Oftentimes, B2B brands underestimate the importance of having a well-developed tone of voice, leaving customers drowning in a social media news feed flooded with sameness and business jargon.
Just because it’s B2B doesn’t mean it has to be boring. At the end of the day, we’re simply marketing to people.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA TONE OF VOICE GUIDE?
Social media tone of voice refers to the persona of your social media accounts. It’s the way you speak to your audience, and it affects how people perceive your company. Your company’s history, mission and values should all be reflected in your social media tone of voice.
It should be tailored to your target audiences, helping customers to connect with you on an emotional level. If done right, it gives your audience a feeling about your brand that lasts longer than the actual message you’re putting out there.
HOW TO DEVELOP A SOCIAL MEDIA TONE OF VOICE GUIDE
Start by compiling all your brand guidelines for reference during this process. Your social media tone of voice should tie back to your overall brand, acting as an extension of your brand across channels.
There are several exercises you can use to help define your brand’s tone of voice. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Brainstorm adjectives. Have your team submit a list of adjectives that represent your brand and culture. Review the list and brainstorm additional adjectives until you can agree on three or four that are truly representative of your brand’s voice. You can even put these on a scale with your chosen adjectives on one end and their opposites on the other end. Understand that your brand’s tone may shift along the scale based on the social moment.
- This, not that. This method helps you to define your brand tone, what sets you apart and what you don’t want to sound like. Providing these examples also helps to clarify how it’s applied when creating content.
- Celebrity alignment. Celebrity alignment is a good way to give your brand an identifiable voice. Think about what you want your brand to sound like and identify a celebrity with those qualities. For example, if you choose a comedian, you may want to sound less formal and more light-hearted. If you choose a more serious actor, you may want to portray a more professional tone.
- Personification. What would your brand sound like if it were an actual person? What does a day in their life look like? What do they do for work and eat for breakfast? Personifying your brand helps to give your brand a more personal, human feel.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Include examples for your team so they can better understand how to apply the guidelines and use them for future reference. Uber does a great job helping people understand how to implement their tone of voice guide by showing examples that are on- and off-brand.
Next, identify and prioritize your top social media channels. What role do each of these channels play in your customers’ journey? For example, you may use LinkedIn to communicate business updates, products and industry news in a professional manner while taking a more behind-the-scenes, friendly approach on Facebook.
Think about how you want your brand to look on social, include a condensed style guide with examples for what you want social media posts to look like.
Finally, incorporate hashtag usage and community management into your guide. Identify branded and nonbranded hashtags that make sense for your company. Decide how your brand will interact within relevant social media communities.
EAT, SLEEP, BREATHE IT
Once you’ve developed your company’s social media tone of voice guide, make sure to share it with your teams. Everyone should have a thorough understanding of the guide and how to implement it to ensure consistent communications.
Your brand tone of voice will continue to grow as your company grows and consumer behavior changes. This document should be fluid and grow with you.
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