The Magic of Social Voice

Leery of using social media for your brand? You’re not alone. Companies misuse (or simply misunderstand) social media all the time, and results can be disastrous. A quick Google search will lead you to plenty of corporate socializing attempts gone awry – not to mention news articles about the mishaps that add insult to injury.

But social media’s potential for value is deep, and sometimes, the most thoughtful brands can capture a zeitgeist. At Trevelino/Keller, we prepare our clients for managing social media accounts (or simply revamping unloved ones) by focusing on a foundational part of any brand element: voice.

Doing social media well doesn’t start with planning tweets or selecting stock imagery for Instagram (and it doesn’t end with likes or retweets, either). When brands come to us in search of a social refresh, we set about defining their voice first and foremost.

What makes a good voice? It all depends on the kind of company you are. If your brand is serious and earnest, it makes sense to develop a social voice that doesn’t rely on puns and jokes. None of that means you have to be boring. Once you’ve defined your voice, figuring out how to apply it to various platforms and situations makes a lot more sense. Understanding your voice provides a roadmap for all your social media.

On the other hand, a more irreverent brand can make some room for some lighter content. Take Wendy’s, for example.

Wendy’s social voice tends to be cheeky, which has mostly served the brand well. It’s a fast food chain with a playful reputation, so a little roasting can do the job well, so to speak.

Then there’s a brand like Intel, known more for innovation and less for burger jokes. But instead of taking a stodgy voice or sticking to a more traditionally “serious” medium, like LinkedIn, the company makes platforms like Instagram work for its own needs.

Social media can look deceptively simple, but there’s more than meets the eye in the best corporate accounts. The executions differ, but the first step is always the same: defining a voice. 

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