How to Discover Your Brand's Social Media Voice

brand-voice-picThere are so many companies out there that have a lot to offer people but may have some trouble showing their social media audience who they are and what they have to offer them because of the undefined or inconsistent voice they present online.

Some brands have their voice and the different tones of their voice down to a science while others struggle to find theirs, causing people to be confused about who their brand is and what they value.

If your company is one of the many struggling to find your true social media voice, you may find value in reading this. In this post I will touch on:

  • The differences between voice and tone
  • Why it is important for your brand to have a social media voice
  • Ways to discover your brand’s social media voice

The Differences Between Voice and Tone

Quite often people assume that voice and tone mean the same thing because in actuality they do go hand-in-hand, but there are a few differences.

What Is Voice?

Voice is the personality of your brand that you use adjectives to describe. Some examples of adjectives you could use to describe your brand’s personality could be lively, positive, humorous, or professional.

What Is Tone?

On the other hand, tone is a subcategory of your brand’s overall voice. Tone will add a distinct tang to your voice based on certain factors such as your audience, situation, and the channel you are using.

Take a second to think about a musical instrument being played, let’s use the piano as an example. Even though I am no Alicia Keys, I am aware that there are different types of pianos such as vertical pianos, grand pianos and keyboards just to name a few and each can produce different tones while being played. If you are a pianist playing in a jazz band, your audience may anticipate a certain type of tone rather than the tone a pianist playing keyboard in a rock band’s audience may anticipate.

Think about your voice as your mission statement and the tone as the application of that mission. Your voice will always remain the same and your tone can vary. If you find yourself in a certain situation such as dealing with a dissatisfied customer, you may want to think before you address that person in a humorous tone. That may not go over too well with them. Your brand’s voice or personality may be funny and humorous such as Old Spice’s.


But if Old Spice has a customer whose armpits broke out into hives after using their Fiji deodorant, they are going to want to address the issue with a professional and calm tone to diffuse the situation.

Now that you know some of the main differences between voice and tone, I am going to educate you on why showcasing your brand’s voice and personality on your social media channels is so important in order to make a lasting impression and to get people interested in your brand.

brand-voice-imageWhy Your Brand’s Voice Should Be Heard Through Social Media

Many brand’s make the common mistake of not having a voice that can translate well on social media. They end up sounding too robotic or they end up copying the voice of other brands, making them sound unauthentic. Other voice mistakes brand’s tend to make is that they don’t pay close enough attention to spelling and grammar errors, which makes them look uneducated and their voice is inconsistent across the platforms they use.

Don’t Be A Robot

It is not only important for your brand to have a voice so that your audience gets a sense of who you are and what you stand for, but to have a voice that is consistent. The way to accomplish this is clearly defining your brand voice before using social media heavily. Having a clearly defined voice can humanize your brand and allows you to engage in conversations with people naturally. When you receive a phone call and the person on the other end of the phone sounds like a robot, chances are you hang up, right? People do not want to speak to robots.

Humans crave interaction with other humans. Click to Tweet >>

According to Matt Sullivan, who is responsible for Esquire Magazine’s online voice, your brand voice is so important that it should be kept under the management of an editor rather than an intern or whoever has time to do it.

Growing Your Team Becomes Easier When Your Voice Is Defined

Another reason why having a voice for your brand is important is that having one can help you grow your marketing team and efforts. If you define guidelines for how to use your brand’s voice in a clear and consistent way, it will make hiring staff or a social media agency a lot smoother. If you don’t yet have a clear voice, then make sure you include that in the scope of work to get help with from the agency you choose to work with.

Chances are, you are extremely busy doing other things that are important for the success of your company. If you have a strategy for how you want your brand to communicate with people online, then bringing on a team member or agency to execute those strategies for you gives you more free time to accomplish your many other business goals. Again, an agency can also help you develop a strategy if that’s not within your skillset.

Managing one social media profile can be stressful enough, professional social media marketers can relieve that stress while managing multiple social media accounts you decide to leverage for your brand.

Social media professionals have this experience and know what works and what doesn’t. If you already have your brand voice defined, you can guarantee that a social media marketing team will know how to deliver it to your audience just the way your customers anticipate.

Delight Your Customers

Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says that if a brand uses a voice that delights customers, those happy customers will speak highly of your brand on social media, essentially creating new content. This new content can reach other customers and prospective customers, delivering your message for you without you having to lift a finger. Baer also states “don’t just give your customers something to talk about, give them somebody to talk about.”

These are a few reasons why it is crucial for your brand to have a voice that can be shown online and that is consistent across all platforms. The key is to engage with people that could potentially become your satisfied customers or fans.

Now that you understand why you should have a consistent social media voice, the next step is knowing how to discover your brand’s true voice that the world would love to hear.

How To Discover Your Brand Voice

A well-defined voice is necessary in order to connect with your online communities through your social media marketing efforts. For your brand to create the voice you want to put out to your audience online, the first thing you should do is ask yourself some of these important questions:

  • What does your company value?
  • What do you hope your product or service will do for people?
  • What type of people use your product or service and what are some of their characteristics?
  • If your brand were a person, what characteristics would you use to describe them?

Your company values are a great place to start. Write down all your values on a piece of paper or whiteboard so that you can see your values in front of your eyes. This will give you a better idea of how to write content and how to talk on your social media. Think about how you would speak to people if you were at a cocktail party. Afterall, the Internet is really just one huge cocktail party.

You can also ask other people in charge of their brand’s voice on social media how they came up with the voice they decided to be consistent with. There are a ton of companies that make it evident through their social presence that they have clearly defined their voice. Take Tiffany & Co. for example, they are known for being a very elegant and chic brand. Everytime I see a little blue box I get overly excited. Specifically on their Twitter, they remain true and consistent to their offline personality.


Time to Find Your Voice

If before reading this you weren’t quite sure how to speak to your audience online without straying away from your brand’s values, you can now easily avoid that bump in the road because you now know the differences between your voice and tone on social media, why it is so important for your brand to have a consistent and clear voice online, and how you can discover the true voice of your brand.

Take some time to write down all the adjectives that you would use to describe your company and brand and include your company’s main values. I am certain that you will now be more confident in showing your online audience who your brand truly is and what you have to offer them.

Need Help Defining Your Brand Voice?

You can download our brand voice worksheet for free.