Show off the personality of your brand on social media...while still being appropriate

When you’re in sync on social media—you’ve found your niche and you’re speaking your customers’ language—you’ll not only generate more business, you’ll build loyalty. That loyalty translates to increased customer lifetime value, plus new business via word-of-mouth promotion. For each potential customer you engage by getting them to like a post, you can extend your reach to their networks, feeds, and friends, boosting your exposure to new audiences.

Know who you’re targeting

Social media is a key tool for building loyalty and generating new exposure for your brand. Just make sure you know who you’re targeting. You can’t please everyone. If you’re too vague, you’ll do everything from irritating your audience with your inauthenticity and marketing babble to wasting your own time and money generating content that falls on deaf ears.

If you’re on point with your core demographic by being specific and authentic, you’ll click with your target audience and gain quick, lasting fans. What about the folks you’re alienating by keeping out of your communications? What it boils down to is that they’re not likely to want, need, or end up buying from you in the first place, so you’re better off cutting them out in the first round rather than spending your money trying to target a group that you’ll never win over.

When you’re specific with your target customer and your marketing message matches that specificity, you should expect to get a few folks who disagree. Don’t let this keep you from going out on a limb for your ideal customer—they’re the ones whose opinions matter. And if you’re being true to your brand, you shouldn’t have a problem naturally identifying and authentically connecting with your core demographic.

The connections you make by being specific and authentic far outweigh the disagreement you’ll generate from people who were never going to be your customers anyway.

Show your personality through interaction

Your social media presence is like a relationship. And like a relationship, it shouldn’t be based on one-sided conversations, or conversations you’re always starting. Show interest in relevant conversations where it is appropriate for you to pitch in. Just make sure you’re in the conversation as a peer, not a salesperson. As a peer, you can gain respect and generate interest/curiosity in your brand. As a salesperson, you can shut the conversation down in an instant—and generate a lot of negative sentiments in the process.

If you’re a single-person business, just respond how you’d respond if you were having the conversation, not your brand. If you have a team, take the time to figure out your brand persona. Are you super helpful? Witty and sharp? Heartfelt and insightful? Intense and blunt? Characterize the ‘person’ your brand is, and then get in character for your interactions. As always, check yourself before posting to make sure it’s authentic and consistent.

Show off the people behind the brand

Highlight the people who make your business what it is, and have taken you to where you are today. Show employees doing things they love that also resonate with your customer base. You hired them because they were a good fit for the company culture, right? What activities, values, and facets of their personality make them such a good fit for your brand and the culture you promote through your brand? Share that with your customers and show them that the people behind the brand are just like them!

Give shout outs!

Show off your sense of community. Shout out to other businesses you love, either in your community or industry who are doing admirable things. Shout out to people (customers, thought leaders, etc) who are living your values. Recommend the brands you love that fit into the lifestyle you promote for your customers. You make shoes by hand? Recommend the local sock-maker down the street. You grow and process your own tea? Recommend your favorite brand of honey to pair it with. Go one step further and include a picture of you (or a fan or employee) wearing the combo of shoes and socks or drinking the pairing of tea and honey. As humans, it’s in our nature to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We love community. It leads customers of your brand to feel part of something bigger than just shoes, or just tea or just (fill in your product/service). This simple act of recognition also helps your audience understand who you are, where you fit into the scene, and that you’re aware of and supporting more than just yourself.

Who you are, not what you sell

Social media helps you make the sell by giving you an outlet for familiarizing your customer to who your brand is and what you stand for, NOT what you sell. Focus on who your brand is, not what you’re trying to peddle.

In all things social media, authenticity is the most important. If memes and gifs come naturally to you and your brand persona is a bit of a jokester, then go crazy with those. If writing heartfelt posts is more your style, take it away, Oprah. If it doesn’t come easily and feel natural, there’s a good chance it’s not authentic to your brand, and you should think twice about what you’re trying to do with any content—post, photo, or otherwise—that rings the awkward bell.

Own your actions. Especially the mistakes.

With authenticity, if you make a mistake, whether you were wrong about something, screwed up an order, or posted an insensitive comment that you should have thought twice about before sending, the hard fact of the matter is that the worst thing you can do is try to cover your tracks. Deleting it and pretending it never happened is social suicide.

Pull yourself up by your big-kid pants and own your mistake. You can generate an incredible amount of goodwill by showing your audience, in a real-time example, that you’re accountable for your actions, take responsibility for your brand, and will do whatever it takes to make it right. Customers know that every move can’t be perfect. By owning and correcting your mistakes, you’re giving your audience a huge reassurance that when your brand makes a mistake, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it right in a timely manner. Whatever your brand personality may be.

TL;DR

Be specific about your target audience. Really, really specific. When you’re specific and authentic with your interactions, it’s nearly impossible to make a misstep showing off the personality of your brand. And if you do, own your mistake and take corrective action.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. - Dr. Seuss