Being Bruce -: Business Social Media Tip #2 - Who Are You?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Business Social Media Tip #2 - Who Are You?

Your business social media presence needs personality, but don't confuse "personal presence" with play or inconsistent silliness or drivel. By no means am I suggesting that your social media tweets, updates, status or whatever come across as stern, stiff, strict, or even overly serious. However, to reap the greatest business benefit from social media presence and activity, your enterprise needs a clearly defined, consistent personality.

As with all advertising, public relations, and marketing (and please forgive my obviousness here, but I believe it matters based on observation) your company's social media "personality" needs to be clearly defined and described internally so that you and anyone else in your company who will touch, contribute, or work off from or in conjunction with your social media presence will understand "who" your company is.

For example, if your social media updates (using the most generic term) only entail facts, which in itself reveals a level of social media cluelessness, that dryness will partially define your company's presence and effect your following.

If you consider social media becoming "the voice" of your company, you're getting close to what this is all about.

Personality, style, values, preferences, even beliefs will shine through your social media presence when you work it correctly. And by the way, if you hesitate to let personal-ness come through in your marketing and advertising because you don't want to turn off potential clientele, please re-think that. Unless you're a monopoly with the only source of some crucial good or service (and I'm thinking on the level of oxygen here), your business will be more economical to market and advertise if you target your market and don't try to sell to "everyone and anyone". A small or medium company that attempts to stay "vanilla", inoffensive, and universal in all advertising and marketing (which includes social media) is wasting money.

Okay, so what's required is to define and describe your company's personality for social media? First, it should be written clearly so others in and outside your company will be able to understand.

Your company "personality" is best when consistent with your other advertising and marketing as well as your product or service. If you sell fun, hip products, it's easy to realize your social media presence should be fun and hip. If you sell serious necessities, possibly even goods or services people wish they didn't have to spend money on, and I'm thinking here of companies like duct cleaning services, medical appliances, bail bondsmen (bondspersons?), or gastrointestinal clinics, fun and hip likely won't go over too well, but sincere, friendly, professional, and reassuring might.

If you're not sure how to best define your company personality for social media, think of your market. Let's say, for example, you work in a promotional products company that services a whole range of businesses. How do you choose and define your social media personality? Look to your market. Again, as above, if you try to sell to everyone, personalizing your social media will be tougher, but to the extent you can narrow the "personal" aspect of your messaging, the better your results.

Some other guick thoughts on social media personality:

- If more than one person is responsible for your company social media content, be sure all involved have a clear, consistent understanding of what the personality and are able to support that presence. Inconsistency will confuse your market.

- Seek feedback. Whether you use focus groups, feedback surveys, anecdotal conversations, or structured analysis, check that your message and company personality are getting out as intended.

- Social media is most successful when it engages others; it's not one-way communication. Test (maybe by just looking) that the engagements and conversations are what you expect and desire for your company.

- Be sure your social media personal messages are consistent with other advertising, marketing, and outreach.

- Communicate your social media personality to all company personnel. It is best if they are at least aware of the company image.