3 STRATEGIESTo Strengthen YourBrand’s Social Voice

3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice1“You neverunilaterallycontrol yourbrand’ssocial voice.”Clearly & Concisely Personify Your BrandAs a marketing leader within your organization, it is your job to accurately and acutelyengage the appropriate people and resources to generate a clear, concise brand voice.You’ve hopefully addressed, at least conceptually, your brand voice for advertising, publicrelations and other marketing efforts. Social, however, is in a league of its own becausebrand conversations may not directly start from, end with or include your brand at all.Lesson one: you never unilaterally control your brand’s social voice.So why do many businesses still routinely, and sometimes hastily, throw team members(often interns or junior associates) head first into social community management? Oftenthey have little to no understanding of how the voice they project will positively—ornegatively—affect the greater business. Others are more sophisticated, with humanhorsepower and the technology to implement a social voice at scale. But without properalignment even the most prepared team will generate disjointed social experiences andlackluster conversations. As an initial strategy, discuss with your team ways to establishand maintain a cohesive voice.QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:• What are our brand’s guiding principles and how do we extend them socially?• How can we complement the style and voice of our inbound social conversations?• Should our brand’s social voice be casual, formal or adaptive as necessary?• What human qualities do we want to regularly exude?• What are our tactical sentence structure, verb tense and grammar preferences?If multiple people on your team manage the social process, the tone of your company’stweets and posts may differ depending on who publishes what content. Even if you agreeon a collective brand voice, each team member may personify it in a different way and, inturn, cause disparate brand conversations. The devil is in the details and, while seeminglyinconsequential, setting the tone by which you operate will nicely unify your voice andcreate a better brand experience.sproutsocial.com

3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice2“Steer clear ofquestionableconversations.”Be Open & Responsive—But Stay ClassyIn a few short years—and with more than a billion people on board—social engagementnow literally shapes worldwide conversations around topics from politics and celebrity tobusiness and brand loyalty. Naturally, questions arise of who, what, where, when and whybrands should start or jump into social conversations. Without preparation, situations canget sticky, so find that appropriate balance to stay relevant but (please!) keep it classy.Lesson two: steer clear of questionable conversations.It is easy to get caught up in the moment and react to news, opinions and trivial socialcommentary, especially within or around your brand category. While it is important to payattention and engage with the world around you, quick reactions and dives intoquestionable conversations may lead to unwanted attention for your brand. Even with anagreed upon brand voice, it is important to ensure published content stays on track andconversations continued by social managers are on message.QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:• What topics, if any, are off limits for our social communication channels?• When is it appropriate to take conversations to direct or private message?• How should we accurately differentiate personal opinions from brand opinions?• How do we address conversations or questions about our competitors?• Do we properly support and answer customer issues through social?In light of these insights, and in concert with your brand marketing campaigns, set termsof engagement to manage social conversations across channels and networks. Yes,engage your audience, support varying viewpoints and spark healthy debate but, asindividuals, stay mindful that you represent an entity greater than yourself.Acknowledgement of these terms is critical and as a team you should set standardsaround your social voice that add value and engender positivity.sproutsocial.com

3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social Voice3“Socialgovernanceshould notprevent youfrom beinginteresting.”Be Consistent & Refine in Real-TimeEvery company—whether it’s a small business or a large enterprise—is full of variedpersonalities in charge of social exchanges. A diverse corporate makeup is great forinnovation and culture, but may present challenges as you define your brand’s socialvoice. Once you have determined the overall tone and timing of your company’s socialpersona, put pen to paper yet remember to stay agile. Lesson three: social governanceshould not prevent your brand from being interesting.Before companies knew how to appropriately leverage social, most brand activity onsocial platforms was an afterthought to comprehensive planning and well-timedcampaigns. As teams grow and players rotate, standards should include key points andphrases as well as guidelines for the type and tone of social media content. If you ensurethat everyone is in agreement about your brand’s voice, it will help alleviate questions orconcerns about social conversations and who manages what content.QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:• Who should participate in social conversations on behalf of our brand?• Who is the point of contact for questions or content approval?• How will we stay consistent with other ongoing brand marketing activities?• Should we create formal social voice standards for the company?• How do we monitor and measure effectiveness of our social voice?After a set of standards is finalized, obtain approvals and sign offs from anyone in yourorganization who should be involved in the process. Then communicate appropriately toensure understanding and (fingers crossed) avoid pleas of ignorance should somethinggo wrong. As you strive for consistency, you’ll likely realize some standards do not fit orscenarios may arise for which you did not account. That’s perfectly okay. Followguidelines to ensure consistency, but refine in real-time and maintain a certain level ofspontaneity to keep your audience coming back for more.sproutsocial.com

3 Strategies to Strengthen Your Brand’s Social VoiceBuilding a clear, classy and consistent brand voice can be challenging, butwith the right individual and team techniques, you’ll reap the rewards ofheightened engagement. These three strategies certainly require work but, whenimplemented, will solidify your brand’s social voice and establish meaningfulrelationships that stretch beyond a status update to stand the test of time.About Sprout SocialSprout Social provides social media engagement,publishing and analytic tools for top global brandsincluding AMD, McDonald’s, Pepsi, UPS and Yammer.A powerful platform for social business, Sproutenables brands to more effectively manage socialchannels and provide an exceptional customerexperience. Headquartered in Chicago, Sprout is aTwitter Certified Product and a Facebook PreferredMarketing Developer.For more information or to start a FREE, 30-day trial,visit sproutsocial.comLIKE TWEET CIRCLE

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