Brands Must Have Personalities Online

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog that was ultimately about people making their business social media presence and profiles a little too personal and how that won’t yield your business the long-term results you really want.

It’s important to not forget the other side of the story — your business’ personality.

Here, I am directly referring to the social media profiles and online platforms that feature a business’ name and directly represent it. For these profiles, it goes without saying that it’s crucial that content that is published or shared on them must be appropriate and reflect positively on the brand.

However, what’s not obvious for many companies is that being too careful, trying to be too “corporate,” or simply not being as active online as they should be can contribute to the opposite of a “bad personality” problem: a no personality problem — which some say might be worse.

A brand should have a unique personality in general, and online. Below, I quickly explore avoidable pitfalls that would ultimately make your brand faceless and ineffective in the mix of all the noise on social media.

No Consistent Tone or Style

Although a brand is ultimately a fictitious entity and isn’t a real person, it must speak and present itself like one. Exactly how the tone and style that achieves this perception are structured depends on a variety of factors related to what the business is, what its target market and audience are, and overall business and brand goals.

Once these have been considered and decisions have been made about the perception that needs to be created, it’s extremely important to be consistent with the tone and style of the brand’s online voice. If your audience feels like your online and social profiles are updated by an intern at the last minute with little care, or if there’s no consistent attitude across multiple platforms, you’re never going to build your brand’s character.

Speaking Over Your Audience and Not to Them

With all your posts, you want your target audience to feel as though the content is “speaking” to them in two ways.

First, the content has to sound conversational (to some degree) and casual. Anything that looks like you’re trying too hard online — for example, being too “fun” on the one extreme, or being too “official” on the other — will be readily apparent to your audience and ingenuine.

Second, the content that’s being crafted should match what the audience is interested in and wants to hear or read about — it needs to drive value.

All of that to say, avoid trying to force the point with your audience and avoid creating the perception that you haven’t taken them into consideration. We’ve all been to a speaking event where we feel the speaker is mismatched for the event — either they’re talking down to the audience or are being way too simple. Avoid this online at all costs. 

Too Much of a Routine

A routine as a framework is a good idea. A routine that leaves absolutely no room for adjustments, optimization, and additional efforts when needed is not a good idea.

Audiences that follow your brand online will become disengaged if they feel that all the brand is doing is the same publishing and content push week in and week out.

Avoid posting the exact same kind of content at the exact same time every week trying to generate the exact same kind of effect. It will get stale and old.

Stick to best practices, but don’t make the marketing process as repeatable as a physics experiment. Marketing is both an art and a science, and a balance must be struck between the two. 

Becoming a Propaganda Outlet

Remember that you’re not in the news business, you’re in the business of marketing your company.

The worst kind of death for a brand’s personality or character online is created when the brand only publishes standard corporate information.

If every single day your business is only publishing objective “news” about itself (a merger, a new hire, a new product, a new sale, etc.), that will become stale very quickly to your audiences. So, your online output should contain a healthy mix of news, but it should not be restricted to be just a news outlet that is disengaged from the interests of your audience and lacks character.

How Much Is Too Little?

Of course, the key question is how much is too much? — and how little is too little?

In reality, everything about your online presence is a balancing act. There are best practices to keep in mind when you’re establishing your brand’s presence, but there are also common pitfalls to avoid. Pursuing your business and brand goals while doing your best to avoid mistakes is the best way to ensure your business doesn’t suffer an online death due to lack of personality.


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