How To Craft Social Media Voice Guidelines for A Franchise

January 26, 2022
Kyra Goodman

Want your franchise to sound the same wherever it is? You need a strong brand voice - here's how to create one.

Brand voice is one of the most overlooked parts of a social media strategy. While stacks of brands, businesses and franchises sweat over their brand’s fonts, colours and visual identity, the way your business speaks online can have an even bigger impact on your bottom line.

Crafting a memorable and cohesive social media presence (especially as a franchise business) means ensuring every piece of content you share feels unique and authentic to your brand. 

If you’re looking to boost brand awareness, deeply connect with your audience and inspire them to convert, you need to prioritise brand voice as a franchisor. 

Keep reading to discover the role of tone of voice in your social media marketing strategy, how nailing your brand messaging can help your franchise business succeed plus a stack of tips to bring your brand voice to life on social media. 

What role does brand voice play in your franchise’s brand guidelines?

Creating a set of brand guidelines is essential as a franchise brand. This resource (which complements your franchise’s social media policy) sets out how to present your brand’s image and identity online, whether that’s through social media pages or other digital marketing channels.

While your brand guidelines will focus more on your franchise businesses’ visual identity (such as your logo, fonts, colour palette and on-brand imagery), your brand voice guidelines focus on how your business communicates with your local audience. 

Tone of voice guidelines enables your entire team to capture your desired brand voice across every social media channel associated with your franchise. 

At a local level, this gives local franchise owners the guidance and frameworks they need to speed up content creation and ensure every word they write sounds authentic to your business. 

At a franchisor level, brand voice guidelines allow you to retain quality and consistency across your social media presence. 

Why is tone of voice important for a franchise?

Consumers remember and connect brands that feel one-of-a-kind. Along with a compelling visual identity, your franchise business should speak in a way that feels unique and authentic to your mission, vision, values and target market. 

Tone of voice is crucial for a range of reasons, including:

  • Brand voice establishes your position in the marketplace: just like your visual identity, the words and phrases your brand chooses to use communicate subtle cues about your market positioning. If you’re a premium brand, using sophisticated and formal phrasing will help justify your brand’s pricing and value. On the flip side, a mass-market brand targeting a younger audience could use bubbly, casual phrasing to attract their ideal customers.
  • Brand voice builds trust and credibility: a well-defined tone of voice captures the unique personality and identity of your business. The more authentic your brand feels to customers, the more likely they are to trust and shop with you. 
  • Brand voice strengthens your appeal to customers: brand voice can be one of the biggest factors that influence purchasing decisions for customers. In a competitive industry, having a memorable voice and brand identity can be what sets you apart from the pack. 

Ultimately, tone of voice gives your franchise the edge and enables your business (and local franchise owners) to stand out to your ideal customers.

How does tone of voice work in social media marketing?

So, where does brand voice fit into your brand's social media strategy? Just like planning out your content pillars and the types of content that will move the needle for your business, setting guidelines for how to bring your brand voice to life on social media is essential to success. 

A stand-out social media strategy will not only set out which social media accounts are the best fit for your business, but should also explain how your brand will communicate on each platform. 

For example, the way your franchise brand speaks on a professional social platform like LinkedIn should be different from a more casual, direct-to-consumer platform such as Pinterest or TikTok.

Plus, your social media marketing should act as an extension of your digital marketing efforts. That means the way you speak in your email marketing, blog content and website pages should sound the same as your social media captions. 

The more cohesive and consistent your brand voice is online, the more likely customers are to remember, trust and even prefer your local business when it comes time to make a sale. 

8 ways to bring your franchise’s brand voice to life through social media marketing

Now we’ve covered the importance of brand voice for your social media strategy, let’s run you through eight tangible ways you can develop your tone of voice on social media.

1. Clarify your franchise’s mission, vision and values 

First up, your franchise’s brand voice should be grounded in the mission, vision and values of your business. These defining concepts are what sets your brand apart from your competitors and are helpful indicators of what kind of phrasing and language is best suited to your business. 

If you haven’t developed your franchise’s mission and vision statements yet, here’s a quick guide to building these:

  • Your mission statement should define your franchise businesses’ overall purpose and why you exist.
  • Your vision statement should define the broader impact you want to have on the world, your industry or your local community in the months and years to come.

Plus, you should have a range of values that anchor your franchise business and what you stand for. These should be tied to your mission and vision statements and can even act as guiding principles for how your team should speak and behave when representing your company. 

With these big picture concepts in place, you’ll be able to use these to shape and develop your franchise businesses’ unique brand voice. 

2. Get to know your franchise brand’s target audience 

The next important step of bringing your tone of voice to life is understanding who you’re talking to. Why? Well, to cut through the noise on social media (and digital marketing in general) you need to have an in-depth understanding of your audience’s needs, wants, aspirations and how you can help them.

So, you’ll need to give in to your audience insights, social media analytics and sales data to figure out:

  • What is the demographic of your target audience? Remember this might change between individual franchise locations, but your ideal customers should be relatively consistent across your franchise marketing. 
  • What brands do they already shop from and trust? 
  • What pain points or challenges are they facing?
  • What goals or aspirations do they have?
  • How can your business solve their problems and help them reach their goals?

There are a few ways to uncover these insights about your ideal customers. You can run customer surveys to find out who is currently engaging with your business. You can review your social media analytics to see what common themes are popping up in your results. 

With this information on hand, you can build out customer personas (which are fictional people used to represent core groups of customers). You might have anywhere from one to five (or more) customer personas, depending on the complexity of your franchise business. 

Be sure to map out these personas in as much detail as possible to really get under the skin of your customers and understand the best ways to communicate with them.

Want to get your ALL of your franchises up and running on social? Chat with one of the Sked Team to see how we can get you set up, end-to-end, start to finish.

3. Uncover your franchise businesses’ value propositions

Now, it’s time to figure out what distinguishes your franchise brand from your competitors. This step is all about articulating your points of difference and your brand’s value proposition. 

Your franchise business is likely to have a stack of direct competitors that are offering the same or similar products and services. So, you need to understand (and be able to explain) what makes your brand unique and stand out from the pack. 

The first step is to figure out your points of difference. Think of this as your competitive advantage and use this question to get you started: what makes your brand stand out against your competitors?

Whether it’s your style of service, pricing, in-store customer experience or anything in between, get clear on what makes your franchise a winner against your competitors. 

Now, it’s time to clarify your value proposition, which is the value your company delivers to your customers. By clarifying what value you deliver, your social media marketing and tone of voice can accurately explain and communicate why shoppers should choose you. 

4. Map out your brand voice dimensions and characteristics 

To start building out your franchise’s brand voice, you need to figure out what descriptors and adjectives best describe your desired tone of voice. 

The first step is figuring out your tone of voice dimensions, which means defining:

  • How formal or informal is your brand voice?
  • How enthusiastic and upbeat is your brand voice?
  • How irreverent or laid-back is your brand voice?

Next, you need to develop a word bank of brand voice characteristics that capture and describe the way you speak to your customers on social media (and beyond). 

Here are a few brand voice characteristics to get you started:

  • Are you upbeat, relaxed and friendly?
  • Are you warm, supportive and approachable?
  • Are you polished, professional and formal?
  • Are you dry, witty and cool?
  • Are you frank and straightforward?

Create a list of adjectives that you can use to describe your franchise’s brand voice and use to anchor your brand messaging moving forward.

5. Handpick your on-brand messages

The best way to empower your team to bring your franchise’s brand voice to life is to give them examples of how to write copy and content. That’s where your brand messages come in. 

This part of your tone of voice guidelines is about developing a range of taglines, phrases and messages that can be peppered throughout your social media content and captions. 

You can be as creative as you want with this step. Some ideas for crafting your brand messages include:

  • Creating brand taglines to align with specific social media campaigns
  • Developing specific messaging for your franchise owners to use in their social media bios
  • Drafting up a range of branded call-to-action to add to the end of your social media captions

6. Craft clear writer’s rules for using your brand voice on social media 

Another tangible way to take the guesswork out of capturing your brand’s voice is to give your team writer’s rules for social media marketing. 

These tangible instructions should walk your team through the do’s and don’ts of writing for your brand. It should focus on things like:

  • Whether or not to use abbreviations or slang 
  • What emojis are on-brand vs. off-brand
  • Whether your brand writes in the first, second or third person
  • How to credit sources or customers when reposting user-generated content 
  • Specific guidelines around product names, services or business-specific terms 

This step will ensure your copywriting is cohesive and consistent across your entire franchise networks and make it easier for your team navigating social media management, right down to local level businesses. 

7. Offer specific voice guidelines for each social network 

As we mentioned, each social media platform has its own goals, objectives and audience. So, your tone of voice should pivot to match the needs of each social network. 

In a more professional context (such as LinkedIn), you should have guidelines for how to formalise how your brand communicates. This could mean ditching emojis, slang and abbreviations from your social copywriting. 

However, on consumer-focused platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook page, Pinterest and TikTok), you can let your team add creative flair to your copywriting with puns, on-brand humour and emojis. 

8. Curate a range of on-brand hashtags 

Last, but not least, is the final piece of your brand voice guidelines: hashtags. Hashtags are a powerful tool to help your business reach new customers through your social media posts. 

But, your franchise business needs to ensure these hashtags are tailored to your ideal customers and your desired brand voice. 

Be sure to include a mix of branded hashtags, industry-specific hashtags, and niche-specific hashtags and avoid any broad or generic hashtags that won’t deliver powerful results for your business and local pages. 

And that’s a wrap! When it comes to developing your social media voice as part of a franchise, you need to set clear guidelines from the beginning to ensure your franchise brand is presented consistently on social media. By adding a set of brand voice guidelines to your social media plan, you know your team will be able to communicate with confidence on social media. 

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