20 Great Social Media Voices (And How To Develop Your Own)

You’re doing everything right in social media marketing: you’ve got buy-in from bosses, a strategy for success, ROI all figured out.

But if you don’t have a brand voice, you’ll never get from mediocre to amazing.

Creating a strong, consistent voice is the key to building a real relationship with your audience. Whether you’re B2C or B2B, people ultimately buy from people — more specifically, people we like and relate to.

And social media gives brands a chance to develop personality, style and characteristics of their own. All the good stuff that attracts you to people can also endear you to a brand or company. What an amazing marketing opportunity!

A social media voice can be hip, communal, playful, educational, sophisticated, fun, irreverent, inspirational, helpful or a million other adjectives. So how do you find your brand’s voice? Explore the three Cs: culture, community and conversation.

Culture

The core of your brand’s voice must come from its culture. Every organization has something that makes it unique, whether it’s philanthropy or a unique founding story or poker Fridays.

What do you stand for? What do you talk about? What makes you stand out? This is your organization’s personality. Make those elements the inspiration for your online voice. Take us inside your brand’s experience.

Community

Having a social media voice lets your community — new and old — know what to expect when they interact with you.

So what better way to hone your voice than by listening to them first? Find out their problems and concerns. Listen to the way they voice their feelings. Make sure you know what they want from you. Speak their language, on their terms.

Conversation

Armed with culture and community, the last piece is conversation. Determine what you’re bringing to social media by putting your brand out there (your answer might be something like customer support, industry education, general fun or product promotions) and then communicate it with personality and authenticity. No strong-arming or hard selling, just talking in a way that’s comfortable, conversational and relatable.

How would your company sound at a backyard barbecue or cocktail party (drinking responsibly, of course)? There’s your voice.

20 Great Social Media Voices

Ready to see the power of social media voice in action? I went hunting for some brands with strong social media voices. Here’s what I found.

1. Penmaker Sharpie particularly shines on Instagram, where the company’s creative, fun voice is fully articulated. sharpie-instagram

2. Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center has a Twitter voice that’s like a hip, artsy friend.

cincycontemp-twitter

3. Dude-focused email newsletter Thrillist rocks a funny, slightly silly bro vibe on Facebook.

thrillist-fb

4. Beer maker Sam Adams never goes full-on party mode in social media, sticking to an all-American casual voice with lots of insider scoop.

samadams-fb

5. Target’s social media tone is whimsical and personable, with lots of relatable updates.

target-fb

6. Carwoo’s Facebook page is full of bizarre car photos that lead to great community conversations.

carwoo-fb

7. Weird, witty and irreverent sums up Taco Bell on Twitter.

8. Artisan ice cream maker Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has a Facebook page full of lush photos that hammer home one core concept: wholesome local ingredients.

Jeni's-Facebook

9. On Twitter, Sephora strikes an educational and informational tone.

sephora-twitter

10. GE knows its audience, so it geeks out with abandon on Instagram with detailed pics of cool machines.

GE-instagram

11. Intel aims for smart, educational and inspirational in its social media updates.

intel-twitter

12. Healthy, inspirational and helpful describe Adidas’ Twitter voice.

13. Helpful is the hallmark of Doubletree’s hospitality-focused Twitter account.

doubletree-twitter

14. Nerdy and proud of it, Thinkgeek speaks the way its audience of hip geeks does.

thinkgeek-facebook

15. Like the designer’s clothes, Marc Jacobs’ social media voice is young, smart and effortlessly cool.

marcjacobs-twitter

16. Elegant, refined and classic define the chic Tiffany & Co. brand on social media.

tiffany-twitter

17. Interactive agency HUGE has an incredibly consistent Twitter voice that’s witty, sophisticated and just a smidge snarky.

huge-twitter

18. Daily Candy’s Facebook posts are sassy, quippy and in-the-know.

DailyCandy-facebook

19. Diaper brand Huggies plays hosts to a warm and inviting parent-focused social media community.

huggies-twitter

20. GAP pulls from its long history to create an all-American, fresh voice.

gap-instagram

Want to hear more from these brands? You can follow them all in my “Great brand voices” Twitter list. What brands do you associate with a strong social media voice? Share your favorite examples in the comments!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing Column

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About The Author: is a content crafter at Buffer. She has been an editor and writer at publications including Allure, Time Out New York, Playboy and The Tennessean. She speaks frequently on social media marketing and community management topics.



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  • http://twitter.com/VisionRockstars Vision Advertising

    Wonderful article, Courtney! I really enjoyed the read because we firmly believe that social media is all about storytelling, and you can’t do that if you don’t have a clear vision, a defined niche or a strong voice. “What am I going to offer my audience every single day?” should be a question every company asks itself before it starts marketing itself online. Great examples, too!

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourtney Courtney Seiter

    Thanks! Yes, if storytelling is central to your social media efforts you’re guaranteed a leg up over those who are just “selling.” Feel free to chime in with any examples you like, too!

  • http://twitter.com/GoSocialBda Go Social

    This is a great article as it highlights two key aspects of Social Media 1. Speaking in a unique voice truly illustrates the Human side of brands and 2 the power and benefit of speaking in a consistent tone.  You’ve given some great examples that show real diversity in personality.  

    Most appreciated.  Clifton

  • http://twitter.com/boldbohemian Linda Bertram

    See below

  • http://twitter.com/boldbohemian Linda Bertram

    Informative and fun! I enjoyed the article and the tips especially since I am getting ready to go with my new gig, pflipmedia, a social media martketing company in my local area.

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourtney Courtney Seiter

    Keeping things human is a big and often forgotten key to social media marketing for brands. Thanks for the positive feedback!

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourtney Courtney Seiter

    Thanks and good luck with your new endeavor!

  • http://seamus.is/ Seamus Condron

    I’d argue that two of the examples that feature the lazy marketing practice of “like this” or “RT this” are the antitheses of a “great voice.”  Community Managers, please don’t ever do that. It’s selling your souls for likes. In the long run those types ledes won’t help your engagement efforts.

  • http://twitter.com/andyfrancos Andy Francos

    I think this is a fantastic article.  Really informative and well thought out.  I was thinking of doing something similar for the UK, however it wasn’t going to be as extensive as this.  Will have to have a rethink! 

  • http://twitter.com/vikkiorlando Vikki Fraser

    I believe in brand voice too! Glad I’m not the only one :) http://www.thewhir.com/blog/social-media-voice-and-message-for-web-hosts Mine is for my niche but I think it’s true for any vertical.

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourtney Courtney Seiter

    Hey Seamus, I appreciate the opposing viewpoint. While “like this” type status updates won’t work for every brand, they can be effective for some audiences. I especially appreciate a novel way of approaching it, like Adidas’ “RT this to challenge a friend.” To me, that gives purpose and meaning to the rote command and makes it a bit more interesting. But I do hear what you’re saying.

  • http://twitter.com/earthcareinc Earthcare

    Awesome article, Courtney ! It’s really interesting to see how certain companies create their own tone and personality. Do you think certain industries should stick to certain voices? Or is it a personal choice? A personable tone seems to always work well.

  • http://twitter.com/RavenCourtney Courtney Seiter

    Thanks so much! I think in general, a social media voice is a little more casual than a corporate voice but it can still be quite professional. A lot depends on your industry and audience, but friendly and personable will never fail. :)

  • Deadpanwalking

    Thanks for the shout-out to Huge. We have a great team of hilarious writers and smart PR folks working on the Twitter feed and we spent a lot of time developing the proper voice. We’re now doing the same thing for clients. 

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  • http://www.mennlay.com/ Someone Else

    I love this article…sometimes I feel like my job as a community manager is a menial task, but this type of marketing is beyond valuable. Not to mention so much fun when done right and when your audience gives great feedback!

 

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