Social Media Brand Personality

Giving Your Brand A Personality, Social Media Style

By Staff Writer
In September 20, 2013

When social media is used correctly, it’s an invaluable tool to boost your brand personality, to foster personal relationships with customers and to deliver real-time, super-effective advertisements. When used recklessly, a simple Tweet or Facebook post can become a public relations nightmare. Google “social media mishaps” for a few cringe worthy examples of brands falling flat on their faces. The algorithm to using social media to develop a consistent brand personality is notoriously fickle, but if you pay attention to these four specific areas, you’ll be on the right track to creating a brand voice that’s heard.

1. Learn the Rules

Nobody likes the person who immediately tries to change the rules of a game, and social media works the same way. When you sign up for a social media network, you’re joining a community that has its own customs and taboos that range from the obvious to the obscure. The most successful brand personalities are those that flawlessly adhere to the dos and don’ts of the networks.

A basic example involves a difference between Facebook and Twitter. It’s appropriate to post more frequently on Twitter than it is on Facebook: You won’t find a rulebook saying this, but that’s the way it is. A company who posts five short quips an hour to Facebook is likely to be unliked (if you don’t know what unliked means, you have a long way to go), while doing the same on Twitter is perfectly acceptable. People don’t appreciate being blitzed on any social media channel, but it’s appropriate to interact more often on Twitter.

To have an effective brand voice, it’s essential to understand the medium you’re speaking through. Setting trends is good; wantonly ignoring etiquette is annoying and a quick way to get unfollowed, unfriended and ignored.

2. Know Your Audience and Set the Tone

As in every type of marketing, knowing your audience is critical. Before you decide how you want to be portrayed, identify who you want to connect with and then create your brand’s personality accordingly. You can have the coolest, most pop culture-savvy brand personality in the social media world, but if your target audience is old-fashioned and doesn’t care about pop culture, it’s probably not going to take you very far.

Once you’ve decided who you’re talking to, make a firm decision on how you’re going to talk to them. Ask yourself: Do you want a brand personality that’s silly or serious, hyperactive or subdued, edgy or conservative? Once you’ve decided how you want to be portrayed, convey this to everyone involved with the account. Pay attention to your word choices, the types of content you’re sharing and the ways you’re interacting to guarantee consistency. If you’re finding this difficult, try researching the brands you wish to emulate, but be sure to avoid outright copycatting anyone. Pay attention to how your target audience communicates and tailor your brand’s voice accordingly.

A bipolar brand personality is an easy way to confuse and alienate customers. Identify your audience, operationalize your personality and stick to the plan.

3. Develop Quality Content

It can be tempting to simply post copy from your latest advertisements or press releases and call it a day, but rest-assured that this will get you absolutely nowhere. In order to build your brand’s voice, you must craft interesting, engaging, high-quality content that appeals to the greatest amount of people in your target demographic. Sounds easy, right?

It actually can be when you get a feel for your brand voice, where your customers are, what their needs and wants are and understand how your products or services can solve their needs. Surf the web, look for content relevant to the essence of your brand and share it with your customers. Not everything has to be branded, targeted content, and, in fact, most of it shouldn’t be. A good target to shoot for is 70/30: Only 30% (at most) of your social media marketing should be self-promotional. The other 70% should be fun or engaging content designed to bring in and intrigue potential customers. A great example of this is the “brand bantering” that’s becoming more and more common. Bashing competitors is never smart, but customers are loving the witty back-and-forth exchanges between these companies. It’s silly, it’s not sell-y and it got a lot of people talking about them.

“Self-promotional” doesn’t mean pretending to ignore that you’re a corporate entity. Posting pictures and videos of company events, wishing a happy birthday or congratulations to an employee or simply sharing interesting tidbits of day-to-day office life are great ways to keep the focus on your company without coming across as a pushy salesman and to give your brand a human side. We are all in the B2P (business-to-people) business. You may be a brand, but you are still a person talking to another person. Don’t lose your brand personality beneath a corporate façade.

4. Embrace the Medium

The fluid nature of social media means you’ll have to be flexible. Rather than using your social media accounts as billboards for carefully scripted copy, embrace the medium and tailor your message to it.

Social media, at its most basic function, is about connecting people. Keep in mind that no one joins a social media network to read advertisements. They join to be a part of a community and to connect with those around them. The companies most adept at social media are able to foster this sense of community while tapping into social media’s intrinsic fast-paced energy.

Social media is built for on-the-fly, real-time marketing. It gives brands the opportunities to join the conversation and to tap into a moment with customers. As we all know, Oreo did it so well that it started a new marketing fad. With one impromptu Tweet that was retweeted 10,000 times in an hour, Oreo likely made more of an impact through social media than it did with the multi-million dollar ad run during the Super Bowl. By tapping into these moments, your brand feels less like a machine and more like a familiar friend. A more relatable and approachable brand means a stronger brand voice and a stronger brand voice (ideally) means sales.

There are no hard-and-fast rules to make people like and pay attention to you on their social media networks. Social media is constantly evolving and requires a decent amount trial-and-error to develop a comfortable brand personality. Pay attention to trends, be faithful to your brand’s voice and embrace rather than fight the nature of the medium and you’ll be off to a good start.

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!