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3 STRATEGIES To Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice


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To Strengthen Your
Brand’s Social Voice

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3 STRATEGIES To Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice

  1. 1. 3 S T R AT E G I E S To Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice
  2. 2. At its most integrated level, social media presents brands with unprecedented opportunities for visibility, accessibility, efficiency and growth. In return, fans, followers and customers expect a balanced value exchange through responsiveness, care and profound levels of engagement. Given the (seemingly) lighthearted nature and subtle nuances of the social media marketplace, some brands’ social voice strategies could play on par with a scrappy 140-character count. Yet simply because you publish according to character limits, file types and fickle formats does not guarantee your tactics present a consistent and compelling social voice. The time to treat social marketing and engagement planning lightly has passed; the creation of an online brand identity and social voice strategy is no longer a nicety. Prosperous brands now grant socially driven employees, from CMOs to social media specialists, rightfully earned seats at the table. So go ahead and sit down, lean in—if you dare—but don’t get too comfortable without smart strategies and calculated contributions. Unsure where to begin or want to refine your existing approach? We offer three strategies to achieve a more successful social voice. In short: Keep it clear, classy and consistent. 3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice “Present a consistent & compelling social voice”
  3. 3. Clearly & Concisely Personify Your Brand As a marketing leader within your organization, it is your job to accurately and acutely engage the appropriate people and resources to generate a clear, concise brand voice. You’ve hopefully addressed, at least conceptually, your brand voice for advertising, public relations and other marketing efforts. Social, however, is in a league of its own because brand conversations may not directly start from, end with or include your brand at all. Lesson one: you never unilaterally control your brand’s social voice. So why do many businesses still routinely, and sometimes hastily, throw team members (often interns or junior associates) head first into social community management? Often they have little to no understanding of how the voice they project will positively—or negatively—affect the greater business. Others are more sophisticated, with human horsepower and the technology to implement a social voice at scale. But without proper alignment even the most prepared team will generate disjointed social experiences and lackluster conversations. As an initial strategy, discuss with your team ways to establish and maintain a cohesive voice. QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: • What are our brand’s guiding principles and how do we extend them socially? • How can we complement the style and voice of our inbound social conversations? • Should our brand’s social voice be casual, formal or adaptive as necessary? • What human qualities do we want to regularly exude? • What are our tactical sentence structure, verb tense and grammar preferences? If multiple people on your team manage the social process, the tone of your company’s tweets and posts may differ depending on who publishes what content. Even if you agree on a collective brand voice, each team member may personify it in a different way and, in turn, cause disparate brand conversations. The devil is in the details and, while seemingly inconsequential, setting the tone by which you operate will nicely unify your voice and create a better brand experience. 3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice “You never unilaterally control your brand’s social voice.” 1
  4. 4. Be Open & Responsive—But Stay Classy In a few short years—and with more than a billion people on board—social engagement now literally shapes worldwide conversations around topics from politics and celebrity to business and brand loyalty. Naturally, questions arise of who, what, where, when and why brands should start or jump into social conversations. Without preparation, situations can get sticky, so find that appropriate balance to stay relevant but (please!) keep it classy. Lesson two: steer clear of questionable conversations. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and react to news, opinions and trivial social commentary, especially within or around your brand category. While it is important to pay attention and engage with the world around you, quick reactions and dives into questionable conversations may lead to unwanted attention for your brand. Even with an agreed upon brand voice, it is important to ensure published content stays on track and conversations continued by social managers are on message. QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: • What topics, if any, are off limits for our social communication channels? • When is it appropriate to take conversations to direct or private message? • How should we accurately differentiate personal opinions from brand opinions? • How do we address conversations or questions about our competitors? • Do we properly support and answer customer issues through social? In light of these insights, and in concert with your brand marketing campaigns, set terms of engagement to manage social conversations across channels and networks. Yes, engage your audience, support varying viewpoints and spark healthy debate but, as individuals, stay mindful that you represent an entity greater than yourself. Acknowledgement of these terms is critical and as a team you should set standards around your social voice that add value and engender positivity. 3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice 2“Steer clear of questionable conversations.”
  5. 5. Be Consistent & Refine in Real-Time Every company—whether it’s a small business or a large enterprise—is full of varied personalities in charge of social exchanges. A diverse corporate makeup is great for innovation and culture, but may present challenges as you define your brand’s social voice. Once you have determined the overall tone and timing of your company’s social persona, put pen to paper yet remember to stay agile. Lesson three: social governance should not prevent your brand from being interesting. Before companies knew how to appropriately leverage social, most brand activity on social platforms was an afterthought to comprehensive planning and well-timed campaigns. As teams grow and players rotate, standards should include key points and phrases as well as guidelines for the type and tone of social media content. If you ensure that everyone is in agreement about your brand’s voice, it will help alleviate questions or concerns about social conversations and who manages what content. QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: • Who should participate in social conversations on behalf of our brand? • Who is the point of contact for questions or content approval? • How will we stay consistent with other ongoing brand marketing activities? • Should we create formal social voice standards for the company? • How do we monitor and measure effectiveness of our social voice? After a set of standards is finalized, obtain approvals and sign offs from anyone in your organization who should be involved in the process. Then communicate appropriately to ensure understanding and (fingers crossed) avoid pleas of ignorance should something go wrong. As you strive for consistency, you’ll likely realize some standards do not fit or scenarios may arise for which you did not account. That’s perfectly okay. Follow guidelines to ensure consistency, but refine in real-time and maintain a certain level of spontaneity to keep your audience coming back for more. 3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice 3“Social governance should not prevent you from being interesting.”
  6. 6. Sprout Social provides social media engagement, publishing and analytic tools for top global brands including AMD, McDonald’s, Pepsi, UPS and Yammer. A powerful platform for social business, Sprout enables brands to more effectively manage social channels and provide an exceptional customer experience. Headquartered in Chicago, Sprout is a Twitter Certified Product and a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer. For more information or to start a FREE, 30-day trial, visit LIKE TWEET CIRCLE About Sprout Social Building a clear, classy and consistent brand voice can be challenging, but with the right individual and team techniques, you’ll reap the rewards of heightened engagement. These three strategies certainly require work but, when implemented, will solidify your brand’s social voice and establish meaningful relationships that stretch beyond a status update to stand the test of time. 3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice