’s important to “stick to the script”. Follow your brand’s playbook to ensure consistency but maintain a certain level of spontaneity to keep your audience coming back for more.
That’s how you strengthen your brand’s social voice.
Image credits: Shutterstock