tone of voice

Finding the tone of voice that makes your community engagement connect

It’s important to get your brand’s tone spot on when responding to consumers on social media.

These days, “tone” is more than just words. For example, younger generations say they find it rude and rather abrupt to use a full stop on a WhatsApp message. Rather than being seen as good grammar, some people think, “Are they mad at me? Did I do something wrong?”

Emojis, which used to be ridiculed as silly things that were ruining language and only used by ‘lazy’ teenagers, are now mainstream. Brands, celebrities, even politicians, use them every day.

And then there are gifs and memes, which were – again – once dismissed as Tumblr fodder, but now act as crucial ways for people and brands to communicate.

Why is finding the right tone so important?

The tone your brand uses when engaging on social media plays a huge role in how easy people find it to connect with the brand. 

The right tone helps to humanise your brand and gives it some personality. It can help if you use the same sort of words and phrases your fans use, but only if it’s a natural fit for your brand – otherwise you risk looking like the embarrassing uncle who still thinks he’s down with the kids.

Finding the right tone 

To hit the right note, your tone of voice should convey your brand values.

Your community engagement can say all of the right things, but if it doesn’t sound genuine and convey the appropriate emotion,  it won’t make an impact on people. To find the right tone, consider the following:

  1. Include your brand’s values throughout your tone of voice. For example, if you want everyone to know how important diversity is to your brand, use inclusive language when responding to any queries about your employee policy.  Always use a friendly, welcoming tone. Avoid being overly formal when dealing with serious issues, as that can make you sound like you’re following a script, rather than genuinely caring about what you’re responding about.
  2. Use your objectives to guide your tone of voice. For example, while you may want to showcase your commitment to certain causes, you may also want to prompt people to donate to them. By using active and persuasive language that conveys the right emotional tone, you can encourage people to give, rather than simply empathising with the cause and leaving their engagement at a ‘like’.
  3. Use tone to convey your values and messages in a way that resonates with your audience. Two brands can easily share the same values and similar objectives, but be working in completely different markets. You know your audience, and you know what sort of language and tone they connect with, so it’s best to keep this in mind when responding on behalf of the brand.

It’s necessary to create tone of voice documentation for your community team to refer to.

While tone of voice is a powerful tool, even the most engaging one becomes ineffective when it’s used inconsistently. The community engagement documentation should include key words and phrases to use, as well as examples of what good engagement looks like.

Create, or work with, a team of social media specialists who know how to blend your objectives, values and audience expectations into a tone of voice that expertly uses empathy and appropriate emotion to craft great community engagement  that people believe and to help develop a meaningful relationship with a brand.

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