I’ve talked a lot about the importance of having a powerful personality at the forefront of your social media campaign, particularly if you’re on a microblogging platform such as Twitter. Depending on what type of campaign you’re running, you’ll want someone charismatic, sharp, and genuine – someone your users and customers will naturally be able to rally around. But how does one find such a personality? What’s involved in creating the perfect frontman or frontwoman?
And what if you’re simply trying to establish yourself on a social network, as a representative of your organization? How do you find a voice which will cause users to trust you and respond to you? How do you craft a personality for yourself without appearing fake?
1. Look at How Your Demographic Communicates
Before doing anything, take a close look at the demographic you’re trying to reach. How do they talk to one another? What sort of behavior is most common in how they communicate? Naturally, in order to know this, you’ll need to know who you’re trying to reach on Twitter. Once you’ve figured out how your consumers communicate with one another, try to mesh the personality of your brand with theirs.
2. Don’t Be Too Imitative
All of us have been kids at some point, and most of us remember that one adult from our childhood who was desperate to ‘connect’ with the younger generation and be ‘cool.’ Unfortunately, they just ended up being strange, somewhat irritating, and uncomfortable to be around. They peppered their speech with slang that they hardly understood, misused and overused common phrases and cliches, and generally just showed a total lack of charisma.
Now, here’s food for thought: Those organizations who try desperately to be ‘hip’ on Twitter? They’re that parent. Don’t try to mimic and imitate speech or slang. There’s at least a 90% chance you’ll simply come off as a total flop.
3. Define Your Twitter Feed
In order to define your voice, you’ll need to define your feed. Figure out what you want to say, how you want to say it, and what topics you want to focus on. Are you going to primarily be reaching out to and connecting with consumers? Is your feed going to be for news and product information? Will it function as a secondary customer support line? Which ‘type’ of channel you decide to go with will define your tone and personality just as much as the brand you’re representing.
4. Think of How Your “Voice” Would Sound in Person
Twitter, by its very nature, is probably one of the more ‘conversational’ social networks. With that in mind, if you’re speaking with a customer or client, think about how your tweet would sound if you were to speak it to someone face to face, in a public setting. Ask yourself about the sort of personality you’re projecting, and then ask if this personality would, in person, be endearing to someone. Social media is all about social interaction, after all – so tying it to real-world interaction in this fashion is a good way to help yourself stay on track.
5. Find Someone Savvy: Host a Casting Call
You don’t necessarily have to represent your brand yourself, nor do you have to hire on some social media guru from outside your organization to manage things. Run a casting call to see if there’s anyone well-suited to represent your organization, either within or without. Ideally, you want to look for someone who knows their way around Twitter (and, perhaps, someone who’s already fairly active and successful on the site). Find someone who naturally speaks and acts in a way that matches with the ‘personality’ you’ve constructed.
6. Vary the Conversation
I’ve said this before, but it bears saying once again: don’t just talk about your organization’s products and service. This ties back to the “in person” concept: someone who exclusively speaks about one topic, regardless of what’s going on around them, is both boring and annoying to be around. This translates into social media if you’re trying to engage with consumers. If you only talk about your product, or one facet of your organization, people are going to get bored. There are a lot of awesome topics related to every brand and product out there (even if only tangentially) – track them down and share them!
7. Be Consistent
One of the biggest mistakes you can make on Twitter is behaving in a fashion that’s inconsistent with the personality you’ve established for yourself. It’s alright to surprise people with a bit of content you might not ordinarily share, or a witty remark that they might not expect, but try not to stray too far from what people know you to be. Most of us don’t like thinking we know someone, only to find out that they’ve been putting on a front the whole time.
8. Act Personable, but Not Too Personal
Be approachable and charismatic. Talk to people like they’re your friends, your close confidantes. Be entertaining, engaging, and fun. But most of all, stay professional. Don’t share intimate details about your personal life, or make comments which could be construed as overly familiar or lewd.
9. Use an RSS Feed, Not Twitter
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, and ties in with the idea that you should shake things up a bit. If you’re creating a Twitter account exclusively to share blog posts and news related to your organization and nothing else…don’t create a Twitter account. Set up an RSS feed. It’s still perfectly acceptable to post news and the like, but post it in such a way that you contextualize it for your users. Don’t just tweet what people could read via RSS anyway.
10. Talk Openly
Last, but certainly not least, talk freely and readily about any problems which might arise with your brand. You accomplish nothing by avoiding the issue when someone’s got a problem, and actively dodging questions and concerns related to your product could end up causing some pretty severe damage to your organization’s reputation. If your company messed up and your brand has been damaged in some way, own up to it. Accept the flaws in your organization, and engage in discourse about these flaws – and how to fix them.