Often this involves several more questions, but first and foremost, it is absolutely essential that you find your voice first. Many confuse voice and tone, or conflate them as a single concept. However, the simplest way is to think of it is in terms of your ‘voice’ being representative of your brand. Gather Content defines the voice as being a ‘personality trait’. So to determine your voice, ask yourself:
- What words would I use to describe my brand?
- What does my brand stand for?
Basically, your brand’s voice is its personality and mission statement. The tone you use is the way in which you deliver your voice. Tone is comprised of the style of language you implement to express your purpose.
For example, a charity organisation would have a ‘caring’ voice. When engaging with sponsors or businesses, they would adopt a direct, professional tone, supported by statistics and reports on how their organisation is meeting their goal. When engaging with the general public, they might utilise personal stories and creative ideas to establish an empathetic connection with their audience. In the end, it is the same message they are conveying to both audiences, but the company is using different tones to achieve this.
The same idea applies to social media. Your audiences across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are different types of people. What may be appropriate on Twitter will not be appropriate on LinkedIn, so it is important to realise what you should be saying, and how you should be saying it.
Once you know what your brand is and what you want to say, the next step is figuring out how your brand’s personality best relates to your audience. Would it be best for your brand to connect as a witty friend, the knowledgeable aunt or a thoughtful business partner?
Here are a few general tips:
Tweets: Keep your tweets short and sweet. As a fast paced platform, it’s good to have a tone that is personal, direct and witty. Commenting on day to day activities or relating your brand to lifestyle and popular culture would not go amiss. An informal but articulate tone is most effective here.
Facebook: Here you have more leeway to be informative while maintaining a personal, warm tone. It is also easy to establish a daily or weekly post theme. For example, a cosmetics brand might provide make-up tips every Friday, or a chef might post a recipe link or video every day. This is a particularly good platform for engaging customers in discussion on a more personal level. You want them to be able to relate to you.
LinkedIn: Remember that this is a business centric network. Your content should be polite and professional, though warm in tone. Support your content with statistics where you can and well researched studies.
Blogging: The important thing to remember about blog content is that it aims to be informative, but the focus must be on how your content is beneficial for your audience. You want to tell your target audience about your brand without sounding narcissistic or self-focused. Depending on whether your content is written in a B2C or B2B context, the level of ‘jargon’ (whether that’s marketing or scientific) should vary. You are writing for your clients, so don’t focus primarily on promoting your company, rather emphasise how your company is relevant to them.