Twitter Query Answered: Use a brand or a person to represent the brand?

This morning on twitter, I posted the question, “When using social media, does it make more sense to use a brand, or use a person who represents a brand?” In 10 minutes I received seven responses. Obviously, I am not the only one who has encountered this dilemma.

This topic has been weighing heavily on my mind since becoming very involved in social media and using it for businesses. I began by promoting myself and learning how to use social media by using my own name and profile to garner business as a marketing consultant specializing in social media. I offered my services, and my social media interactions and usage became my “real time” portfolio. People were interested in me because I offered some sort of value and wasn’t just pushing a brand on them; I was providing information and insights. I just also happen to offer consulting services and some felt I knew what I was doing by following me and viola!

After working on a few business campaigns, I found myself encountering the obstacle of facing companies that only wanted a corporate branded account with no name or association with a real person. This was a good approach for some brand visibility and awareness, but the “buzz” soon started to fizzle. I found the anonymity fostered the social media space to become just a platform for promotions—and that is not social media and not necessarily what people want. The interactions depleted and with social media “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

When an influential person, or someone of interest, was put behind the brand, the account became more about the person and their value rather than the value of the brand and others were more accepting.

My solution then became, make two…or three! There is nothing wrong with creating more than one account to hit different audiences and serve different purposes. Let’s use twitter as an example…

If my company has a brand and I want to create a twitter account, I should go ahead and do it. I can then target specific people based on my intended audience and gather followers who will find value from my tweets. I might add a promotion here and there, maybe some videos showing the internal culture and other tweets that provide relevant information. I might also have a social media person or the CEO add an account. This person should make the account as personal as possible, but also mention they are a part of the brand and keep that in mind when tweeting. Because different audiences want different things from twitter, there is not a single solution except to listen and observe the social space and craft your plan to reach your targets how they want to be approached.

@spurdave pointed out… “The Red Cross and National Wildlife Federation @NWF do this well. @clairesale @starfocus http://budurl.com/j4ct.”

This solution is even stronger when creating blogs. Not many people are so brand loyal as to want to read a blog about a specific product, but maybe they do want insights from the CEO, Social Media Manager or HR person. More than one can be created (and maintained) and they can link to each other offering an array of information with different perspectives and ideas.

So thanks to @prebynski @HomerSmith @ryanstephens @spurdave @noahcohen @stevebencsics and @Energy_Geek for the feedback.

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4 responses to “Twitter Query Answered: Use a brand or a person to represent the brand?

  1. Some great points. I agree that you have to consider what your intended audience’s needs are.

  2. Pingback: A Paper About Twitter « Vincent Pascual’s Blog

  3. What is your take on, or did you get any responses to, the debate of a logo vs. a headshot for the profile picture on twitter. Take Zappos CEO. He is a person blogging on behalf of the company. He is incredibly engaging, has tons of followers, yet uses a logo. Is it really too impersonal or just an excellent way to further build brand awareness? Im torn.

    Dream Big.
    M.
    @Intertwined

  4. i am also having trouble with this.

    over at nonpretentious, we have a twitter account http://www.twitter.com/nonpretentious. all of our contributors have the name and password but it seems like I am the only one who logs in and tweets. (Sometimes, for fun, I will be speaking with another contributor on gchat or AIM and I’ll retweet what they’re saying…).

    Then it comes to the problem of the “we” or “I.”

    I am going to keep tweeting on nonpretentious. Too many twitter accounts is work in itself.

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