Relationships are tough for me (and most of us), mostly because I am fiercely independent. My mother instilled in me to make enough money to support myself before I even thought of marriage. From the time I was born, my parents raised me to do things for myself. So, trying to merge that independent life with another person's life, is a challenge. I always struggle to maintain my own identity and have a relationship, as well.
The same thing happens for brands on social media. There's a danger of losing your brand identity while merging with social media. Suddenly, you're sending out messages that you read would be successful in some blog, and you're using a tone of voice that you created based on something some Forbes article told you.
Articles and blogs are helpful guides, but you ultimately need to experiment with what works best for your brand. There is no generic one-size-fits-all for social media. You have your cheeky brands, your serious brands, your sarcastic brands...The list goes on and on.
There's a way to be active in social media without losing your own identity, and it starts with knowing your brand inside out before you even jump on the bandwagon. If you are a large business, an agency can be extremely helpful in creating a brand voice guide for you that includes examples of personalities you can be on your social networks, and what every person touching your social media should try to emulate. If you're a small business, finding your brand identity should be easy! Just stick to the personality you had in mind for your business when you started it.
If you lose your identity in the quest to excel on social media, then you risk being vanilla and getting lost amid all the other brands competing for social space. Also, you will not connect with the right audience for your brand because they will be either too busy trying to figure out what sets your brand apart, or just bored with your everyday antics.
On the flip side, you can't ignorantly enter social media and remain solely independent. Believe me, relationships don't survive when one person finds the need to be strictly independent. There has to be a give and a take. Learn the ins and outs of social media so you can use it properly, and then use as the tool it is.
Social media is a tool that is meant to enhance your brand message, not completely change it into something else. Be smart about using advice from blog posts and articles by picking and choosing what would most likely work for your specific brand, and leaving the rest for someone else. Find out what your brand voice and message are, and then be on the networks that work best for your industry and target audience. Be who you are as a brand, and stick out among all the other vanillas. It is completely possible to join social media, and not lose your own identity.
- Marji J. Sherman