Social Media Strategies to Market Your Brand Voice

What makes your brand voice unique? Would you consider your company to be an introvert or an extrovert? Do you know how your business would score on a personality quiz? More and more, social media platforms are encouraging brand and marketing managers to consider these questions as online engagement becomes an expression of brand personality and customer identity.

How much of your personality do you share online? Adam Grant, Wharton Professor and author of Give and Take recently shared an interesting piece on LinkedIn, expanding upon a study by researchers Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, Nancy Rothbard, and Justin Berg on the two key factors that drive our social media choices: boundaries and image. Ollier-Malaterr, Rothbard, and Berg argue that personal and professional boundaries and how we want to be seen by others drive our actions online and significantly impact our digitally curated personalities.

Boundary preferences are displayed by integrators and segmentors. Integrators prefer to bridge their personal and professional lives by seamlessly blending tweets about industry news with Instagram photos of family vacations. Segmentors, on the other hand, keep their professional and personal lives separate and may be more diligent with privacy controls, or keep entire social media sites for professional contacts (LinkedIn) and others for personal contacts (Facebook).

Image preferences further affect our online choices by creating impressers and expressers online. Impressers see social media as an opportunity to put their best foot forward; they want to build a positive reputation and will only share items they feel uphold that image and help attract a strong following. On the other hand, expressers see social media as an opportunity to be open and accurate in their portrayal of themselves, and will share vulnerabilities, unpopular opinions, or flaws.

By balancing these boundary and image expectations, we each create an online version of ourselves that we are able to edit, exaggerate, minimize, or celebrate.

Businesses mediate these same boundaries and face the same decisions when it comes to deciding how much to share online. Some brands portray themselves as completely open and transparent, openly admitting to mistakes and expressively promoting their unique attributes. Others are more reserved and create professional platforms for online engagement, yet use these platforms more for listening and rarely engage with their fans or push the boundaries with what they’re sharing.

Regardless of how much or how little you share, with each post, tweet, comment, reply, and favorite, brands are responsible for creating their online image and brand personality. Similar to the spectrum of human personalities, there is no correct brand personality; rather, it is important to always to be true to the core of who you are as a company. Brands tend to miss out or go wrong when they don’t make an effort to understand their own personality and push out messaging that is inconsistent, out of character, or off-putting to their customer base.

Certain brands such as Oreo, Jack Daniel’s, or even Progressive Insurance have worked to create brand personalities that stand out in a sea of competitors. These brands work to increase customer retention by ensuring their social media efforts reflect the strong brand personality their customers identify with. When you hear those brands it’s easy to think of attributes that describe them and their marketing efforts. Whether it’s Oreo cheekily making a splash in real-time marketing, Jack Daniel’s creating and cultivating a brand archetype that doesn’t focus on or appeal to only those who drink alcohol, or Progressive Insurance creating a fun, reliable, and dependable advertising campaign (attributes they would like their customers to associate with them), these brands have distinct personalities that social media plays an important role in creating and building upon.

So how can your brand create a cohesive, multi-dimensional personality that reverberates with your customer base and helps your company stand out in the crowd?

First, identify general attributes that fit with your company and that you would like customers to associate with your brand.

Second, identify specific personality traits that you would like to describe your brand. Are you funny? Good natured? Reserved or the life of the party? A reliable source for advice? Traditional or a trend setter? These questions and more can help paint the picture of the brand personality you would like to develop. 

Finally, create and execute a cohesive, consistent marketing strategy that covers multiple social platforms and reaches your target demographic on different levels. This will ensure that as an “impresser,” your brand is projecting the image you want people to understand, expect, and identify with.