Tone of Voice for Social Media – One Tone to Rule Them All?

Posted by on Oct 27, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Tone of Voice for Social Media – One Tone to Rule Them All?

Has your brand got a tone of voice?

Taking the time to establish your brand’s tone of voice will give people across your company the skills to write more effectively. This in turn will help the entire business to work more efficiently.

But above all, if you’ve got a clear tone of voice for your brand, you can ensure that everyone who speaks for your company is doing so in the right voice.

In this guest post, brand tone of voice specialist Heather Atchison argues that all brands are social, and that the most successful businesses are those that take the time to develop their unique voices.

Does Your Brand’s Tone of Voice Apply to Social Media?

Which of these statements do you agree with most?

1. It’s unrealistic to expect different types of communication in a business to be in the same tone of voice.

2. There should be one consistent voice across an organisation, in everything from operational correspondence to social media.

3. Brands need clear tone of voice principles that teams across the business know how to adapt to their own context.

I’m an advocate of number three – or perhaps number two, with the proviso that it shouldn’t be a straitjacket. After years of helping businesses create and use tone of voice, I take a pragmatic approach to making it work.

Your Brand’s Tone of Voice Should Work in Practice, Not Just in Theory.

And not only in some areas of the business.

For your brand to have real credibility, people need to have a consistent experience wherever they interact with you.

If your organisation says it’s one thing, yet sounds like something very different at any point of the customer journey, folks will simply lose faith.

With more and more employees speaking and writing on behalf of businesses these days, it’s more important than ever that everyone – not just your marketing team – really understands how to communicate your organisation’s personality.

This doesn’t mean that everything should sound exactly the same. It means building an understanding in teams across the business of the kind of personality you want to get across.

You need to work with everyone – from HR to corporate communications and your social teams – to give them the awareness and skills to create the right impressions in the people they’re writing to.

All Brands Are Social.

The key is to focus on what emotions and impressions you want to create, and to lay down tailored guidance for different teams on how best to do this.

The techniques you might use in, say, a corporate report, will be slightly different to ones you’d use on Facebook or Twitter. But the end result – the impressions you leave of your brand – should be the same.

Take Pret A Manger, the ubiquitous UK sandwich shop. At every touchpoint – whether it’s on a recruitment poster, on a napkin, or on their website – you get a real sense of their brand personality from their tone of voice.

Not many brand sustainability strategies sound like this:

Brand Tone of Voice - Pret A Manger

Like all of their written content, this sounds down to earth, kind, a little maverick. Their voice shows their values, wherever you hear it.

Establishing a framework to bring about this kind of consistency requires a lot of time, attention and investment. But a good tone of voice, well thought through and properly rolled out, can bring huge benefits.

The Benefits of a Brand Tone of Voice:

– Clarity and confidence around what the brand stands for and how to speak for it.

– A shared understanding and better relationships between teams such as corporate communications and social.

– Increased awareness of the people at the receiving end of communications.

– Skills in applying the brand voice in different situations.

And for people outside the organisation, it’s simple: A consistent voice that’s true to your brand builds trust. This is something that every business wants, and that few truly have.

Brand Tone of Voice TrainingAbout the Author

Heather Atchison is founder and director of Enough Said, a brand voice consultancy fighting to free brands’ personalities from the straitjacket of corporate speak. She’s helped the likes of Virgin Atlantic, Vodafone, Allianz and eBay to do just this.

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