If you’ve been on YouTube at any point during the last few months, you’ve probably encountered Nick Offerman reading Tweets from young female celebrities. A semi-regular feature on Conan, the über manly star of Parks & Recreation’s deadpan readings of Tweets about poodles, fruit snacks, and other precious things are among the funniest things online. And in the era of memes, that’s really saying something. This latest installment of the series got us thinking: Is your brand perceived as silly as Nick Offerman? Don’t get us wrong, we have mad love for Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, and all the other lovely ladies he mocks on a regular basis. It’s just a stellar example of why tone and buyer personas matter when it comes to social media storytelling. Here’s why:
1. People Want a Consistent Experience
One of the most lauded and beloved personas on the Internet is DKNY’s PR girl, whose Tumblr page is run by the brand’s SVP of international communications, Aliza Licht. There’s a lot to love, but the voice is consistent, and every question asked is answered in a tone consistent with the character. However, what’s perhaps most important is that Licht is pretty believable at playing the gossipy and bouncy 20-something urban professional, because she undoubtedly once was one herself. Point is, the readers know what to expect, and Licht delivers every time.
2. You Need to Define Your Brand Identity
Unless you want your social media followers to worry that your page has been taken over by a hacker like Burger King’s was, you need a defined identity. Your defined identity can reveal personal aspects, but it can’t have bad days or multiple personalities. Social media expert Jerome Pineau recommends evaluating the following aspects to develop a tone you can stick with:
- How knowledgeable and technical are your buyer personas?
- Are they well-connected on social media networks?
- Are they personable or fact-driven?
3. Don’t Surprise Anyone
One of the best ways to lose followers and come across as weird as Nick Offerman does is to do a humor fail. There are hundreds of examples of brands that experienced a social media crash and burn and even lost clients after a joke gone terribly wrong. Your humor needs to be in line with your prospects’ expectations. Microsoft Lync recently hit a home run with a joke that was just as nerdy and typography-focused as its fan base:
Video: Is Your Social Media Tone Asking to Be Made Fun of? image credit: Nick B. Martin
Had Selena Gomez or Conan O’Brien made the same joke, it wouldn’t have gone over nearly as well.
4. Identify a Muse
It may seem a bit weird, but it’s worked pretty well for prodigies and artistic virtuosos for centuries. We’re not necessarily talking about identifying someone so beautiful and fascinating that you can’t help but pen the perfect Tweets in just the right tone. Instead, identify someone who talks, Tweets, and makes purchase decisions like your ideal customer and social media follower. Blogger Rosie Siman recommends nominating a celebrity if you’ve got multiple Tweeters in your organization, so there’s a sense of instant familiarity. Maybe it’s Tom Hanks or Guy Fieri, or maybe it’s Bill Nye the Science Guy. Figure out who it is, and immerse yourself in adopting their tone.
5. Create a Linguistic Guide
Does a large social media team need a tone guide, much in the same way that a style guide is a really great idea for a content team of multiple writers? I can attest that the latter has certainly worked wonders for IMA’s content creators. Siman advises social media experts to delve deeper than grammar and punctuation to really grasp a brand’s tone, by addressing catchphrases and common reactions. We’re no psychics, but we wouldn’t be surprised if social media departments of the future adopt in-depth training on tone to keep a consistent and believable brand personality.
We’re dying to hear your thoughts! How does your personal or company brand maintain a consistent and believable tone on social media?
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