Finding Your Social Voice
When you begin a marketing campaign, big or small, start by identifying your end goal and work backwards – and for most this second step will be focussing on your brand.
Dependent on the age of your business, you may already have a firmly established brand identity that is familiar to your target customer, whereas newer companies may have yet to go through this process. However, when you embark on your first social media campaign you are opening your business up to a whole new group of potential customers who do not know you and it is then that you need to be affirmative about who you are as a brand.
Transferring your brand onto social media
It is vital that you are assured of your brand when interacting on social media as existing and potential customers alike will base whether they use your service or purchase your products on how you act when social networking. Start your social media campaign by considering the following carefully, and select three words that apply to each:
- Know your tone – Who is your audience: is your target between 16 and 30 or 30 and 50? What type of product do you sell or service do you provide? Your tone should take into account all of this as well as the time of day, weather and seasonality in order to best engage with your audience.
- Who are you? – Ensure that the person who you are portrayed to be on social media is consistent even when there are several employees monitoring social activity. This should be decided upon before you begin your social media campaign in order to give your audience a familiar presence with whom they can identify and engage with – take into account whether you will talk in the first, second or third person also.
- Your language should reflect your business – This should take into account your audience and what your company does. For instance, a media agency or music magazine with a youthful following should use more informal and energetic language than a bank or economics magazine.
- What are you trying to do? – At the beginning of your social media campaign you set your goal, this should be at the front of your mind when you put anything out on social media. For instance, are you trying to educate or to entertain? Are you providing a niche service or breaking into the market with a whole new product? Whatever you are trying to do, your purpose should be immediately clear to your audience.
Create your social voice
Using the information provided from the above process, you should be left with 12 words that will help you structure your brand’s voice on social media, reduce these 12 to four and you will have a voice that can be maintained throughout your social media campaign.
Voice – Your brand’s personality in four words
Know your tone: direct
Your persona: inspiring
Your language should reflect your business: knowledgeable
Know your purpose: engage
Social media faux pas
It is far easier for a social media campaign to go wrong than it is to get it right – and when things take a turn for the worse, it’s in the public space. In recent years certain brands have learnt this the hard way; from billion dollar businesses like McDonald’s to political parties who have failed to grasp the impact a badly planned tweet can have on their campaign.
In 2012 McDonald’s launched the hashtag #McDStories in the hope that it would inspire nostalgic and heart warming stories from its audience. Instead the hashtag was turned on its head to become #McDHorrorStories and resulted in the campaign being pulled from Twitter within 2 hours.
By creating your own voice you are giving your customers someone to talk to and relate with, rather than a stream of consciousness that many social campaigns run the risk of turning in to. You are also bringing in a level of control that will enable you to naturally monitor what goes out on your feed with these criteria already in place. This will in turn, better enable potential customers to connect with your business and therefore increase your opportunities for conversions in the long term.
Danielle Middleton is a digital content writer for Peppermint Soda, the Manchester based PR agency who help their clients from a wide range of industries create successful, all round media driven campaigns.