Your corporate tone of voice governs how you say what you want to say online. The language you use and the way in which you use it creates a perception of the kind of company you are. Are you casual or formal? Specialists or generalists? Your tone of voice reflects answers to these questions and therefore influences how you are perceived. The old adage is that visitors make a judgement about your website after a maximum of seven seconds. The language you use and the tone this creates contributes to that judgement.
But tone of voice can be a difficult one, especially for big corporate or professional services-based businesses…
Many businesses have come unstuck when they have used the wrong tone of voice while talking to their clients and prospects.
Get it right and you could increase engagement rates and online trust across all of your channels. Get it wrong and you could damage your business’ reputation.
Maintaining a tone of voice is a whole different problem especially when you have a big marketing team. You may have two executives writing and scheduling content for your social media channels, while your copywriters are writing multiple blog posts.
So how do you go about maintaining your tone of voice in both a small team and that sort of large environment?
Make sure your tone of voice is reflected in your digital strategy
The best way to initially document your tone of voice is to add it into your online and social media strategies. By adding your tone of voice into your strategy it sets a guideline for all employees to follow.
Your target audience and brand personality should already be clearly defined and you should have messaging that you know will directly speak to your audience.
While it can be a great tactic to have a personable and chatty side to your tone of voice, it still needs to align to your strategy. It’s a common issue where businesses make it too personal and end up coming across too casual.
Train your employees
Probably the most obvious way to maintain a company tone of voice is to make sure your employees know what it is and how to use it. It’s a truism that most employees can’t state their firm’s vision. The same is true of voice.
Without an ongoing dialogue with the wider team, it’s far too easy for employees to slip and morph the tone of voice into something different.
Set up a training session and define exactly what the tone of voice is. If you can do this ‘live’ with your team, rather than taking a tone of voice to them, you’re likely to get increased buy in and better results. Use examples of blog posts and social media content that you feel they should be using. Remember that this sort of process will be ongoing, and you will constantly have to drill it into your employees and new starters.
Constantly monitor your channels
Something you should be doing already any way is monitoring all of your incoming and outgoing communications.
It’s crucial that you monitor the feedback you are getting from your audience. If it’s mainly negative then you may need to have a look at your overall tone of voice and make changes.
On the other hand, if it’s positive then you need to take note and stick with your messaging.
Monitoring also gives you the chance to evaluate your employees and the sort of communications they are sending out.
If you really want to keep an eye on all of your comms, create an approval process. You can do this either manually by asking to see all comms before they get sent out or you can use a built in approval system via a social media management platform.
Evaluate and make changes
With more and more types of communication it can be a constant battle to keep up and make sure everything is covered.
People will come and go within the business and the business might even change it’s direction.
But if you put the right processes in place to ensure your tone of voice and messaging is still aligned, you should have no problems, and should be ready for any unexpected changes.