What exactly defines someone’s personality? Is it their demeanor? Tone? Sense of humor and mannerisms? A personality is complex, but it’s an integral part of what sets one person apart from another. Having a personality is just as important to a brand as it is to a person, especially in an age where social media has an ever-increasing role in marketing.
As marketers in the social media age, humanizing your brand and making a big company feel like your close personal friend is easier than ever, and developing a definitive brand voice for your social media presence is the best way to seize the opportunity. Not sure where to start? We’re taking a look at how to develop a brand voice, why you should care, and what brands are the best in the biz with showcasing their personality
How to Define Your Brand Voice
Defining your brand voice is an important aspect of a brand as a whole; your voice is the first thing that will help a consumer understand what your brand is all about. There can be a lot to consider when choosing an angle, but here are a few of the big ones:
Talk the Talk of Your Target Audience
To speak to your target in the most effective way, walk a mile in their shoes. Aiming for millennials? Go for casual and colloquial. A B2B brand trying to reach high level execs? More formal is the way to go. If your ideal consumer is especially knowledgeable about your subject, industry jargon will help your brand fit right into topical conversation. When your brand’s subject matter requires some education for your audience andpertains to something not well known or obscure, simple and clear language will communicate your message best. Know your audience and you’ll know how to best speak to them (and with them), simple as that.
Adapt to the Tone of Social Platforms
Just as different audiences speak differently, different platforms lend themselves to different language. LinkedIn, for example, is a professional networking site where formal language and longer form posts thrive. Twitter is more suited for one-liners, sarcasm, and short, sweet, to the point language, and is ideal for simpler topics and ideas that require less explanation. If the shoe (or the platform) fits, it can guide you toward what style of brand voice is best for you.
Define Your Personality Traits
A great way to nail down your brand’s personality is to do the “We’re this, not that” exercise. Knowing your brand’s main message and your target audience, you can create a mini language style guide with phrases like this:
We are knowledgeable, but not condescending.
We are sarcastic, but not rude.
We are quirky, but not silly.
These traits will influence everything from tone to word choice to punctuation. Would your brand say “Check this out!” or “Learn more about our new product”? Would emojis enhance your brand’s fun-loving style or come across to your audience as immature? Completing an exercise like this one can be especially beneficial if you have more than one person running your social handles so everyone can stay on the same page and your voice stays consistent.
Note: If being sassy or silly doesn’t work for your brand, fear not! It’s not the only way to get noticed from social, and consumers won’t kick to you to the curb if you’re not cracking jokes. According to a new report from Sprout Social, consumers value honesty, friendliness, and helpfulness above funniness.
Who’s Doing It Right
Your brand’s voice on social media is a powerful way to extend your message. It gives you countless opportunities to reiterate, emphasize, and give your brand’s message reach that it may not have otherwise. With all of that at the tips of your fingers, it’s hard to not want to create a voice that holds true to what your brand stands for.
For example, Merriam-Webster plays to its smart subject matter through witty, timely, dry humor that fits perfectly with who it is, a respected resource for knowledge.
📈Lookups for 'atrocity' are up over 5200%. No one is looking up 'basic'. https://t.co/jrYYCNFWwl— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) May 10, 2017
Computer networking company Cisco perfectly showcases that B2B social content doesn’t have to be boring. It’s possible to add a little bit of flair to a straight forward and still professional voice.
Fast food restaurant Wendy’s has recently gained plenty of notoriety for its sassy, funny and sometimes a little-bit weird brand voice that has become its most distinguishing trait.
.@McDonalds So you’ll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend.— Wendy's (@Wendys) March 30, 2017
Brand sass has been a trend picking up a lot of steam (with a lot of sports franchises, like the NHL, getting in on the fun), but be sure that sarcasm is good fit for your brand before you mimic this bold brand.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, social media can be your most powerful marketing ally, or your worst marketing enemy. In an environment in which competitors surround you everywhere you turn, giving yourself a distinct personality is the easiest way to cut through the clutter. Social media gives us the connection that creates loyal customers and brand advocates, so don’t miss the opportunity to show off what makes you, you.