Insights

Finding Your Brand’s Social Media Voice

Nailing down an entertaining, authentic, and helpful voice for your brand on social media is more art than science. The best way to learn how, of course, is to take a look at the brands that are absolutely killing it.

When MoonPie so boldly told Kaela that she should spell her name with a “y”, we all forgot for a moment that we were witnessing an interaction between consumer and brand. 

And, when Wendy’s posted sci-fi and fantasy-style art for the iconic Wendy character, Spirit Halloween jumped in and suggested a Wendy’s collab for a new Halloween costume. Consumers laughed and rallied from the sidelines. 

Adopting snarky, sarcastic brand personalities through social media is certainly trending and appeals to Millennials and Gen Z, but does it yield a meaningful impact? If done correctly, having the right social media voice can position your brand as an authentic and relevant part of the current conversation. 

Join the Conversation on Social Media

Brands that have an active voice on social media and stay on top of trends succeed in remaining a relevant part of the current conversation. 

For example, when Sheriff Grady Judd got dragged for suggesting the solution to a recent crime wave was to “chill out, drink a 7-up, eat a MoonPie, and quit murdering people,” MoonPie immediately responded by asking people to stop sending them the news story. 

Another classic? Arby’s noticed an uncanny similarity between Pharrell’s hat and its iconic logo –  so much so that it tweeted directly to the singer and asked for the hat back.  Naturally, Arby’s achieved thousands of retweets and media attention, but the real win was when Pharrell playfully responded by asking if Arby’s was “Tryna start a roast beef?” This is the kind of organic PR you simply can’t pay for. 

This is the kind of organic PR you simply can’t pay for. 

Think of the Worst Way Your Message Can be Interpreted

Brands get in hot water on social media all the time, often by accident. The best way to avoid a blunder is to consider how any single tweet or post can be interpreted before you post it. 

Health and beauty company “Clicks” posted a four-part image on social media, one that labeled a white woman’s blonde hair as “normal,” while referring to the hair of two black models as “frizzy” and “dry and damaged.” This massive gaffe drew the ire of Twitter users, who created entire hashtag campaigns devoted to tearing down the ad. The outrage even sparked real-world protests to fight race-based haircare bias. 

It’s impossible to speak to “intention” in this case, and frankly, it doesn’t matter. When engaging on social media, your messages will be scrutinized for biased language and messaging. Your social media team should include a sensitivity reader to avoid these mistakes. 

Authenticity is Everything

This is the most important consideration because, without it, even the best intentions can backfire.  Adopting the voice of the consumer is a tricky endeavor when you are a faceless, big-box brand, and there is a fine line between being authentic and trying too hard. 

When Jell-O launched its tongue-in-cheek “Fun My Life” campaign, leveraging the popular #FML hashtag, it intended for consumers to appreciate the play on words with a wink and a nod.  However, Jell-O missed the mark by trying to force a shift from a sarcastic and self-deprecating tone to one that was overly “fun” and highly branded. In the end, it came off as if the brand didn’t really understand the sentiment behind #FML, and that it was completely out of touch.

Communicating with consumers via social media is an integral part of the brand experience.

Easy Access to Your Brand is a Double-Edged Sword

Brands need to consider their tone, message, and the potential impact these interactions can have on customer loyalty.  

Although social media may not appear to have a direct correlation to the bottom line, it is important to remember that all experiences will invariably reflect on purchase behavior. When comparing your brand to the competition, social media is the ultimate equalizer – unbound by budget, size of the brand, or marketing resources. 

So, take advantage of the opportunity. Be involved, be responsive, be relevant, and be authentic. If you can accomplish those things, you’ll find yourself at top of mind for consumers everywhere.


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