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Developing personality and tone on social is vital: here’s how to do it

Social media has brought along with it a chance for brands as a whole to interact with their customers in a way they were never able to. The main difference is that we’re now behind digital code, which for the most part, doesn’t hold personality as well as the corporate communications spokesperson or CEO.

Not only are brands grappling to define and refine their online personality, they also have to ensure consistency across all channels. Accurately defining your ‘social personality’ is incredibly important.

The first problem most brands face is that they don’t actually have a personality. Their agencies do a good job defining the corporate identity, but it’s the voice, tone and personality of the brand that is rarely defined. Many brands really struggle to define a social personality because they’ve never faced this requirement.

To engage in the social space, brands need to know what type of human qualities, in personality and tone, their brand represents. Does the brand have an opinion on key topics? It’s easy for brands to be environmental and animal friendly, but does the brand have an opinion on politics and human social issues? Is the brand willing to stand for something? Because you might not be able to avoid these conversations online, these personality traits need to be defined.

Developing an online personality requires identifying the brand you are and the brand you want to be. Once this thinking has been solidified you can roll out this personification of your brand into social media, using our social media personality Venn engine.

Firstly, take a look at the brand CI, a thorough understanding of the brand you are, and want to be, and how your consumers perceive you online. This is all tabled together and core personality strengths against competition, gaps that the brand could occupy and opportunities for personality growth are mapped out.

Secondly, decide what you’ll be talking about. That’s quite important, and it’s a fairly detailed process, but focuses on both what you have to say that will add value to the audience, and what the audience wants to hear. These content categories are decided and your tone and personality starts to take shape.

It’s important to note that the social media personality Venn engine scopes tone and personality AGAINST content types / interaction categories. To explain, the way you engage a customer about a bad experience they have had with your brand would probably be a little different to the tone you take during your coverage of a live soccer game.

Lastly, mapped out in a Venn diagram, visualize what tone and personality you apply to varying categories of content, and where that tone and personality can overlap on content categories.

Social venn diagram

This diagram is used as the guideline for all staff interacting for the brand in the online space. It forms the basis of the tone to all interactions, and is integral in ensuring a consistent brand tone and personality online.

Remember, your social media personality needs to react and engage in different ways to your print and TV ad, so those guidelines only form the basis for the social media Venn diagram. Defining your brands’ social media personality might be one of the hardest exercises of your social media journey, but is hands down the most important. Many social media brand failures can be attributed to inconsistent brand tone and response, so make sure you’ve invested the time, effort and correct process here.

Author | John Beale

John Beale
John spends his time doodling. But not just any type of doodling .The doodling that requires ones brain to actually function. He spends this rest of his day dreaming, sleeping and eating cars (not literally eating, that would just be weird) and wondering about how he can come to own... More
  • David Graham

    Great article John. I am very interested in the feedback and comments you receive as most brands using social media have absolutely no personality at all and do not even make an attempt at it.

  • James R. Halloran

    Once a company figures out what they want their brand to be like, they should also seriously consider protecting that brand’s reputation with a company like Brand.com. If the company’s reputation gets trashed, all this work you put into building that brand won’t matter much.

  • Pingback: Making the social media “A” list | Lilac and Lime()

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