Does your organisation have a social media tone of voice? What even is a tone of voice? How do you come up with one?
Your tone of voice on social media can make or break a conversation with customers and prospects — so it’s essential to get it right. Learn some takeaways from our social media training academy to craft the right tone of voice on social media
Make a Tasty Tone of Voice
Each social media post is trying to convey a message and tell your audience a specific piece of information. Imagine that your content is food, providing the nutritional value that we all need. Your tone of voice is the flavour of that food and can determine if people come back for more or leave you a bad Yelp review.
Take Calculated Risks
Larger corporate companies tend to be more risk-averse and play it safer on social media. Unfortunately, in a world where there are now 6,000 tweets per second, you’ll quickly fade into the white noise if you don’t speak up.
A great example of an organisation with an ‘out there’ tone of voice is Innocent Drinks. Prepare for pop culture references, tv commentary and of course, “blue” smoothies; all with a hilariously self-deprecating tone. They make people talk, laugh and engage, regardless of whether they’re interested in delicious fruity drinks or not.
You’ve been prescribed a dose of Tuesday. Side effects include drowsiness, more drowsiness, and even more drowsiness. Take once weekly.
‚Äî innocent drinks (@innocent) November 12, 2019
Innocent have committed to the wacky, playful tone of voice; and pull it off to the envy of social media marketers worldwide. They know their audience inside out and can connect with them on everyday things that we all have in common.
Invite Your Audience In
Whether you’re private or public sector, people love to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Your audience will build a deeper connection with your organisation if they see the people behind it and feel involved in their work.
Redrow Homes invite their audience on a behind-the-scenes tour of one of their housing developments to see what goes into building their homes.
Would you like an #exclusive behind-the-scenes look at our development in #Towcester? Grab your #boots and head down to Burcote Park on Saturday 5 October for a guided tour of the site! üë∑ Find out more here: https://t.co/1g1kcypBen pic.twitter.com/dHEJ1btrRE
‚Äî Redrow Homes (@RedrowHomes) October 4, 2019
Choose a Tone of Voice
If you haven’t got one already, now is the time to nail down your tone of voice. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you! Work through these exercises and see your brand voice come alive.
Personifying your brand
If your organisation could be a personality, who would it be? Would it be wacky and whimsical like Noel Fielding or passionate and focused like Elon Musk?
Pick out the characteristics of that person and see how they fit with your business. Would you want someone warm and funny to engage your audience, but also focused and level-headed in a crisis?
The 4 Aspects of Brand Voice
Filling in each of these four aspects will really flesh out your tone of voice and give your team something to look back on for every piece of content. Take a bit of paper and get thinking!
- Character: If someone is interacting with your organisation in real life, how would they describe that experience?
- Language: What sort of words will you be using? If your organisation is localised to one region, use the local language to connect with your very local audience.
- Tone: We know that this whole exercise is for figuring this out, but try and think more precisely about the exact tone you’re taking with your audience.
- Purpose: What are you trying to do with your content? If you say you want to do everything, what do you want to do most? Do you want to educate your audience rather than sell to them, or just inspire?
Your tone of voice guidelines don’t have to be massive essays; sometimes, a simple sentence can say everything. This also makes it easier for your team to check their content against.
Our academy lesson on developing your voice will give you all the info you need to get your tone of voice down on paper. Helen also throws in some great examples of different characteristics to help you decide.
Record Your Tone of Voice
While it may not be written in a dedicated ‘tone of voice’ document, your organisation may already have values of a particular tone of voice. Go one step further and fully define it, then record it in your social media strategy.
If you’re a public sector organisation, you’re likely going to be helpful and educate your audience; making up a part of your voice. The rest will be down to the direction you want to go in and how committed you are to building that unique presence.
Keep Your Social Media Voice Consistent
The most successful organisations keep their voice consistent, no matter how goofy. Whatever direction you choose to go in, you must stay consistent and commit to it in all your content. If you don’t, you risk looking inauthentic and will lose trust with your audience.
Regardless of what your mother told you when you were younger, you can’t just ‘be yourself’. You have many different sides to your personality; you on a Saturday night will be wildly different to you on a Monday morning. Defining your tone of voice gives you direction, so you keep that consistency across your content.
Your tone of voice is woven into everything you do on social media, so it’s essential to get it right. Plan it all out when writing your social media strategy and ensure that all colleagues commit to your guidelines.
For more examples and extra nuggets of insight, watch the full lesson on developing your tone of voice in our free social media training academy!