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Social Media for Small Business: How do I develop a tone of voice?

March 8, 2019 / 4 min

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Social Media for Small Business: How do I develop a tone of voice?

March 8, 2019 / 4 min

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Tone of voice is a crucial part of social media for small business. When you’re connecting with customers through social media, tone of voice has more power than you might realise. Getting it right means better connection with potential clients and customers.

It’s important to develop a tone of voice that gives your business a personality. To learn more about what it means for your small business and how you can find your tone of voice, we spoke to Grace Dorman, founder and director of The Social School.

“Your tone of voice is what sets you apart from your competitors; it speaks to your audience about who you are and what you offer in a tone that embodies your brand,” she says.

“It’s a crucial element in generating online awareness and engagement. And it’s imperative that you establish your tone of voice as soon you begin planning your social media strategy.”

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Listen to what others are saying

Before you start creating a tone of voice for your small business, spend some time doing market research into the ways other businesses speak on social media.

“While it might seem counterintuitive at first, your competitors are your best resource,” Dorman says.

“Examine the websites and social profiles of brands in your field that you think have done a great job of cultivating a great tone of voice, and write down the things you love most about them.”

Once you’ve got a list together, use it to identify the key characteristics you want your small business to have, then mix and match to create your unique tone of voice.

It’s a crucial element in generating online awareness and engagement. And it's imperative that you establish your tone of voice as soon you begin planning your social media strategy.

Make your customers stop scrolling

Potential customers are busy browsing through a range of social media for small business feeds, but having a well-established tone of voice will help your business capture and maintain their engagement.

“Captions that are just a series of emojis or single-word expressions – unless incredibly out-of-this-world clever – don’t have the power to garner people’s’ attention for long,”  Dorman says.

While your images may be incredibly beautiful, it’s the messages that you impart to your audience that they will remember in the long run.”

Think carefully about who your customers are, and what will stand out to them on social media. That means everything from emojis and slang, to sentence length and relevant hashtags.

Create rules that you’ll stick with

Once you’ve got a tone of voice established, make your rules and stick to them.

“You want anyone who’s looking at your content to be able to identify your brand or small business wherever they come across it online,” Dorman says.

“Otherwise, you’re offering up mixed messages to the world. It would be disappointing, after all the hard work you’ve put into your business, for someone to walk away simply because they had difficulty identifying what your brand was about.”

A simple way to do this is to create a list of dos and dont’s for the way your small business speaks, so you can refer back to it every time you plan a post.

Keep track of what’s working

Whether you’re going it alone, or have someone else managing your social media channels, keeping track of how your content performs is key to knowing how well your tone of voice is resonating.

“Tone of voice can be hard to lock down at first. But once you’ve got it, you’ll be amazed at what it will do for your business,” Dorman says.

An increase in online engagement is one way to know your tone of voice is working well. Grace Dorman has created a simple tool to help your small business track Instagram engagement, and it can be found on her website.

Finally, make sure you review your social media regularly and always check off your content against the key characteristics you’ve defined for your tone of voice.

“Ask yourself after writing each piece of content if it sounds like the tone of voice you’ve set out to create for your brand or small business,” says Dorman.

“If it doesn’t, ask yourself why? What is it missing? What are you including that’s not really necessary?”

Keep an eye out for the third part of this Social Media For Small Business series. We’ll look into some social media practices that make your small business more visible. Missed part one? We spoke about choosing the channels that are right for you. Click here to read it now.



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