Finding your voice: what does your social voice say about you?
Listening back to a voice recording of yourself is often nothing short of cringe-worthy (if this doesn’t happen to you, you’re an impressive being/bonkers) In the social media world, however, experiencing a wince-inducing voice could spell doom for your brand. See, people don’t engage with a brand per se, they engage with the voice – the people – behind the brand. So if viewing one of your social media posts incites the aforementioned reaction, check out these tips we’ve whipped together that’ll make your voice – and your brand – sing.
SET THE TONE
Think about what kind of business you have.
What are you and your product trying to say?
When a customer views your product, how should it to make them feel – incite smiles and rainbows or perhaps something more serious?
Most importantly, who are you talking to?
These are some of the questions you should be asking when thinking about how to set the tone that will represent your brand. Establishing the tone, and aspirational and core values of your brand early on will mean you always a specific set of ideas to work from.
Start by perusing some ideas of how you’d like to represent your brand. If you’d like your brand to exude a sense of fun, you might consider bright colours, and light and airy surrounds like coffee shops and open spaces. London shop @milktraincafe does this really well, showing off their funky ice-creams in colourful settings. Another is @dailybloomsmel, a daily flower delivery service and @threebirdsrenovations, literally dreamy homes! If adventure where your product lives, get your audience outdoors like @willandbear, whose hats evoke a sense of whimsy and freedom, and @auroraaarktika, a sailing company who literally take their audience out on their adventures across Iceland and Greenland. Think a more serious look will suit your brand? Consider shades of white, black and rustic timber. The recently launched @sttokeofficial, dubbed the world’s first shatterproof ceramic reusable cup, uses the colours of the product itself as brand palette.
‘I’, ‘WE’ OR SOMETHING ELSE?
Now it’s time to figure out whether you’d like to inject yourself into the brand or create a persona. Not sure what this means? Take a look at @thestaplestore. Here you can see how Catie, the owner, represents The Staple Store brand. She uses her own voice and talks directly to her audience, infusing her personality and everyday life into the brand, as well as discussing topics that are important to her. This is also what The Social School's founder, Grace, does.
For larger businesses who choose this path – these usually have more than one person running the show – the voice remains personal, however it’s collective. Go-To Skincare (@gotoskincare) does a great job of this by creating posts and stories that are hella fun, and much like the voice of Go-To’s founder Zoe Foster-Blake, while still showing off the benefits of the product.
THROW A PERSONA PARTY
Now you’ve collected all your inspiration and settled on the kind of persona you’re going to pursue, it’s time to craft it. Unbeknownst to many, the visual component of your brand is as much a part of your brand’s voice as the text. The captions, images, videos and hashtags you use must all work together, so think of all these things as your recipe ingredients to make your persona sing.
Start by taking a few shots of your product and drafting up captions to go with it, then review it both by yourself (or with your team if there’s more than one of you) and your trusted circle and ask for feedback. Finding out how others respond to the post – how it made them feel, what they liked or disliked, if they felt compelled to do something beyond the post i.e. view the full profile, head to the website, etc – will then offer you the opportunity to make the necessary edits to the image and text before pushing the post live.
Consistency is key here. Your images, videos and hashtags should all represent the brand in the same way. Developing the earlier points at the beginning means that while your business will grow and evolve over time, the core values of your brand will remain as a cornerstone you’ll always return to.
CHANNEL YOUR VOICE
You’ve found your voice and you’re ready to go live, woohoo! But before you do, we have one more fun (read: important) fact: what is well received on one social media channel doesn’t necessarily compute the same on another. For example: a big, juicy block of text, accompanied by a beautiful image, may engage your audience beautifully on Instagram, but stats show that most people don’t read past 40 characters on Facebook. Yikes. So before you copy and paste the same newly crafted post across all your social channels, be mindful that catering to your would-be audience also means respecting the way they’d like to be acknowledged on the chosen social platform. Do your research about the social media platforms that actually suit your brand.
Is your product news-bite related and therefore more likely to work well with Twitter?
Does it require more space to chat with your audience like Instagram?
How about being able to easily share posts and links with Facebook friends?
Once you’ve established where is your audience likely going to be most responsive, you’re on the home stretch.
As with the previous point, consistency is paramount when scheduling on your chosen channels. Whether you only have time to post once, three or seven days a week, stick to that. Social media algorithms thrive off this. Followers and engagement with your brand are directly tied to this.
Finally: engage, engage, engage – nothing works better than practising and the more you communicate with your audience, the more you’ll finesse your voice and get your brand out from behind the screen and into the world.
Want more tips? The Social School’s DIY workbook has got you covered.