Are you sitting down right now?
If not, you’ll want to.
Take a seat, grab a pen and paper and answer these simple questions :
1. When I think about my brand, what are the three characteristics that come to mind?
2. How would my clients describe my brand?
3. How do I want my clients to describe my brand?
Now scroll through your online profiles. From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and your company blog, do these brand characteristics and descriptions align with your brand voice online? If not, it might be time to make some changes. Check out these 5 ways you can test the effectiveness of your brand voice.
1. Evaluate Your Voice
Are you aware of your brand’s voice? Look at it from the perspective of an outsider. If your voice doesn’t sound like your brand, find the inconsistencies and change them. Your brand has a personality and you want to make sure your words are expressing it.
2. Differentiate from Your Competition
It’s time for a competitive analysis. Target your top 10 competitors in your industry and review their social profiles. How are they using their online presence? Do they have a clear brand voice? Differentiate yourself from your competition using your brand voice and value propositions.
3. Understand Your Target Audience
Your followers also have unique personal brands and voices. If your target audience is professional and serious in nature, ensure your conversations with them reflect as such; however, if they’re upbeat and quirky, don’t be afraid to include some sarcasm in your engagement. Make sure your voice connects with theirs.
4. Show Your Personality
Building social is all about building relationships. As your brand strives to reach your audience, don’t be afraid to grab attention while showing your personality. If you have determined that your brand has personality and spunk, include this in your tweets and posts. Your audience will connect with a brand that they can identify as more human than business.
5. Have Conversations that Add Value
When forming your brand messaging, ensure you are bringing value to your audience. Provide solutions through those tweets. Give your followers a reason to stay engaged.
Talk to your followers. Answer questions, ask about their lives, enter into conversations, invite ideas: it’s about communicating and collaborating. Make them feel like a valued part of your brand. People know how to talk to each other in real life – it’s as simple as that.
Consider this advice on maintaining a consistent brand voice from Alexandra Reid:
“A strong company voice on social media should emphasize the company’s values, objectives and key differentiators that set it apart from its competitors. These can be expressed in the tone of the communication and the content that is shared with community members and the target audience.The best social media voices are communal, grammatical, dialectical, authentic, original, contextual, relevant, timely, persistent, responsive, helpful, generous and more informal. A company’s social media voice should only be changed if absolutely necessary and should maintain all of these qualities. Any change should be preceded by lots of information explaining the change to community members to ensure they know it is deliberate and that the company isn’t suffering from some form of instability, which jeopardizes relationships.”
Use your brand voice to connect with your followers and build relationships, while at the same time conveying your brand’s value and mission. Regular evaluation of your voice and its effectiveness will keep you on track with your goals. Be careful to only make changes that will grow your audience and keep their eyes on your social pages.
Ask yourself: After completing this exercise, do you feel your brand voice is a reflection of your image?
(photo credit: Kim S)