Brand voice — or the way in which your brand communicates with its followers — is one of the most important parts of building a digital brand. Each social network has its own unique voice so your brand should have several phases, but the core brand voice and tone should stay the same.
Full disclosure: When I first started “defining” this, it drove me crazy. I instinctually knew what the brand voice should be for every Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account I managed, why did I need to write it down? Well, first of all, writing it down is helpful to explain your plan of attack to clients and second of all, it allows your client to help you truly understand their goals and, in most cases, it also helps THEM truly articulate their goals and desires for building a digital brand.
For this post, I’ve decided to break it down by some of the common questions I’m asked when building a digital brand for a client to help you work through this process and become a great brand partner when you’re ready to work with an agency.
What is brand voice?
It is the way in which you talk to your audience
What is an audience?
Your followers, fans and the people who buy your product or services.
How can I establish a brand voice for my brand?
By determining what your brand is and if it will speak to the audience directly, if you will reference a team or if YOU will be the voice of the brand.
I don’t understand… give me an example?
Brands can either say “We appreciate your comment” or “Thanks for commenting” or “I am so glad you’re enjoying my photos.”
“We appreciate your comment”
This brand voice is one that includes you, the actual person behind the brand, and the team working on the brand. You don’t have to have a team to use this, solopreneurs can use this for their brands, but it is one that includes more than one point of view.
Pros: The pros of using this kind of brand voice is that you can use it as you grow and also have it reflect a different opinion than YOUR personal brand. Think about how you want your brand to evolve. For example, Facebook. When Zuckerberg created Facebook, it wasn’t the publicly traded company that it is today. It was a social network meant to rate people that could have lived and died in that Harvard dorm room. Zuckerberg did have partners and collaborators so they, from the very early days, did use the “we” but now, 11 years into the future, it is helpful because Mark has a separate brand from Facebook. He is very much intertwined with Facebook but he, Mark, is allowed to take a stance on things that Facebook can’t or shouldn’t.
Cons: It can be confusing when you first start doing this and can, in some cases, make people think they can’t afford your services. If you are an entrepreneur using this, some of your messaging must also show your ability to have a 1:1 relationship with your audience. That is best accomplished by also sharing content on a personally branded handle and using the “I” voice on that handle.
“Thanks for commenting”
This is the we voice without the we. This one actually assumes the brand is a living, breathing person.
Pros: Allows you to have more FUN with the brand. Fast food brands are known for this — their unique voice. It’s a great way to connect with followers on a personal level.
Cons: For larger brands, it can be hard to keep this consistent with multiple individuals managing the account.
“I am so glad you’re enjoying my photos.”
You’re coming out from behind the curtain of your brand and clearly stating your opinions and thoughts.
Pros: This means you’ll only need one presence, which is a time-saver! It also allows you to share personal views and behind-the-scenes content that ALWAYS does well on social media.
Cons: It can be confusing, especially if you end up sharing too much personal content. It can also be difficult to distinguish what a brand is representing in this case, and that makes sales a lot harder.
As you can see, there are a lot of choices to be made when you decide to brand yourself, your products, your business and your services.