This is the last installment of my three-part series on tactical methods companies can use to carry out rebranding across multiple social media accounts. In the last two weeks, I have discussed common pitfalls companies face during the process of changing their names and images on a variety of social channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and blogs and how to overcome them. Today, I’ll focus on how to change your company’s social media voice during the rebranding process, and how to know if changing your voice is even necessary.
A strong social media company voice
In our every day social interactions, many of us naturally seek out others who are centered and grounded. These qualities are expressed through consistency and stability of personality and are integral to maintaining healthy, long-term relationships, whether they are personal or business.
As social media enables us to extend and expand real life relationships, these qualities are virtuous while engaging on these channels, too. A consistent social media voice helps companies establish authority and a distinctive personality, which expresses the stability and long-term “health” of the organization and attracts positive relationships and business.
A strong company voice on social media should emphasize the company’s values, objectives and key differentiators that set it apart from its competitors. These can be expressed in the tone of the communication and the content that is shared with community members and the target audience.
A company’s social media voice should only be changed if absolutely necessary and should maintain all of these qualities. Any change should be preceded by lots of information explaining the change to community members to ensure they know it is deliberate and that the company isn’t suffering from some form of instability, which jeopardizes relationships.
During a rebranding, companies often want to update their image to reflect an evolution of their brand. A company should only consider changing its social media voice if it plans to target new audiences, distinguish itself from competitors or change its business goals or mission in its rebranding efforts.
Targeting new audiences
If your target audience has expanded or changed during your rebranding, you may need to change your voice to reach them. This could mean changing the tone of your voice to reach a new demographic, or even setting up new accounts to communicate with other language groups.
For example, if you are rebranding to reach more young people, you may need to adopt a more conversational tone and share different content that appeals to them, such as magazine articles instead of business reports. If a significant portion of your new audience speaks a different language, you may also benefit by adding a new social media channel that offers communications in the other language.
In making any transition, you must have a deep understanding of your new target audience. Who are you speaking to? Or better yet, who wants to hear from you? How does your audience communicate? To answer these questions, you must listen to your new audience members to uncover their interests and how they communicate with each other. This is how you will be able to offer content that interests them and build a loyal base of new followers.
Distinguishing your company from competitors
Distinguishing your voice from the competition is a great way to earn loyal followers. Like learning to communicate with new community members, the key to developing a distinct new voice is by listening to how your competition is communicating through social media.
Important here is the fact that communication varies across social media channels. For instance, the long prose of blogs allows businesses to provide in-depth information and demonstrate a clear position on a topic. Research what your competition is writing about and get a clear understanding of their positions to determine how your company could offer a fresh perspective on its own blog.
As Twitter restricts communications to short updates, a business’s voice is built up over time and potentially across multiple subject areas. Are there areas left unaddressed by your competition? How could you fill those gaps? You should ask yourself similar questions about all of the channels where your competition may hold a presence.
Changing business goals or mission
If your business is changing its goals or mission statement, social media provides a great opportunity to explain the changes to community members. Your goals and mission form the core of your business and are therefore the most important to communicate. These new messages need to be shared across all company social media accounts to best reflect a rebranding and prepare community members for a change in content and overall voice.
According to Social Media Today, in determining your social media voice, it is best to first define what you stand for and write it down. “This could be a tagline or a two-sentence statement of what you want your blog or Facebook page to represent to readers, or what type of information source you want your Twitter followers to see you as. You can call it your Mission or your Soapbox or your Position; the important thing is to write it down and look at it often as you decide how you represent yourself and shape what you write down for ‘social’ consumption.”
Next, you need to establish new social media goals that reflect your new company goals. Do your new goals require you to address customer concerns and feedback through social media? Establish more influential online thought leadership? These new social media goals should all be set out in your social media strategy. For more information, I suggest you read this post on how to create a social media content strategy.
As mentioned previously, use this opportunity to explain the rebranding to audience members. Create blog posts that explain your new mission, goals, who you want to reach and what you are doing differently. Update your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn statuses with this information and address questions and concerns from your community.
Was this post helpful? Did I miss any key social media rebranding areas that should be addressed? Is anyone currently going through this process with lessons to share?