Social Media Personality Conflict

I found myself thinking more and more about the personalities that we as social media and community managers develop for the brands we create and manage online. In part, a good social campaign creates a voice, a personal voice with which we engage the community. Part of developing that voice is developing a brand personality. However, when we create that brand persona we add a little bit of ourselves to it. Whether that little bit is our own voice, our history, loves, likes, style of writing or whatever; a small part of ourselves exists within the brand personality we use to engage users.

Now, if you are a social media or community manager, chances are you already have your own personal brand established and your own personal voice. Day to day, you switch between your work voice and your personal voice with a little bit of an overlap. Some might say, a good social media manager can separate these two; that’s a little bit naive. We aren’t built to separate personalities. No matter how hard you try, there will be a little bit of yourself in your online persona whether it be personal or professional.

A duality then exists inside of your head. You are two separate people, yet the same person; day-to-day. A question develops: How do you manage multiple personalities? You are an extension of your online persona. You are two different people, maybe three. Sometimes it maybe difficult to differentiate the two. If it becomes difficult manage, you start to notice overlap or become somebody completely different; in which you lose your sense of personality. Then where are you?

I’m not saying it’s a superhero mentality; one minute Clark Kent and the other Superman. What I am saying is one minute you are General Electric and the next yourself.

I wonder if the back and forth of persona is healthy.

I wonder if, in the long term, it changes the way we effectively manage our brands and ourselves.

I wonder if, in the long term, this duality can become a disorder where you completely lose your sense of self.

Or maybe, your sense of self is a duality?

At what point to you become the voice you established for the brand you manage? Or, does any of this matter?

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4 comments

  1. Veronica Ludwig · May 12, 2010

    This does matter and is a GREAT topic! And yes, I am shouting the word GREAT!

    Social Media and business is so new to the corporate world and companies are very confused on how to utilize this amazing marketing tool that cannot be ignored.

    Last summer I attended a mini workshop on business marketing & twitter. The speaker was discussing how certain brands were using twitter effectively and gave examples of two particular accounts. One was an entrepreneur who started her own cupcake company and the other was a corporation who produced popcorn. Both of them used twitter to help build their brand by establishing relationships and getting twitter users to bond with them personally. The cupcake business is booming and the business owner says at least 85% of her success if from twitter! The popcorn company was doing extremely well until the person they had running the twitter account took a job at another company. I’m sure the business is still doing well because they are a local staple in their city, but the person that took over has not captured the twitter audience in the same way.

    So what happens when your brand’s personality changes?

    I don’t eat nearly as much popcorn as I did when I was engaging with the popcorn company on twitter. This is true!! And not because I don’t like popcorn….I just don’t think about it as often!

    The moral to this comment is, companies cannot ignore social media as a brand strategy! And the importance of developing a policy specifically for this purpose is key in the success of their strategy. If your brand is not consistant, people will stop eating popcorn!

    Thanks for the great post Leif!

    • ebreakdown · May 12, 2010

      You are correct Veronica. I would like to add to your comment regarding the importance of utilizing social media as part of your brand strategy and keeping it consistent.

      It’s important to understand that it’s not just about content of the posts, it’s the personality behind it. That personality needs to be defined just as much as the content and information, if not more. We like talking to people, not robots. And it’s the people behind the curtain with the influence. We as users and managers need to be aware of that fact always. If a brand loses personality or loses a particular style, it changes the dynamic of the demographic, message and brand.

      With each departure of a brand’s community manager there should be a reevaluation of that brand’s social methodology.

    • Brandthony · May 18, 2010

      “I don’t eat nearly as much popcorn as I did when I was engaging with the popcorn company on twitter. This is true!! And not because I don’t like popcorn….I just don’t think about it as often! ”

      Right!? I’m not familiar with that popcorn company but I recently started doing community management for a packaged goods brand and it’s really interested just how often the frequency of interacting with the brand can increase usage. There are big-time fans that now tweet more often that they’re consuming the product or suggest it to others.

      It would be interesting to see how the interactions and, more importantly, response would change if someone else started managing the account.

      Unfortunately, I also think some community managers may not be as valued as they should be. Every word I write is on purpose. So a seemingly simple sentence has been structured to send a particular message and invoke a particular response. It is these intricacies of language that can change the level of interaction (and type of interaction) considerably.

      • ebreakdown · May 18, 2010

        Those big time fans are your golden fleece while managing a brand’s online community. Believe me, I know. There is a stat out there that 90% of people trust recommendations by people they know and 70% trust consumer opinions online.

        Interacting more with those influencers will have an immense positive impact not only on brand equity but in purchasing as well.

        I agree with you as well, community managers are sometimes not valued as much as they should be. But I believe that will change in the years to come as more and more users become attached to the wizard behind the curtain. Not just in content or vernacular, but in personality and belief. Over time the community managers will become essential to the brand because of their personality.

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