With so much of business communications today being in the written channel, and so much of it being immediate with Social Media, the tone in which a brand communicates with is increasingly important. We all know that so much of what we say really comes down to how we say it. The same choice of words can come across as either complimentary or insulting. Ultimately, it’s all in the delivery.
Deciphering communication tonality in the digital space isn’t easy. The handling and implementation of any social media initiative (especially when it deals with a brand) is fraught with potentially explosive minefields. Brands are complex entities, and as such a brand’s attitude, style and characteristics must be taken into account with every Facebook update, LinkedIn response or blog post.
So how can you make the most of your Brand’s social media initiatives? By ensuring that you strike the right cord and the proper stance in all your online communications. Here’s how:
- Take a page or two from your marketing plan… truthfully. We all can agree that the social media channel is relatively new, while Marketing is not. Go back to the basics. What makes your brand special to its audience? Look to how your brand communicates in the more classic channels, such as print ads, radio ads or even packaging. If it’s a product, how does the package look? If it’s a service, what does the name and logo represent? If you’ve advertised in community papers or created radio ads, you already have a good basis of understanding of what your tonality should be. Are you casual? Formal? Sophisticated? Friendly? Is your brand body language open, informative and approachable or at arm’s length? Regardless of style, your brand must always be honest, straightforward and truthful.
- Understand your audience. Knowing who your target audience is… well, not enough. Like everything else in branding or business, understanding your audience on a deeper level is essential to your brand’s success. What makes them purchase your brand? What’s their style? Do they enjoy extreme sports? Drive a sports car? Like fishing? Answering these and other questions will allow your brand to connect with its audience and meet their expectations. If your brand needs to put on a suit or dress business casual, then your writing tonality should follow the same line.
- Follow the Brand Guidelines. If your brand doesn’t have any, then you should seriously consider creating them. It use to be that brand guidelines spoke only to the visual treatment of a brand’s logo. (typesetting, font, colour, etc), However today’s guidelines also cover brand voice and brand persona which are very good indicators and references for brand tonality.
- Stay consistent with your brand’s persona. Is you brand premium priced? Made in Europe? American? Canada? Is it an innovative product, or just a better or cheaper version of an existing one? All of these factors play a significant role in determining what your brand’s social media tonality will be.
- Take the lead from your brand’s website. It is important to understand and address the digital channel in its entirety. Your brand’s social media efforts must be an extension of your brand’s website. The tonality for the brand must be holistic. Websites should always be created with a sound understanding of brand voice and brand persona. If this is the way your brand’s site was written, you already have a good foundation for developing your style with posts or blogging.
Your brand’s body language is determined by your brand’s tonality. Make sure you’ve got the right posture to ensure your brand’s success in your social media initiatives.