As a woman business leader and business owner, I am often asked if I “do social media.” I could liken this question to, “Do you do in-person meetings?” Social media is merely a communications channel that should sync with your overall branding efforts. A company is like a living thing in that it has a “persona” or personality that should be understood by the entire team in order to be effective across all channels. This brand personality should be extended through the voice both on and off line.
Here are some things to think about when planning your brand’s social media strategy I’ve condensed from an article by public relations professional Mickie Kennedy:
Whether you realize it or not, your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media profiles all play a key role in your branding efforts. Unfortunately, too many companies have a social media voice that doesn’t fit with their brand.
Here’s an example. Recently, 7-Eleven posted a Facebook update (they’ve since deleted it) that was seemingly poking fun at mentally ill people. Obviously, the person who made this update on behalf of 7-Eleven didn’t understand that this type of humor didn’t fit with the brand’s voice. It was a clear example of the company’s social media voice not matching the brand.
There’s nothing wrong with showing some personality with your social networking. It’s a good thing, but it also has to make sense within the structure of your brand. If you’ve created a brand that’s seen as serious and thoughtful and you have a silly, funny social media voice, it just won’t ring true with your customers. It will confuse them and undermine your branding efforts.
How can you make sure your social media marketing meshes with the rest of your branding efforts?
It all comes down to training the person who is managing your social media accounts on the voice of your brand. That person needs to understand what your brand is about, what kind of image you’re trying to create, who your target audience is, and how you want them to interact with and perceive your brand.
I’m not saying you need to run every Tweet and status update through a committee for approval, but you do need to remember that everything you post influences how others see your brand. Consistency is the key to building brands customers trust and connect with. Maintain that consistency in everything you do.
I agree with Mickie’s thoughts on maintaining a cohesive “brand” throughout your marketing and social efforts. Does it make you wonder about a brand when its social voice is disconnected from its overall brand voice?