Social Media Strategy Basics - Give Your Business a Personality

Before you jump into regular posting, it's important to consider how you want your brand to come across in your posts.   These components will take your visual Brand Identity into the realm of social media. 

Try and be consistent with what you decide, but at the same time we suggest remaining open to evolving your brand voice over time based on how your customers respond.  For example, maybe one day you might post something more humorous than usual and get a great response, inspiring you to add a little humor into your brand voice. 

Voice
This is your brand's personality as expressed through words.  Consistency in how your brand speaks to audience can be a huge asset in building fan base and maintaining your following.  Think about the qualities you're trying to convey with your social media posts, and build a voice off of that. 

Tone
This is the emotional inflection that your brand uses.  Overlaid with your brand voice, each post on social media may have a tone.  Some consistency in tone is important, but your brand may switch between several different tones depending on the subject matter, for example a brand that has a conversational voice can do this in a tone that is either serious or humorous.  

Visual Style - Think about how your brand voice relates to the visual components of your brand identity such as your logo and your typeface.   If you already have a logo that you love, you'll have to make sure your voice jives well with the logo which will appear right next to it when you post. 

 Define your Brand Voice

Go back to our first exercise and pick out some of your brand descriptors or vocabulary/keywords that you feel relate to voice. 

 

Pick 3 brands that have a similar audience to yours, and take a look at their voice, tone, and style.
Brand 1:
Describe this brand's voice:
What do you like about it?  What do you dislike?

Brand 2:
Describe this brand's voice:
What do you like about it?  What do you dislike?

Brand 3:
Describe this brand's voice:
What do you like about it?  What do you dislike?

Circle that you'd most want used to describe your brand.

Straightforward Simple Complex

Unique

Formal Conversational

Professional

Easygoing

Informative Entertaining

Creative

Inspirational

 

Concise Wordy

Visual

Unique
Sophisticated Casual Friendly Relatable
Serious Funny Irreverent Quirky
Timeless Cool Understated Passionate
Honest Authoritative Friendly Knowledgeable
Interesting Informative Fun Humorous
Something we 
forgot? Add your
own words!

 

 

 

 

Now, circle the 10 terms you most want to AVOID being associated with your brand.

Dishonest Annoying Silly Boring
Too Serious Stuffy Overbearing Cocky
Disorganized Stupid Tries too hard Bossy
Inappropriate Offensive Out of Touch Stodgy
Snobby Stubborn Arrogant Mean

 

Pair some of your choices together to narrow down what you want to emphasize. 
For example: "My brand is confident, but not arrogant"

FINALIZE YOUR BRAND VOICE

Pick 3-5 of your favorites from above, and fill out this chart. Keep it for reference as you move forward with strategy. 

 Characteristic How does this relate to your brand? The Rules: Do The Rules: Don't

 

Vocabulary - keep an ongoing list of vocabulary that reflects your brand voice, as a reference for posts.  You may see or hear a word somewhere that occurs to you is "just right" to use in your messaging, so feel free to add to this list and evolve it over time. 

 


Tone - Set some guidelines for tone.   Which tones are most common?  Which tones should always be avoided?  For example, you may alternate between serious and humorous tones as appropriate, but never be snarky or mean. 

 

 

 

EXAMPLES of what your brand voice document could look like

Feel free to elaborate & go into much more detail, or keep it simple, whatever suits your style and your brand! 

 

 

Lastly, It's Best Just to Avoid...

1. Slang & Jargon - unless you have a very specific, targeted audience, keeping language simple and avoiding slang is usually your best bet.  Let's face it, as business owners, we aren't all in a demographic where we know for sure whether the cool kids are still saying "lit" in an un-ironic way, but you can't go wrong just using a regular old positive adjective.  While the research shows most people on social media find companies using slang annoying, there's no mistaking regular english for trying too hard to be cool... and no one sees it as uncool either, cuz it's just words, yo. 

2. Politics & Controversy - However much you like to blow up your personal feed with your points of view, we recommend brands stay away from politics and controversy unless there's something specific that relates to your brand.  If you do want to bring up a sensitive topic, instead of coming down hard on the "bad guys," try focusing on the positive, and staying away from really divisive topics unless they're key to your business.  For good examples of politically charged campaigns that worked well for brands, check out Patagonia or REI  on Facebook. 

3. Getting Stuck in a Rut - While consistency in brand voice is important, you may find you want to evolve over time.  Maybe you've said today that you'd like your brand to be funny, but you're discovering your customers don't have the same sense of humor that you do.    Be open to re-assessing how different types of content is playing with your audience and willing to limit, adjust or eliminate a poorly performing component of your brand voice, so that you can focus on things that are doing better. 

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