When implementing your social media marketing campaigns, one of the first things you have to do (before you even think about building your profiles) is decide who or what is going to be your social persona. Are you going to build your social brand around an actual person (say the VP of Marketing) or stick with the company’s name (@CompanyX)? There is no “right” way to build your social personality, but there are pros and cons to each option that you should consider before you jump blindly into social media. The ever increasing reach of social networks means that companies can’t afford to make any big mistakes or try to change direction mid-campaign.
Creating a social persona around your brand:
The beauty of building your social persona around your brand is that is cuts down on brand confusion. Someone searches for your company in Google and your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and (now) Google+ profiles fill in behind your company website, increasing your online presence and helping your dominate the SERP with your own websites. Since it is so easy to brand your social profiles with photos, logos, links, company biographies and so forth, consumers can trust that the company they follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook is the one they meant to connect with.
The downside of creating a social persona around your brand is that you might lack some of the “personal” elements that consumers have come to expect from social networking. You have to be careful that your brand’s social profiles don’t become another soapbox for you to advertise your company and products. Your brands unique personality needs to shine through; otherwise you aren’t giving anyone a reason to connect with your company.
Creating a social persona around a person:
The best part about building a social persona for your brand around a member of your staff is that it lends more accountability to your social profiles. Consumers and other industry professionals know exactly who they are talking to on social networking sites, not just nameless employee X who is monitoring the Facebook page. People want to do business with other people, so having an employee act as the voice of the company goes a long way is building consumer trust.
One of the cons of relying on a real person to be the face of your brand’s social media marketing is that if that employee were to ever leave your company, they could completely hijack all your social media success. Let’s say your VP of Marketing (@theirname) has over 1,500 Twitter followers, most of which the acquired during their seven years with your company. If they quit/are fired/find a new job/retire and take their Twitter handle with them, there goes your Twitter presence and you are back at square one. There was actually a lawsuit in 2011 over the very situation.
In order to maximize the pros and minimize the cons, I’ve actually taken the time to create both branded and personal social networking profiles. It gives me a few more touch points I can use to connect with my target audience, helps me grow Brick Marketing’s overall online presence and lets my social connections pick how they would prefer to interact with me and my company.