Know Your Brand, Learn Your Voice, Nail Your Social Content

It’s become second nature for modern PR professionals – get your brand on social media.

A direct-messaging service communicating your key brand points right to your customer’s phones and laptops – sounds simple, right? Wrong.

Social media can make or break a brand’s reputation – just ask DiGiorno’s Pizza, Protein World or any number of unlucky MPs.

Social media for brands is sometimes seen as easy but it’s actually very hard to get right. However, when you do – the result can be a marked increase in customer satisfaction, fan interaction and ultimately increased loyalty to your brand.

Social media is the face – and voice – of your brand.

It’s the illusion of spontaneity and projection of your brand’s chosen personality. You essentially invent a character to represent you and the voice of the character you invent must appear to be one that your fans can relate to. Anything coming across as false, forced or inauthentic will be easily sniffed out and die a quick painful death in the 100-mile a minute world of micro-blogging.

Apparently effortless streams of consciousness, off the cuff topical remarks, witty comments and charming replies are all part and parcel of what is actually a meticulously thought out plan on behalf of the social media experts. Yes, they do exist, and yes, they are very good at what they do. But you can do it too.

Take, for example, Innocent – fluffy animals and endlessly cute topical commentary all feed into their squeaky clean image as purveyor of colourful drinks that’ll improve your insides. An Innocent-er is into self-improvement, sustainability and environmental preservation – and if there’s gif of a baby panda sneezing that’s an added bonus.

Tesco, previous gaffes aside, also have a social media team that is attempting gamely to improve upon a badly damaged PR rep. More challenging perhaps, they must appeal to almost everyone – they do this with straightforward replies to customers and genuinely funny posts approaching something that almost resembles what a real person might say – a far off dream for the majority of brands on social media.

Dove’s social media channels are absolutely key in proliferating their key brand messages. The tone, content, imagery and even colour scheme are carefully orchestrated to ensure a consistent brand experience for the ‘real women’ who make up their customer base.

For all three the tone of voice appears warm, conversational and apparently offhand – to the untrained eye.

The real secret to this easy tone is to plan, plan, plan.

Know your brand, know your customer and soon you will know your voice.

Deciding content pillars can be an excellent way to focus your social output and filter out the duff stuff. To do this, you must first start to ask yourself a few key questions.

Who are you speaking to? Mums? Teenage girls? “Lads” on the look out for a bit of banter or young professionals seeking upwardly-mobile lifestyle tips? Decide on their interests, what intrigues them, what turns them on – in other words, what they ‘like’.

Use this to work on your own personality, your hobbies and interests, your loves and hates – even down to who you (the brand) would follow on Twitter and why.

By all means take notes from other brands doing it particularly well but an individual tone of voice is one that will really stand out from the over-populated social media crowd.

What this allows you to do is comment freely on all manner of topical content and produce engaging posts day after day all the while maintaining the same reassuringly familiar character your fans have come to know and, hopefully, love.

Use this as guide through which to play all your interactions – and be consistent.

The harder you work to achieve this, the better your fans will get to know the ‘real you’ – whichever ‘real you’ that is, is up to you to decide.

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