by Juny Lee
February 27th, 2015

As getting out brand messages through social media becomes routinized, delivering brand identity is emerging as the key element of social media communication. Social media has not only caused a change in the way brands communicate with their consumers, but also changed the way they drive brand loyalty.

Every company shares their contents through various social channels, however, often than not, such contents-marketing efforts that lack brand’s own identity or business characteristics are nothing but mere message sharing that goes wasted.

The choice of words, tones of voice and images brands use on social media channels should be communicated in the most effective way possible based on a thorough analysis of your brand’s buyer persona. This is because brand trust is developed through conversations and behaviors bilaterally exchanged with your target audience on social media. What then would be the necessary element in communicating brand characteristics and help your target audience to understand your brand in the most effective way? Social media brand voice is the answer.

 

Factors to Consider When Building a Brand Voice

The top two boxes of the chart below are some of the examples for the main questions you need to ask when building a brand voice on social media. Building a brand voice starts with preparing answers to such questions related to your target audience and brand.

 

Example Questions for Developing Your Social Media Brand Voice

Target Audience

Your Brand

-Who influences your target audience’s brand awareness?-What types of websites does your target audience visit often?-In simple words, what words would you use as the basis of explaining the above websites?-What are the words to describe their participation in online conversations?-What are the main types of content they share on their own channel(s)?-What types of content value do they prefer?(entertainment, education, learning, etc.)?-What types of language do they use (slang, professional (acronym, slang, jargon, etc.)? -What are the words mainly used when describing your brand?-What are the words used to describe your brand-related employee?-How does internal communication take place?-What are the values your brand can provide?-What are the values your brand provides that differentiates your brand from your competitors?-What is your brand’s USP (Unique Selling Point)?-How do you describe your brand’s history of development?

Finding the Mutually Inclusive Factors Between Your Target Audience and Brand

-Are there similarities between the way your brand carry out internal communication and the way your target audience communicate?-Are there similarities between how you describe your own brand and how the target audience describes the influencers?-Are your USP similar to the values your target audience looks for?-Are the types of contents actively shared by the target audience similar to that shared on your brand’s website?-Do your brand website and the websites preferred by your target audience have similar communication styles?

 

The questions at the bottom of the chart are example questions you should ask to deduce relatedness or similarity between your target audience and brand. In order to bring out a brand voice that can influence the target audience’s perception of your brand, it is important to go through the diagnostic process for brand contents as described above.

You should prepare answers to the main questions and set strategic direction for each of the four main key words-content persona (character), tone & manner, language and persona purpose-that will serve as the basis for developing roadmap for social media brand voice.

Establishing your brand voice on social media

  • Content Persona: Developing a content persona is the first step in defining a brand voice. If you personify your brand, what would be the characteristic keywords to describe him? In order to determine those keywords, you must analyze the buyer persona, or the lifestyle of your brand’s target audience. What type of people is your target audience? What are they interested in? What kind of advice do they seek relating to your brand? Develop various questions and try to provide an answer to each one of them. Talking to real people who embodies the characteristics of your brand’s target audience will give you clues to uncovering the content persona you should aim for. If you have several audiences as your target, your content persona should accordingly be flexible, and you may also decide to operate various social media channels for different groups of target audiences with distinct characteristics. You should set the characteristics of the content persona that matches the biggest need of the target buyer personas. For example, an NGO that aims to increase awareness of a disease a specific group of children are exposed to, the content persona for its channel(s) can be set as a disease expert or specialist of rather a gentle character.
  • Message Tone: A message tone is not directly apparent in brand communication messages, however, it is a means of influencing brand awareness and building trust with your target audience. Your messages may have extroverted tone that gives an impression of openness, and they may also have a more introverted tone as a professional expert. If you are an artist whose first priority is raising awareness, you can speak with a boastful tone that shows off your strengths. In general, however, modest tone & manner is safe to use in order to boost loyalty of the target audience. If you are a B2B technology based solution company, you may consider a systemic and scientific message development.
  • Language: Even if your brand is established as a professional brand your field, using a style of language that places your own brand’s intelligence above the target consumers can offend potential consumers and hinders building a positive relationship. Brand languages created based on the characteristics of the target audiences should have their roots in the languages, jargons and expressions used in social media communications. Do you want to position your brand as trendy? You may then use slangs or popular language used by the young people. You should do so with precaution, however, as overuse of such languages can lead the audience to perceive your brand as a frivolous one.
  • Persona Purpose: A brand voice on social media helps the target consumers to understand what your brand aims to do for them. Do you want to spread information on a new product or idea? Do you want to deliver something positive that lead them towards visiting your website or online shopping mall? Do you want to drive sales? The substance of your brand contents may vary depending on the purpose of writing them, but you should reconfirm the most important business goals in operating brand media channel(s) and make sure that they match the purpose of your persona reflected in the messages you send out.

The most important aspect to consider when writing a message is the values your target audience wishes to gain. You should understand the questions asked by the target audience and try to deliver valuable answer.

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