Effective Social Media Strategies Begin With the Right Tone of Voice

Ben Padley
Ben Padley Global Digital Engagement Director, Barclaycard

Posted on May 25th 2012

Effective Social Media Strategies Begin With the Right Tone of Voice

The ease of publishing content to the web has possibly created an attitude that forming an effective social media campaign involves merely gathering text and making it live with a simple click. However, as more brands discover the business potential of social networking, a company faces growing competition when entering into the arena. In this increasingly crowded field, an organisation’s digital marketing director might find that crafting an engaging social media campaign is not as easy as it might seem.

Every bit of language your company puts online should be aligned with your brand’s messaging, targeted goals, and SEO objectives. This is where the elaboration and implementation of a consistent tone of voice can be vitally important in achieving exactly what you want with social media.

Simply put, tone of voice is the way we say things. In a subtle manner, the tone of communications can Imagereveal the attitudes and personality of a brand. Differentiating your company from a growing number of competitors across social media communities like Facebook and Google + can be difficult, but using a distinctive tone of voice that is true to your brand’s identity can help you to stand out from the crowd.  

Due to the immense amount of language flowing out of a single in-house digital marketingdepartment, it might seem impossible to regulate the style of every single tweet, status update, or comment. This is why tone of voice considerations within your overall global social media engagement strategy can be especially beneficial. For example, rather than policing every letter of content, a VP of digital marketing can work to clearly communicate the key facets of the brand’s personality, and copy can flow directly from this source.

Of course, there are general considerations to think about when coming up with an appropriate tone for your social media communications. Overall, the language used on sharing services such as Twitter or blogging platforms like Tumblr is more personal and conversational. When considering tone, a global head of digital services should keep in mind the fact that most social media networks were created for individuals, not for companies. Thus, it is imperative to be authentic, approachable, inclusive, expressive, and to keep your ears open, just as you would with any conversation.

Within these overriding caveats, you can develop your brand’s voice by looking at it as a personality rather than a company. Drawing upon existing messaging, think about ways to translate your identity into words. For example, a skateboard retailer might have a more playful, catchy tone of voice to have fun with its audience while an academic publisher might use more formal language to spark intellectual debates.   

One of the greatest appeals of social media as a communication tool is that consumers can have direct contact with their brands of choice. If your tone of voice is inviting and appropriate to the core character of your business, then people are more likely to engage with your company online.  

Photo: ankur patil/shutterstock.com

Ben Padley

Ben Padley

Global Digital Engagement Director, Barclaycard

With over 15 years of experience in Sales and Marketing, Ben has worked extensively in local and global marketing roles across different areas of Telecommunications and Financial Services, supporting the agenda of the Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, he was the Global Vice President at Sony Ericsson (now Sony Mobile) and Marketing Director for their UK and Ireland business. Most recently, Ben was Barclaycard’s first Global Digital Director.  

As an experienced VP of Marketing, Ben has led commercial success through all forms of marketing and product marketing, traditional and digital including social media and CRM. Whilst at Sony Ericsson, Ben led the team that developed the brand's global Facebook page from 250,000 to more than 6 million fans in under two years, creating what was at the time recognised as the most engaged Facebook brand page in the world.

You can follow Ben on Twitter @benpadley and read his blog at www.benpadley.com. All opinions expressed in articles are Ben's own.

 

 

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Comments

yoavburger
Posted on May 25th 2012 at 9:29PM

Good article.  Although social media is getting more popular and it's harder to shout above all the noise, i agree with your premise that you can differentiate yourself through your unique personality and in marketing terms - your unique selling proposition.  Keeping it simple so the message is easily understood is key to success.


Thanks for this informative article.


Joel at www.j3webmarketing.com

Loraine Antrim
Posted on May 26th 2012 at 11:08PM

The tone that brands use when they communicate via social media is critical to lasting engagement. Some brands have a lackluster voice or tone, and that does not help engage with critial audiences. Those who have a unique and authentic voice are the ones who are more successful. Be yourself, have some humor and be real. Audiences love authenticity! Great post, Ben. Loraine Antrim, http://twitter.com/#!/loraineantrim

 

VerbID
Posted on May 27th 2012 at 8:23AM

The primary experience of most consumers with most brands these days is via digital.

Tone of voice is crucial.

I think Text Analytics will change brand owners' understanding of what consumers are saying, offering "in-flight" brand-strategy corrections and allowing development of a strong verbal identity for brands.

(At least I hope so, at Verbal Identity we are building a business on it.)

A great post. 100% on the money.

Hope to hear more from you on this. How is Barclaycard adapting to the wealth of new information out there?

 

Chris

Ben Padley
Posted on May 29th 2012 at 2:14PM

Thanks, Joel, Loraine and Chris for your comments, I’m glad you all enjoyed reading the post. At Barclaycard we’ve been focussing on humanising our tone of voice, particularly in customer service communications because we really want to reflect our brand personality and attitude in in the social environment.

Thanks, Ben