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Establishing Tone of Voice in Your Social Strategy

To be successful on social media as a business or individual, you must be unique. You’ve probably heard this before and it’s more or less true. In the world of social media marketing and content marketing, we all make a point of explaining the importance of determining a tone of voice for your business; although it is sometimes more complex than it first appears.

When picking a digital partner to kick-start or re-invigorate your social accounts, it’s important a tone of voice document is created. In this blog, we’ll be explaining how you can truly own a unique tone of voice to enhance your social media presence. This can also be applied throughout your content efforts.

Defining your tone of voice

There are so many ways to identify your tone of voice. We use the most effective way, which is through collaborative workshops. Sit down the most relevant team members because you’ll want a variation of opinions but not an abundance. Too many conflicting thoughts can be unproductive.

First off, let’s clear up the difference between “voice” and “tone”. The social team at Buffer had this to say:

“Voice is a mission statement. Tone is the application of that mission.”

Words, words, words

Put your thinking caps on and start listing some creative words that you believe suit your brand and business model.

We’ve handpicked a selection of adjectives to help get you started:

  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Engaging
  • Responsive
  • Ethical
  • Cultured
  • Approachable
  • Professional
  • Established
  • Experienced
  • First
  • Competent
  • Humorous
  • Playful
  • Warm
  • Humble
  • Entertaining
  • Educational
  • Informative
  • Inspirational

Have a think, do any of these words resonate with you or how you’d like to come across as a business?

Persona Exercises

It’s all well and good having a few words that give you a feel for what you’re trying to be on social media or in your content strategy. But the next step is one which may require input from more members of the team. Depending on the size of your business, you probably want a few ‘seniors’ in this exercise – experienced people familiar with the business and demographics.

You need to invent a handful of fictional characters who you believe you’re marketing to; a good way to get an idea is through analytics and research beforehand. Some of the basic factors you should include in the persona template include:

  • A profile picture (use a stock image)
  • A full name
  • Age
  • Job role
  • Company/Company type
  • Size of company
  • Likes/dislikes

Ideally, you would create a mixture of personas. Then your team can discuss the current content being created and if it fits with these personas. You need to understand the persona’s needs, so here are some tasks to help do that:

  • Throw some popular questions out there and pin them against the personas who you believe would be asking them.
  • Collaborate with lots of different content ideas you’d like to try. Pin your ideas next to each persona. You’ll be able to see which of the ideas will work with each of the different personas and which won’t.
  • Go back to the words you picked at the beginning of these exercises and pin them next to the relevant personas. You will visibly be able to see a pattern appearing, some personas will be fitting your tone of voice.

The digital team at Swordfish Marketing asked me how it can be achieved effectively:

“Collaboration and communication. I don’t think I can stress these two words enough when it comes to defining your social tone of voice, or any tone of voice online. Everybody needs to be on the same page because confusion and inconsistencies are so noticeable to your audience. To increase brand awareness on your social media channels, consistency is vital.”

Creating a document

Pick the channels and platforms you’re going to use to reach your intended audience. For instance, if you’re trying to target 18-24-year olds, then for social media Instagram would likely be the best option.

At Swordfish Marketing, a content driven agency, we create in-depth tone of voice documents. Within these, we discuss what the business stands for, topics of conversation, content structure, account setup, and guidelines. And this is just for social media.

The tone of voice isn’t just something for social media though; it should be prominent in your blog posts too.

If you’re interested in establishing a tone of voice for your social presence or throughout your online content, get in touch.

Charlie Wright

Written by: Charlie Wright