Give your business a social media identity
The way we choose to communicate says a lot about us, and this applies to companies just as much as it does to human beings.
When most small businesses first create social media accounts, they’re just thinking that this is a new way to get information to their customers. But if you haven’t thought carefully about your brand voice, you may be missing opportunities to connect – or worse, alienating customers!
What is a brand voice?
Put simply, a brand voice is the way that your brand communicates with the outside world – the tone you use and the style of your writing. If you haven’t thought about it, you’ve probably just defaulted to using your own voice and style when writing social media posts, but this isn’t always the best route.
Why does brand voice matter?
Brand voice matters for the same reason that marketing personas matter – if you want to communicate effectively with your customers, you need to know who your customers are and how they like to be talked to. Middle aged business executives and 20 year old college students respond better to different styles of communication.
If you want to get the biggest bang for your social media buck, you owe it to yourself to spend at least a few minutes thinking about your ideal customers and the right brand voice that can best reach them.
How to create your brand voice
Your brand voice serves as the personality of your company. Should your brand present itself as an authoritative expert or as a fun-loving goofball? If you want to figure that out, you need to think about a few things.
1. Identify your audience
First things first – you need to consider who you’re going to be talking to. If you’re working for a web startup, your ideal audience will likely be tech and financial people. If you’re working for a burger restaurant, your ideal audience might be college students and young professionals.
Most marketing experts recommend that companies create “customer personas” to represent your ideal customers. You can have more than one if you’re trying to appeal to people from multiple walks of life. These should be detailed descriptions of a fictional person that you keep in mind when you’re creating content.
For example, I could say one of my ideal customers is Candace, a small business owner. She’s no-nonsense and focused on the bottom line, but she’s also overworked, like many entrepreneurs. She’s interested in anything that will help her manage her business more effectively, especially if it can save her time.
2. Identify how to communicate to that audience
Take a look at the customer personas you’ve created. Think about how these fictional people would prefer to communicate. Do they prefer a light, playful tone? Are they seeking interesting or useful information? Do they like sharing funny gifs or do they prefer technical data?
Candace, the persona I created, doesn’t have time to screw around. She’s going to quickly evaluate any content she sees to determine if it’s useful to her. If I want to create something that she’ll appreciate, it needs to get to the point right away and provide her with something of value. If I create some long, rambling post that starts with an anecdote, she’ll click away before she gets to the good stuff.
But in contrast, the customers YOU are trying to reach might appreciate a storytelling approach. That’s why it’s so important for each business to identify who their customers are and what they want. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and you need to make sure you’re communicating in a way that your customers will be receptive to.
3. Be consistent
Once you’ve figured out how to connect with your ideal customers, your job is to make your messaging consistent everywhere you talk to them. Obviously, this work will be most useful for you on social media, where you have the most opportunity to interact with customers.
However, you should also keep it in mind when you’re creating anything else that your customers will see. From blog posts to newsletters to advertisements, establishing a consistent brand voice helps to earn the public’s trust. If someone reads one of your blog posts and likes it, you can be pretty sure that they’ll also like your social media accounts and find your advertising appealing.
Brand voice doesn’t have to be complicated
It’s easy to make the concept sound complicated, but creating a brand voice is something most people will just do naturally. The important thing is to think about the effect your voice can have on your customers instead of just defaulting to something like your own voice. If you’re going to have an impact, make it intentional.