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Your Brand’s Social
Tone of Voice
How to Create a Unified Voice in Social Media
A well-defined brand voice
  helps make content sticky
   PERSONALITY                                    TONE                      LANGUAGE                         CONTENT
  You’ll want to make sure           Tone may change based on          Personality and tone can be      It’s not just what you say
  you’re authentic – but by               content or audience, but        interpreted differently.       and how you say it, but
  outlining personality traits            those changes should be      Setting linguistic guidelines    what you share. Defining
and acting more like a person             nuance – An overarching      will help all content creators   your brand’s social tone of
 and less like a corporation,             tone will set the stage of
                                                                       have specific rules they can         voice will help set
you’re giving your community                 how you behave.
                                                                       check themselves against.          standards for content
     a reason to engage
                                                                                                          creation and curation




Snarky         Bold          Irreverent          Your Cooler, Funnier Wingman             Style Guru Perky Down To Earth


PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL
                                                                                                                                      2
How does a brand voice
 manifest socially?
  Brands, like people, should adjust their voice depending on who you’re talking to and where the
  conversations are taking place.



   IS                                                                              IS NOT
   An attitude                                                                                Fractured
   A filter                                                                                        Fake
   Flexible                                                                                Complicated
   Personal style                                                                     All-encompassing
   Unique, but natural                                                                   A set of words
   Semantics                                                                   Pre-approved responses
   A point of view                                                   A Britney medley at a Phish concert
   One part of a bigger picture                                                                  Forced
   Capitalization & punctuation                                                                   Rigid
   Accessible                                                                                 Complete
   The secret sauce
   Representative



PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL
                                                                                                           3
Start with inspiration
   Have your core team identify inspiration from other brands, but also from within.




1. A social tone of voice shouldn’t be   2. Look externally and identify            3. In social media, it’s important to
 a complete 180. Ask employees and       other brands that you feel have               act like a person instead of a
people working with the brand to share   nailed it.
                                                                                   corporation. Identify a muse for your
  their favorite pieces of existing
                                                                                   brand – someone you can look to for
                                         • What elements do you like?
communication & those that they                                                    inspiration for both personality traits &
                                         • How is it received by their audience?
  feel are most representative of the                                                          linguistic cues.
                                         • How does their voice change by
   brand – from status updates and          platform?
    tweets to brochures to internal      • How do they showcase their brand
      employee communication.               personality through language?
 PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL
                                                                                                                               4
Workshop the solution
  You’ll want at least 3 people and no more than 40. If you have more than 10 people, split into groups
  of no more than 10. Guide participation through questions that will provide inputs for a guide.

                 BRAND 101           How would employees describe your brand? How would competitors
                                     describe your brand? What’s your brand truth?



                 AUDIENCE            Who are you talking to? How does this differ based on platforms? How do
                                     they perceive your brand?



                 PERSONALITY         What personality traits does your muse have that your brand should aspire
                 TRAITS              to? How do they change their personality based on who they’re talking to?



                 LINGUISTIC          If your muse is a celebrity, consider printing out scripts from a movie/show
                 CUES                they’ve been in so that people can identify linguistic cues. How does your
                                     muse speak? Does he/she have a catch phrase? Do they use slang or are
                                     they a bit more formal?
               TIP: Know where you’re going before you get there. Work with your community manager(s) and
               strategist(s) to set a tone for the day and to have an idea of the direction you want to go in.
PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL
                                                                                                                    5
Creating a guide
                             Keep it short and sweet.
                     1       Give just enough detail for people to feel like they have something to follow, but
                             don’t overwhelm as too many guidelines can limit creativity.


                             Make it pretty.
                     2       You’ll want something that community and content managers, and even brand
                             managers, will want to keep on their desks.


                             Designate a leader – and empower them.
                     3       While many people should participate in the workshop, you’ll want a core team of 2 to
                             3 people who will lead the development of the voice and the output document.


                             Include examples.
                     4       Develop sample content that’s written within the new social tone of voice. Point
                             out which personality traits were used and linguistic cues referenced for easy
                             understanding.




PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL
                                                                                                                     6
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How to Develop Your Brand's Social Tone of Voice

  • 1. Your Brand’s Social Tone of Voice How to Create a Unified Voice in Social Media
  • 2. A well-defined brand voice helps make content sticky PERSONALITY TONE LANGUAGE CONTENT You’ll want to make sure Tone may change based on Personality and tone can be It’s not just what you say you’re authentic – but by content or audience, but interpreted differently. and how you say it, but outlining personality traits those changes should be Setting linguistic guidelines what you share. Defining and acting more like a person nuance – An overarching will help all content creators your brand’s social tone of and less like a corporation, tone will set the stage of have specific rules they can voice will help set you’re giving your community how you behave. check themselves against. standards for content a reason to engage creation and curation Snarky Bold Irreverent Your Cooler, Funnier Wingman Style Guru Perky Down To Earth PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL 2
  • 3. How does a brand voice manifest socially? Brands, like people, should adjust their voice depending on who you’re talking to and where the conversations are taking place. IS IS NOT An attitude Fractured A filter Fake Flexible Complicated Personal style All-encompassing Unique, but natural A set of words Semantics Pre-approved responses A point of view A Britney medley at a Phish concert One part of a bigger picture Forced Capitalization & punctuation Rigid Accessible Complete The secret sauce Representative PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL 3
  • 4. Start with inspiration Have your core team identify inspiration from other brands, but also from within. 1. A social tone of voice shouldn’t be 2. Look externally and identify 3. In social media, it’s important to a complete 180. Ask employees and other brands that you feel have act like a person instead of a people working with the brand to share nailed it. corporation. Identify a muse for your their favorite pieces of existing brand – someone you can look to for • What elements do you like? communication & those that they inspiration for both personality traits & • How is it received by their audience? feel are most representative of the linguistic cues. • How does their voice change by brand – from status updates and platform? tweets to brochures to internal • How do they showcase their brand employee communication. personality through language? PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL 4
  • 5. Workshop the solution You’ll want at least 3 people and no more than 40. If you have more than 10 people, split into groups of no more than 10. Guide participation through questions that will provide inputs for a guide. BRAND 101 How would employees describe your brand? How would competitors describe your brand? What’s your brand truth? AUDIENCE Who are you talking to? How does this differ based on platforms? How do they perceive your brand? PERSONALITY What personality traits does your muse have that your brand should aspire TRAITS to? How do they change their personality based on who they’re talking to? LINGUISTIC If your muse is a celebrity, consider printing out scripts from a movie/show CUES they’ve been in so that people can identify linguistic cues. How does your muse speak? Does he/she have a catch phrase? Do they use slang or are they a bit more formal? TIP: Know where you’re going before you get there. Work with your community manager(s) and strategist(s) to set a tone for the day and to have an idea of the direction you want to go in. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL 5
  • 6. Creating a guide Keep it short and sweet. 1 Give just enough detail for people to feel like they have something to follow, but don’t overwhelm as too many guidelines can limit creativity. Make it pretty. 2 You’ll want something that community and content managers, and even brand managers, will want to keep on their desks. Designate a leader – and empower them. 3 While many people should participate in the workshop, you’ll want a core team of 2 to 3 people who will lead the development of the voice and the output document. Include examples. 4 Develop sample content that’s written within the new social tone of voice. Point out which personality traits were used and linguistic cues referenced for easy understanding. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL 6