Despite the fact that just anyone can get on social media these days, all it takes is a few minutes on a site like twitter to see that social media is far more than simply talking to the masses. Just as in face-to-face interaction, there’s a social science behind effective communication.
When you represent a brand, the science changes slightly. You can’t interact from a company as you would a personal account. Different rules apply.
In the three years since inception, KBru Communications has represented 26 different brands. That’s 26 very different clients with unique goals, personnel, ideas and operations. Because the social science of communications is always evolving, so is the field of public relations. It’s important to build a solid foundation so when the field shifts, you shift with it, without changing your brand.
In this two part series, we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned along the way, starting with your brand.
Define Your Brand and Stick to It
Before you start using a platform to promote your brand, know what it is. Define what makes your brand unique, what your product is, and why you’re on social media. Writing these down and keeping them nearby will serve as a constant reminder of what you’re trying to accomplish. Some brands are on social media just because it’s the thing to do, and they drift aimlessly, having random conversations but not actually growing their brand.
Instead: Have clear goals, a mission and interact with purpose.
Have One Voice
Celebrities aside, a brand is a thing, not a person. In fact, it usually ends up being comprised of a group of people. Because of this, when you define your brand, choose what tone and voice you want to have, and make sure your team of people stick to that.
Approaching a race recently, a race team tweeted something along the lines of, “Arrived at [Track Name]!! I can’t wait for [Driver Name] to get here!!!”
If they don’t mind their team sounding like a teenage girl about to meet her boyfriend, this kind of tone is perfectly fine. But if they want it to reflect a professional organization using millions of dollars of sponsors’ money to operate and gain exposure, this may be the wrong voice to reflect the product they’re trying to sell.
When recently discussing an event on twitter, a news site responded with something along the lines of “I remember that. I was sitting on my couch with my son and we couldn’t believe it.”
A news site has a son? And can sit on a couch? And has a memory? Five people work for that company. How am I supposed to know who is talking, and why are they sharing a personal memory here and not on their own page? What does this have to do with the news site they work for?
If you want to share a personal experience or opinion, use your personal twitter. If you’re posting from a brand, avoid speaking in first person at all costs. It weakens your branding and you also run the risk of your followers not liking the individual, despite wanting to support the brand.
Instead: Use a voice that reflects the whole, not the individual. It’s possible to still be personable and interact when speaking as a brand.
Know What the Period Does and How to Use It
— Flying Lizard (@FlyingLizard_MS) January 31, 2016
We’ve all seen it. That random punctuation mark (usually a period) ahead at the beginning of a tweet. But what does it do?
When you start a tweet with a twitter handle, twitter assumes you’re having a conversation with somebody. It doesn’t want to spam your followers’ feeds if you and another person are having a conversation, so it only shows those tweets to people who are following both you and the person you started the tweet with. So let’s say the tweet above didn’t include that period at the front:
The only people who are going to see this tweet are people who follow both @FlyingLizard_MS and @Pierre_Kaffer. If you were to follow only Flying Lizard, you would never see the post.
So when should you use it? When you want all of your followers to see that particular post. One item to note is you don’t have to put the period (or whatever symbol you desire) in front of every handle, or one that is in the middle of the tweet. It’s only that first character, and only when you start a tweet with someone’s handle. Here’s a [photo shopped] example of what not to do:
Do have a twitter question you want answered in Part 2? Comment below!