How to Create a Brand Persona on Social Media

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Being a brand on social media can be a challenge because people want to connect with other people, not a logo or brand. So, how does a brand get into the mix in social media in an effective way? They create a persona that fits their brand, helps them communicate their message, and works in social media. I want to share some successful brand stories to help you create a brand persona for your company to use on social media.

Dollars and sense

Etsy is a brand that has created an engaging, large audience on social media. In theory, who would want to follow a brand that is in itself a social media platform? Over 875,000 people, that’s who!

In this post, Etsy highlights a staff member and gives a teaser for Small Business Saturday. Sharing photos of your work space or staff is a great peek into the brand. They also showcase products from Etsy shop owners on their accounts which of course is their bread and butter but imagine the boost a shop owner gets from a feature from Etsy. That's straight up dollars and sense for Etsy and their brand.


Everyone loves chocolate

Cadbury is another brand killing their social media. With over 3.6 million followers on Google+ and 10 million on Facebook, they are actively promoting their products with a well branded message that’s fun and interesting. They host a #CadburyKitchen series of hangouts and have a thriving community of foodies and chocolate lovers. Using top of mind marketing and beautiful images, Cadbury has created an online persona that their fans connect with and love. This post is just plain fun!


DKNY: Twitter Powerhouse

One of the original, if not the original, brand to create an actual persona for their brand was DKNY. This was the brainchild of Aliza Licht, SVP Global Communications for Donna Karan International; Voice of DKNY Social Media. Aliza created the fantastic persona of the DKNY PR Girl with a fun sketch for the avatar and this as her Twitter bio: “I'm your well-placed fashion source bringing you behind-the-scenes scoop from inside Donna Karan New York & DKNY and my life as a PR girl living in NY.”

For the first two years that Aliza tweeted, no one knew who the person behind the tweets was but then Aliza came out from behind the screen with a coming-out video on YouTube that showed who she was and what she was doing. Day in and day out, Aliza shares behind the scenes in the glamorous and sometimes not so glam world of PR in the fashion industry. She live tweets events such as the Oscars and her favorite t.v. shows and her fans love it, all 515,000+ of them. Aliza also has an active Tumblr account and is on Pinterest as well.

Aliza is a traditional PR person that uses social media for DKNY and has brought her whole industry into the mix. The humanization of DKNY as a brand on social media is the perfect mix of who the brand is, what they do and connecting with their friends. The openness and human qualities of @DKNY boost their message and create buzz worldwide.

Aliza has a book coming out called Leave Your Mark and I'm dying to read it. “It's personal and professional guidance for people just starting their careers and for people who are well on their way. With a particular emphasis on communicating and building your personal brand, something she knows a thing or two about, Aliza is your sassy, knowledgeable guide to the contemporary working world, where personal and professional lines are blurred and the most important thing you can have is a strong sense of self.”

These three examples of successful brands of three different social platforms provides a framework for creating a “humanized brand.”

1. Be transparent like @DKNY’s Aliza Licht on Twitter
2. Celebrate your staff like Etsy on Google+
3. Entertain your fans and followers like Cadbury on Facebook

Why these brand's social persona works

One essential element of each of these social brands is that they are consistent with their message. This doesn’t mean that they blast the same sales/marketing message over and over but that they know their brand’s voice, who they are and what type of content fits for their audience. Also, they vary the content from platform to platform.

Stating the obvious: a brand isn't going to be a human on social media. A brand needs a “humanized brand” that speaks to their community. You need to nail down who your community is by age group and other demographics to help build your brand persona and find the right language, images, and overall tone to reach people effectively.

Use your analytics

I highly recommend that you have a Facebook Page and Pinterest for Business account. If you want to do any kind of monetization or social selling, you need to have professional accounts for both of these platforms. It's free to update from personal profiles on both platforms and you'll get a host of benefits with the upgraded platforms.

Look at the following analytics to determine who your audience is:

How can you take this data to create your social media voice?

  1. Determine the age range for your fan base.
  2. Determine the male to female ratio.
  3. Factor in what your product is and how it's best to present your products.
  4. Choose your social platform or platforms based on the above information using the type of content that's popular and the demographics of the medium.
  5. Scope out popular accounts on these platforms and see what type of content works best. Video? Still images? Custom graphics? Text only updates?

Craft your social voice

Using this information, create your brand's social media voice and give it the characteristics that match your ideal clients. If you have a younger, millennial audience, hit up the hip audiences at SnapChat and Instagram with natural language and informal photos. If you're brand is more corporate, use Facebook and LinkedIn to build your network with more serious language and branded images.

It would be helpful to create a faux ideal client so you can imagine you are creating your content for this one person. How can you help them solve a problem? What resources can you provide to make their life better in some way? Should you use a lot of hashtags or trendy content? Match your content with your ideal faux client and you'll be planning for success.

It's important to craft messages that are consistently using the same tone and language but don't fall into the bad zone by repeating the same phrases over and over.  Keep it fresh and creative because people notice brands that repeat content robotically, this is the hallmark of a clueless brand online, after not responding at all.

The biggest question to answer for crafting a social media persona

Why should your ideal customer follow you on social media?

No one is on social media to be sold to or talked at. You need to solve problems and be useful to your community. Gear your social media marketing towards these questions using the social media voice that fits your brand and you will have your social media brand persona.

Create a brand persona for your company on social media before you start tweeting, posting and sharing on social media. Will you have one person tweeting and posting or a team for your social media? Be transparent and consistent with this. Zappos tweets put their initial on each tweet like this ^PF and say hello at the beginning of each tweet shift and good-bye at the end. Zappos listens to their Twitter followers and connects as a brand with a person behind it, you know who you’re talking to representing Zappos at any given time.

Be open and transparent, have fun and engage your audience on social media. No stuffy corporate messengers need apply here. Use the information I've shared to create your brand's social media persona and let me know how it goes!  Questions? Suggestions? Let's hear in in the comments below!

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  1. Great piece of information with perfect clarity on various thoughts..Maximum efforts should be made to engage the audience on social media.Photo marketing and other funny ways increases audience engagement and make your brand more popular.

  2. I have just discovered your site and really loved this article and the examples used. You have described this topic so well and detailed, great read! I will be sure to sign up for e-news!

  3. Huge fan of Aliza, and now a huge fan of Peg! Thanks for all the great tips that I will use while finishing college and take with me to the professional world.

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