People buy from people they like. So the age old adage goes. This may seem like somewhat of a sales cliché but in fact is as true today as it ever was, particularly among the Millennial generation, which we discussed recently. To successfully appeal to those demanding Millennials, who want everything now, it’s not just social media marketers who need to respond quickly to clients it’s the brand itself.

Some of the most successful companies at creating and nurturing their brand’s online voice know that “Traffic is nice, but conversation with the reader is nicer, a glorified RSS feed is a waste of time.”

So how do companies successfully create a brand voice that resonates with customers?

Stay Classy

With approximately 1 in 4 people around the world using social networks in 2013 there is a constant swirling mass of unfiltered opinions and conversations that flow through the medium of social media 24 hours a day. With so much opportunity for social engagement the trick is to know when brands should engage and jump into social conversations. When brands do reply to customers it’s best to “keep it classy”. It’s important to remember what you want your brand to represent and respond to comments in kind. Reacting negatively to a comment or a news article could damage your brand image and alienate customers. Conversely pre-written auto responses that lack a human voice, like those of the Bank of America, illustrate the damage that can be done if you are seen not to be taking your social media audience seriously.

Clarity – Getting Everyone Onboard

The key to constructing a strong brand voice is to ensure a sense of clarity through all brand communications. Often there are many on a brand’s social community management team. The team must have an exact understanding of the brand’s intended message, the tone of its messages, the types of language to be used (professional or colloquial) and the character of the brand. Ensure everyone within your social media marketing team knows these fundamentals and hold regular meetings with personnel across all social media channels.  “With so many channels on which to communicate your message, you will need to ensure everything tallies up”.

Consistency– The Internet is Forever

If there are discrepancies between communications then that’s when unwanted negative attention can arise. Keep your message consistent across all channels. Remember, the Internet is forever. As any unwitting viral video star will tell you, embarrassing mistakes take a while to fizzle out of social consciousness and they don’t disappear. Don’t believe me? Ask the Numa Numa guy!

Do Your Homework, Know Your Audience

Arguably the most important point of all when creating a brand voice. Know your audience. The brand’s voice should be unashamedly aimed at the type of customers and followers that you (want to) attract. Do your homework and ensure you know exactly the type of people your brand is going to be talking to. “The more people can relate to the brand as a distinctive, trust-worthy personality, the more approachable it will become and a deeper customer relationship will develop.”
Attaining that perfect singular brand voice can be a difficult endeavor. If you want your brand’s voice to ooze charm and sophistication like some sort of digital 007 or have your audience laughing at your brand’s sharp tongued satirical postings, then it’s going to take practice. So get started! If you need any inspiration there are plenty of brands out there getting themselves heard (Skittles are a great example with over 24 million facebook fans).

When a brand’s social media voice is managed correctly it offers brands unbeatable opportunities to make themselves visible, accessible and to continue to grow. Everyone wins as fans and followers reap benefits of a succinct brand voice by getting a valuable exchange with the company and feeling like they are part of the brand they follow. An engaged audience (particularly those pesky Millenials) will then do the marketing for you by sharing your brand with their friends and family across the globe.
By Sam Shedden