Take one minute right now and think to yourself: if your brand was a celebrity or fictional character, who would it be? If you’re not great at recalling names, think in terms of personality traits; for example, sarcastic, serious, or nerdy.
Write these things down somewhere and we’ll come back to the words later.
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IN 2011 I WAS DRIVING IN BUMPER TO BUMPER TRAFFIC ON HWY 101 IN 103 DEGREES AND A WOMAN IN A SUN FADED MAROON ASTRO VAN, WINDOWS DOWN, WAS SUCKING ON A YELLOW STRAWED CAPRISUN IN THE LANE NEXT TO ME. SHE SMILED AND THEN REACHED DOWN AND MOTIONED TO ME WITH THE UNIVERSAL “LOOK ALIVE!” FACE AND TOSSED ME A CAPRISUN THROUGH THE SUNROOF OF MY VW BEETLE. THE END. #I❤️L.A. #JIHANTHOUGHTS | photo by fellow "z", @heatherzweig 💋of our surprise installation at the @hsfreeclinic which provides free healthcare and support to anyone who walks through the doors, no questions asked. Because every human deserves care. And even non-human. Martians welcome too. 👽
Inconsistent Brand Voice Can Cause People to Unfollow
Have you followed a brand before and you thought maybe they were trying too hard to be cool? Or that they kept bouncing from one personality to the next? This inconsistency in brand voice can lead to unfollows and confused customers.
The Q3 2016 Sprout Social Index unearthed a number of annoying actions that brands take. Three of the five reasons involve some sort of brand voice disconnect.
Audit Your Brand Voice
Take a few minutes to look at all of your digital communications to quickly assess if your brand voice could use improvement. A quick way to structure this is to compile a selection from each network within a certain time frame.
*Mutes the eggplant emoji forever*
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) June 16, 2017
For example, pull information from the last three months and copy/paste or screenshot into one document. Don’t worry about how it looks right now.
- Choose three newsletters: best performing, worst performing, and middle. Copy/paste headlines and some body text.
- Go into your Twitter Analytics and copy/paste in some tweets.
- Find three Instagram posts and copy/paste their captions.
- Take three company blog posts and randomly select some paragraphs.
- Select three Facebook posts and copy/paste text.
The idea here is to have a random selection of how you present your brand across a variety of digital platforms. Later on, you can perform a more thorough audit.
Now that you have all the information compiled, look back at the personality or celebrity words you had chosen earlier. Do your random selections of digital media match these words? Put in a simple “yes” or “no” for each of your chosen selections.
Signs That Your Brand Voice Needs Work
There are a few of warning signs that might alert you to your brand voice needing work.
- You have multiple people managing the social accounts and you can tell when each person posts.
- You cringe when you read some posts, because slang is used and you don’t quite understand it.
- Some of the posts sound like they were written by a 13-year-old while others by a 40-year-old.
- Your core audience is more into documentaries, but you’re using gifs from slapstick comedies.
Figure Out Your Voice
Hopefully, this exercise gives you an idea on where you can work on your brand voice a little more. I’m a big fan of documenting social strategy and your brand voice is no exception here. If you have multiple people handling accounts or if you’re going to take a vacation, a voice document can be a useful guide.
This can be a simple one-page document that describes each of your personality traits or a more extensive one that goes into minute details like emoji use. Here’s a good getting started guide on creating a brand voice. Whatever you choose, write these down so you won’t need to pose that question, “Should I say caption it like this on social media?”
P.S. Creating an internal voice document is one of the services that I offer. If you find yourself needing more guidance or an outsider’s perspective, I’m happy to consult with you on it.