How to develop a tone of voice for community management

By Grazel Gueco

If you want to be successful in managing a community, you need to build your foundations. These include your FAQs, your protocols, and most importantly, your tone of voice. Your tone of voice will distinguish you from other brands and make your community management more engaging.

Ideally, you should already have a brand voice that you can translate into your community management. If your brand voice informs the visuals, copywriting, and overall impression of your brand, think of your community management TOV as a fleshed-out version of your brand voice, as if you were creating a walking talking brand ambassador. Your community management TOV is how your brand chooses to communicate directly with your audience. 

We’ll show you the fundamentals of creating a tone of voice manifesto so that you can hit the ground running with your community management.

Settle on your voice characteristics

At Hearts Agency, we love getting to know more about our clients through in-depth surveys. These surveys include their audience, your brand mission, and a series of scales to determine the TOV of their brand. We like to get real specific about the tone that they’re going for, so we don’t shy away from getting the nitty-gritty details. 

For the sake of an example, we’ll use a VPN service that we made up called ConnectVPN.

To really help you narrow it down, you can add more criteria like:




Make a list of words and phrases you use and don’t use

Now that you’ve gotten the characteristics down, it’s time to decide what you’ll say and what you won’t. Do you say “Hi” or “Hey”? Do you say “You are” or “You’re?” Do you say “Awesome” or “Amazeballs”?

To start, you’ll need to determine the appropriate words and phrases for the following

  1. Name
  2. Greetings and Sign offs
  3. Terms
  4. Protocols

Ideally, you should be able to create an elaborate community management manifesto that includes your exact preferred words for industry-relevant protocols. 

Write examples

You don’t have to wait to get comments and messages to formulate your responses. Of course, great community management is always personalised, but it wouldn’t hurt to create some guiding examples for every situation.

To start, we’ll write examples for the following situations:

  1. Inquiry 
  2. Complication
  3. Complaint
  4. Compliment

Experiment with different responses 

Now that you have an idea of your tone of voice, it’s time to get out there and start responding to your customers! Just remember, your tone of voice isn’t one and done. It should be ever-evolving along with your business and audience. Don’t be afraid to mix things up! 

Start by crafting different responses to similar questions and see how your audience responds to them. Just make sure to use the HEARTS method with every response you create.