I came across a really helpful blog post on buffersocial about finding your social media voice. Kevan Lee writes “How to Find Your Social Media Marketing Voice: The Best Examples, Questions and Guides” …Hint: Authenticity is at is core.
As we’ve been discussing over the last several weeks, people engage with social media when there is genuine conversation occurring, not when a brand is talking at us. This is where voice becomes so important. Your voice humanizes your brand… Your brand becomes a personality, not just a product. And that’s how conversation begins.
The author first breaks down the difference between voice and tone:
Voice: Your brand personality described in an adjective. For instance, brands can be lively, positive, cynical, or professional.
Tone: A subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds specific flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel.
There is one voice for your brand, and within that voice, different tones that refine it. Voice is the mission statement, while tone is the application of that mission.
The first key step is defining your voice. The author suggests a keyword exercise during the “voice discovery stage.” Look for keywords around the office and come up with a central theme. Look at the three C’s of your organization… Culture, community, and conversation. What adjectives come to mind when you think about where you work?
Once you’ve defined your voice, it’s time to apply it. The author’s advice to be authentic and consistent really resonated with me, particularly on these four points:
- Your tone needs to feel authentic, not forced.
- Avoid inconsistencies. Don’t interject sudden moments of cutesiness in copy that otherwise feels casual.
- Beware of attempts to be funny! They rarely come off as funny… and they tend to be embarrassing for everyone when they fall flat.
- Don’t forget context and busy-ness! Your tone shouldn’t be so thick that people who are in a rush or on their mobile devices feel burdened by it. Put usability before tone.
The post also points to examples of brands with distinct voices. The author mentions one of my favorite brands, Warby Parker – a glasses company with a customer-centered approach to voice and tone, involving their audience through photos, contests, and questions. They keep it simple and classic, with their social mission (buy a pair, give a pair) backing their “do good” vibe.
One of my favorite things about Warby Parker’s social media presence is their @WarbyBarker Instagram feed… An extension of their online media channels, @WarbyBarker replaces the humans with dogs, while maintaining the exact same voice throughout.
OK, so this picture would still be great without any text. But it’s their understated, cultivated voice within the caption that contributes to their overall identity. It’s that undefinable, little-something extra that goes a long way for brand engagement.