How to define your own tone of voice for social media:
When it comes to content on social media, there are so many possible ways to stand out from the competition that the idea of defining your own tone of voice or brand voice is often neglected. The community’s desires are quite clear. They don’t simply want to be addressed in a neutral way, but are interested in authentic communication.
Before you can create your own tone of voice, it’s helpful to first define yourself in four areas:
Persona / character
What does your brand sound like? Imagine your brand as a person or character and name specific attributes that might fit the sound of your brand.
What moods does your brand convey?
What kind of words have you been using in your social media conversation so far?
Why is your brand represented on social media in the first place?
These four areas can help give you a clear idea of the “general voice” of your brand.
To define your tone of voice even more closely, it is useful to understand what your customers’ expectations are. Customers don’t just want something to talk about, they want someone to talk to. In other words, give your brand a face and let a real personality shine through, because customers want a connection, not just information.
Imagine that social media is like a huge cocktail party. There is a useful comparison that also applies to tone of voice: at a cocktail party, you wouldn’t introduce yourself to other guests by saying, “Hi, my name’s XY and my prices are extremely low.” Instead, you would probably ask questions, listen to people’s responses, tell stories and relate to what you are told. At least partially observing these conventions of conversation in your exchanges with the community is another step towards defining your own tone of voice.
Apart from that, if you’re looking for your tone of voice, search for adjectives. Once you have discovered the adjectives that best describe your brand, you will have found your tone of voice. There are several different ways to determine appropriate adjectives, some of which are presented below:
Ask the right questions
If your brand were a person, what would its personality be like?
How would your brand relate to your customers? (As a friend, a teacher or a father…)
Name adjectives that do NOT describe the personality of your company.
Are there other companies that embody a similar personality? What makes these companies similar?
What should your customers think of your company?
Ask the right people
You can adapt the list of questions yourself or with your team. Each person or group interviewed will probably have their own point of view. However, this is not a bad thing, because it gives you new perspectives and allows you to work on a clearer way of standing out.
With customers you can even go one step further and use their interactions on social media to find out how they perceive the tone of voice of your brand so far:
What “tone” do your customers use to communicate with each other?
How do they communicate with other companies?
Which messages/posts do they share most often?
Which other companies/brands do they follow?
In order to establish your own tone of voice, it is helpful to create templates for each type of content/channel:
Type of content: What do you write?
Readers: Who would you like to address?
Emotions: How does the reader feel? What sort of environment do they evolve in?
Tonality: Use adjectives that describe the desired tonality of your content.
Example: Show a sample text that conveys how your content should sound.
Tips: Explain best practices for this type of content.
In practice, this could look like this:
Type of content: Tweets
Readers: Potential customers
Emotion: The customer would like to receive interesting content and information quickly.
Tonality: Helpful, informative, clear, accessible
Example: “Did you know? The 8-hour workday was invented to make people work less. We’ve got all the details.”
Tips: Use questions. Avoid authority. Invite people to experience and discover new things.
We hope that our hints have brought you one step closer to defining your tone of voice. We would be happy to help you with the further development of your tone of voice, especially if it needs to be translated into other languages.