[guest post by Sam Williamson]

You don’t just generate business through social media, you build a brand. And unlike other marketing strategies, social is extremely cost effective. When done well, it can even be carried out for free. So it’s no surprise that many businesses are desperate to find success on social media. But although many try, very few businesses actually manage to succeed. Although this is partly down to the huge amount of competition on social media, the main reason that so many businesses fail is a total lack of social media persona.

What is persona? It’s a character, a distinct voice, and it’s something that all of the biggest brands in the world have in common. The reason that social media has grown so popular in the last 10 years isn’t because people want to read facts and figures. It’s because we head to social media to get reactions, thoughts and observations from real people. And the best brands in the world have learnt to use this to their advantage.

The strange thing about the majority of consumers is that they care far less about your product than you probably realize. They’re far more interested in your brand, and they want to be seen as being associated with the right brands. Social media is the perfect place to show that you are the right brand, and the best way to showcase this is through your persona.

How exactly do you build a social media persona?

Building a persona involves creating a character for your brand that people will want to follow. Your customers don’t really care about your logo or how pretty your website looks – they care about what you represent and how you portray yourself. And often the best way to demonstrate your brand persona is through your writing on social media and on your website. When striving for a strong brand persona, there are a few important points that you should keep in mind.

Regardless of how you portray yourself, keep it consistent. Nothing screams of deceit and insincerity more than a constantly changing approach to your persona. If that means hiring one person to take control of your social media and website writing to ensure consistency, then so be it. You’ll want to make sure that this person has a firm understanding of what your company represents and how it wants to be perceived. However, the best companies have a strong company culture which usually means that any staff member could post on social media and reflect the brand persona effectively.


Evoking emotions in your readers

Whether you make them laugh, make them feel passionate or make them think about something, the best way to engage an audience is to waken something within them. An engaged audience is a loyal audience.

This all sounds great, but I know what you’re thinking – how the heck am I supposed to evoke such strong emotions in my audience when I’m limited to 140 characters on Twitter? Don’t fret – every single brand is in the same boat as you are. The great thing about developing a strong persona is that you shouldn’t need a huge amount of words to effectively convey your message. Concise messages are often stronger than long winded messages –  think about the strongest brand slogans in the world; ‘Just do it’, ‘I’m lovin’ it’, ‘Because you’re worth it’. You instantly get an idea of what that brand represents and it sticks with you. If you need more than 140 characters to effectively convey your brand persona, then maybe you need to rethink your strategy.

Using imagery to set up your persona/brand in social media

If words aren’t your thing, then using imagery might be the best way to convey your brand persona on social media. Imagery can be powerful, but it also leaves far more room for error. Try to use original imagery where possible, as ‘borrowing’ imagery from other brands/sources might lead to a diluted brand message if several companies are sharing the same image. The same rules apply for conveying your brand persona through imagery; keep it consistent, concise and powerful. Including pictures of your staff in your imagery can help to instil confidence in your audience that they are following a real company, so consider this tactic if trust is an essential aspect of your business (i.e you are dealing with personal details or people are buying from you online).

Why choosing/maintaining tone for your brand is so important

Some marketers will recommend that you choose a persona and stick with it, but if you choose a persona that does not feel authentic or is hard to maintain then your audience will quickly become suspicious of your brand and will lose trust. The best advice is to act naturally and hope that it reflects your company well. If you hire the right person/people to control your social media and writing (i.e someone who has a deep understanding of your brand), then this shouldn’t be an issue.


** About the author: Sam Williamson writes for Aims Media Glasgow, a digital marketing and web design agency based in the UK.