Like technology, brand personality has changed over the years. A brand’s personality represents who they are and how they interact with customers. Social media has helped this concept grow from a professional to a personal realm, giving brands the ability to seem “human” and develop stronger consumer-brand relationships.
Marketing and branding are huge aspects in reaching consumers and developing loyalty. Organizations base all actions on their branding (purpose, positioning, personality/voice, visuals etc.), and use various mediums to reach their audience. As technology advances and new communication methods emerge, they change how consumers engage with companies and open the door for organizations to alter their own methods. With the largest audience, social media is growing as THE place for brands to reach consumers.
Social media is built on two-way communication and personality. Each platform has its own personality and methods of interaction, giving organizations the opportunity to showcase various versions of their voice. This can allow organizations to reach multiple market segments, including consumers who might not be part of their specified target audience. Brands can capitalize on this by developing real, humanized personalities.
The New Authenticity
Traditionally, brands have always wanted to be authentic in their values and actions, and personality has mostly been shown in a professional voice. But social media has turned this professional setting into a casual one, creating new personality/voice standards. Consumers want to digitally interact with brands that they can relate to—a consumer will become more interested in a brand that is friendly and responsive than they would with a brand that is strictly professional. This concept introduces the new ideals of authenticity: not only do consumers want brands to be true to their values but want them to be organic in their voice.
In their 2017 Q2 social media report, Sprout Social identified the top seven voice styles for brands including: honest, friendly, helpful, funny, trendy, politically correct and snarky. Brands that are honest, friendly and helpful are considerably the most authentic, because they exhibit the most desirable, human-like traits. Think about it: you’d rather be friends with someone who’s nice and conversational rather than someone who is rude or serious all of the time. The new age of consumer being friends with brands means: digital communication doesn’t only need to be interactive but needs to be humanized and friendly.
Using Platforms to Your Advantage
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have various features and tones for their audiences. Even if the same consumer is on all three platforms, they have personal preferences for how they communicate on each. Here’s the breakdown:
• Facebook—more indirect and informational, typically use the platform to share interests (especially with new algorithms, Facebook is more personal in terms of engaging with friends and family rather than companies)
• Twitter—very interactive (expect responses), communicative, no real limit on Tweets, live Tweeting, snarky in tone (think Wendy’s)
• Instagram—visually focused, friendlier in communication, interactive (comments, polls etc.), individualized
These generalities can always differ depending on who you’re talking to, so when digitizing your voice always do your research first.
Overall: Express yo’self
Technology and social media are constantly changing how consumers expect brands to engage and communicate. Two-way communication and the causal setting encourage consumers to be more interactive and less professional with organizations; consumer-brand relationships have grown from just a sales experience to a friendship. Keep this idea in-mind when digitizing your brand voice, express yourself as someone you’d want to befriend…you rather engage with someone who is nice and honest rather than someone who is rude and distant, right? Take this concept and decide who your brand is—personality wise.
With your basic personality/voice, you can expand your expression depending on your social media platform. For Facebook, make your brand’s personality a little more helpful and informative. For Twitter, take your voice and add a little attitude and humor. For Instagram, be the best version of your brand: be aesthetic and concise.
Remember, always look at who you are offline—your branding, your why, your values—when deciding who you want to be online…don’t simply choose a snarky voice because Wendy’s makes it cool. So, no matter how you decide to relate to and reach your consumers, never forget your why; bee expressive and be yourself.
What’s your take? How do you express your brand (personal or professional) on social media?