Brand vs Individual
Do you separate your personal social media accounts from your brand’s? Do you think that acting as a brand versus a human is more beneficial to your customers or your business as a whole? Below I will outline some of the pros and cons of each to assist you in deciding which may be more appropriate for the needs of you or your organization.
Think about it like this. Social Media platforms are centered around the idea of relationship and conversation based content. Building a P2P ( People to People ) relationship is one of the most valuable things an organization can do. But one important trait of relationships, which I know I had to learn the hard way, is that relationships that are one sided just don’t work.
Personally, I know that I prefer interacting with a person who has humanistic qualities. I think that this brings a lot of things to light, which may be discarded when you only interact with an organization as a brand. Just like people, organizations make mistakes. When an organization is seen as a grouping of real people versus a cold, “matter of fact” brand, a customer may be more inclined to understand a mishap and be more willing to forgive you for it.
Having worked in Customer Service for several years, I have found that when you create that humanistic relationship with your customer, you are no longer “Client Services Rep 12345” you are Becky, who has several similar interests, lives in Boston and loves to vacation where you live because of the weather. Not only does this humanize the employee or the brand, but I have also found that customers are less likely to let out all of their frustrations on the representative, who is simply doing their job, just as you do, if they can relate to you on a personal level.
However, I also believe that brands have a specific role that they play in social media platforms as well. People feel a connection, security and familiarity to a brand, based on the experiences they have had. Customers also tend to reach out to Brands on sites such as Twitter or Facebook for coupons, sales or even initial contact for a comment, compliment or complaint. It sometimes can make situations more legit for the consumer.
One of the obvious reasons why utilizing a brand account may be more effective is that you don’t necessarily have to worry about your individual accounts being as “politically correct” or official as a brand account may be. Some individuals who utilize their social media accounts for both business and personal will state “tweets or posts are my own,” which allows them to more freely speak their mind and not be held accountable. As a brand account, you have either set guidelines or trust in employees to uphold your reputation in being a role model in your industry, so the lines are less blurred and there is a better guarantee that all things relating to your organization are handled in the most professional and hospitable manner.
As with anything, a healthy combination of both brand and individual presences will probably have the best outcome, since there’s no right or wrong way to represent your brand. What may work for some organizations might now work for others.
Do you agree? How do your social platforms operate? Have you found success with how your managing yours?
I’d love to hear from you!