Do you have a style guide for communicating in your brand's voice on social media? Developing a style guide starts by building a persona, establishing a tone, using particular language, and having a strong sense of purpose. This video will help you develop communication guidelines to ensure online service accurately reflects the organization's brand.
- One best practice for every social media team is to develop a style guide. A style guide provides instructions for consistently communicating in your brand's voice. You want your social media communication to be clear, consistent, and authentic. In this video, I'm going to share some tips so you can create one for your organization. Now, before we get started, be sure to include other teams in this process if you have multiple departments using social media. Stephanie Schwab at Crackerjack Marketing has graciously given me permission to share her four quadrant model, which I think is one of the best.
There are four elements to the model. We're gonna walk through each one, starting with character or persona. The character, or persona, is who your brand sounds like. You want to adopt a persona that feels comfortable and familiar to your typical customers. Let's see how two different wireless carriers respond to a similar tweet. AT&T adopts a persona that's corporate and professional. While T-Mobile sounds a little more like your playful friend.
You want to create a persona that fits your brand. Think about a character who would represent the ideal customer service representative for your customers. The next step is deciding upon the tone of your communication. Stephanie Schwab refers to tone as the vibe that people get when they connect with your brand on social media. Let's look back at those tweets from AT&T and T-Mobile. What's the tone that you get from each one? Here's AT&T's tweet.
How would you describe this tone? My first thoughts are: helpful, and sincere. Here's the tweet from T-Mobile. What does this tone sound like to you? I immediately think energetic and caring. Think about the type of tone you want to convey to your customers. What do you think would resonate best with the people you serve? The third step is determining what sort of language you want to use. Do you want to use formal, professional words? Or, do you want your social media voice to be more informal? Here's where you tackle questions like whether or not it's okay to use emojis.
Notice the tweets from AT&T and T-Mobile use different language to convey the same intention. AT&T uses more formal language, such as apologize, and inconvenience. T-Mobile uses more informal language like woah, and what's going on? Try to identify some examples of language that fit your desired persona and tone. Do you want your brand to sound formal or informal? Edgy or scientific? There are many choices.
The key is choosing language that fits your brand. The final step is clarifying your purpose for serving customers on social media. Is it to inform, entertain, solve technical issues? Your purpose will help you decide what to communicate and how. Let's compare those two tweets one last time. AT&T wants to help the customer solve an issue, and hopefully retain that customer's business, but look carefully at the customer's tweet. They tweeted to @ATT, but @ATTCares responded.
That means that AT&T wants to keep their marketing and support messages separate, at least on Twitter. Like AT&T, T-Mobile is trying to help the customer solve an issue and hopefully retain that customer's business, but notice that T-Mobile is tweeting from their primary corporate account, not a separate support handle, so their social media purpose is a little different than AT&T's. T-Mobile wants to communicate with a more unified voice. Now, it's your turn to create your own social media style guide.
You can download the Social Media Style Guide Worksheet to help you. It contains helpful tips, links to additional information, and a link to a great example from a company called MailChimp.
- Identifying key social media platforms
- Communicating with customers in your brand's voice
- Listening and responding to customers on social media
- Listening to customer feedback on review sites
- Making self-service easy for customers