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If your brand was a person, how would it look?  Sound?  Act?

These are the questions we ask our clients and their customers when we are helping them to refine or establish a brand persona.  Social media is a powerful way to bolster your brand’s personality and connect with customers.   There are plenty of cases where brands have made major missteps in their online relations, but there are also many cases where a brand’s social presence has defined their personality, won brand-fans and boosted sales tremendously, sometimes in just seconds.

It’s more important than ever to understand how your core values, customer service, and personality are shaped in the minds of your audience and customers through your social interactions.  Here are a few areas to remember as you create a voice for your brand.

1.  Check the Scene

No one wants to hang out with the loud, pushy guy at the party.  When you enter a social environment (any network), take the time to check out the scene.  What are others talking about?  What is the tone of the network’s users?  Are there rules (written or otherwise) that you need to abide by to be followed/liked and have your content shared?  If you can’t engage users, you are not going to develop the voice or visibility you want on the network. And if you’re screaming, trust me… no one is listening.

2. Know Who You’re Talking to

If you don’t know who you’re trying to converse with, you’re talking to yourself… and that’s not going to help much.  Take a look at industry data, your own sales records, and the followers of similar brands.  Are your audience members young and adventurous? Mature decision makers?  Male? Female? Making more than $150K?

Once you have a clearly identified target, you will know better what topics are of interest and what tone is most effective.  If you’re having trouble with your target or voice, hire a consultant to help you clarify and create a plan for how to reach them, then stick with it.  It takes time and consistency to develop a trust relationship, but loyal brand fans are worth the effort.

3. Develop Good Conversational Content

It’s sometimes hard for companies to stop “broadcasting” and start conversing. Conversations start with interesting topics that appeal to your market.  Think about what your customers want and need.  Find places they like to spend time and topics they need more information on.  Remember the old 80-20 rule?  About 80% of your posting should be non-sales content that is fun and engages readers.  Only about 20% should be self-promoting.

You’re online as a brand, but acting as a person that reflects the company’s core values and voice.   Share glimpses into the company’s life, day or activities.  Pass along great content or valuable offers.  Say thank you and offer congratulations to customers, team members and others in your audience.

Be Patient and Consistent.
Remember you’re in a social environment to start conversations and build relationships.  That takes a little time.  If you post too often and push too hard, you will drive away your audience, but if you patiently cultivate relationships and are consistent in your voice and message, you will build trust and win fans.  Sales will come later from the relationships you develop.

If you need help defining your brand personality or voice, let’s talk.

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Cindy is the founding President at 17blue Digital Agency. She's passionate about helping businesses create traction for their brands, reach their goals and make a difference in their communities.