Why using the same status update is a bad idea

With use of social networking becoming even more popular, apps are springing up everywhere enabling you to update all your social networks in one go. This feature is even being incorporated into certain social networks. For example Twitter enables you to update Facebook and LinkedIn simply by adding #in or #fb to your tweet. Great news, right? Wrong!

But before I go on to explain myself, let me first ask you this. I want you to think about the following question: 

whatpersonareu1“What sort of person are you?”

Now, you might find it tricky to answer this question. Well, for a start, who’s asking? Do they know you already? How well do they know you? What sort of person are they? How long have they got? Your answer will very much depend on the conclusions you reach in answering these questions. Not only that, what is the reason that you’re answering this question. Is it conversational, or are you trying to sell yourself or are you trying to get rid of someone? Again, depending on your objective, you will have different answers.

Put simply, your answer will depend on your audience and your objective. So, now, think about who your audiences are on each of your social networks and what your objectives are for each network.

Facebook is likely to be your friends. If they’re not friends, then they’re at least people that you’ve met. LinkedIn on the other hand is going to be people in your professional network. You may have worked with them, met them at networking events or linked up with them through a group. Twitter, well, who knows who follows you on Twitter. They could be anyone, but essentially they’re interested in what you’ve got to say.

It might be easier to think about how what we say differs based on where we are. So, if we were to try and draw an analogy with real places, you know in the real touchy-feely non-digital world, what would that look like?

nottinghamyeoldesalutation

Well, Facebook is like being at the pub with your mates. LinkedIn is like being at a networking event, and Twitter is like being at a social event where you don’t really know many people, you might even be on a long train journey!

So, you’re in the pub. Your mate next to you is wittering on about stuff he always witters on about. He’s pretty dull when he gets going. But, you’ve known him for ages, and, he’s a really nice guy, so you put up with it. If you were at a networking event and you didn’t know him, you’d be making a beeline for the drinks table. The same goes for the social event. So, back in the online world; on Facebook, this means your status feeds are full of boring dross (sounds familiar?) But you can’t un-friend them, because they’re your friends. On LinkedIn, maybe you don’t care, because you only visit it once or twice a week and you probably miss most of it. On Twitter, you un-follow. Period.

Now the same applies to you. Speaking in a networking stylie at the pub will make everyone roll their eyes. They probably don’t even know what you do let alone care that you pitched to such-and-such and presented to whoever. On Facebook, you’ll share certain stories because people know you already. You feel safe saying certain things, offloading your crap day, because they’re your mates. And you’re not trying to impress in the way that you might be on LinkedIn. But, you whinge too much on Twitter and you come across as a whinge-bag. Your followers haven’t met you and don’t know that you’re usually the life and the soul of the party.

Now let’s go back to the real world. Imagine you’re at a wedding. Maybe you have some friends there. But if not, you think it might be a great time to meet some new people, you might even pick up some new work contacts. To avoid being sat on your own all night, you might be keeping your ears peeled for some interesting conversations that audienceyou could join in, or you might just strike up some random conversations. Either way, your goal here is to come across as interesting, so that you get to meet people. After all you never know who you might meet. The things you decide to say in this environment will be very different to those that you talk about at the pub, or indeed at the networking event.

Thinking about your environment, your audience and your objective is crucial in forming your response to a question.  So, the next time you answer the questions “What’s on your mind?” or “What’s happening?” are you going to give the same answer?

You might want to read these other posts on personal branding…

Personal Branding and your digital identity

Why Personal Branding isn’t all about the digital space

Why Personal Branding is relevant to business

3 reasons why you should NEVER use video on your site

Don’t hire a Personal Branding Pro until you’ve answered these 5 questions

The 5 perils of personal branding

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Are brands brave enough to embrace social media?

Social media, while it’s been around for a bit now, is still not being truly embraced by brands. The beauty of social media is the decentralisation of the source of the message. Now we all have a voice, and it’s just as relevant and important as the next person’s. So for brands, who are used to being in control of the messages about their brand, that time is over.

Brand owners know all about brand perception. Brand perception is what consumers think about the brand. When a gap exists between where the brand thinks they are and where they really are, there’s a bit of work to do. But in the old days, this was relatively easy. You took out a few ads, used a great PR agency and before long, shifts occurred in the brand image.

But now, there are a whole heap of conversations going on about brands in places they don’t even know about. Sure, they have their own website that pushes out the brand message, but that’s the last place that consumers come to. Typically, Google is where it all starts and the corporate website is where it ends. What happens in between is what is going to determine whether that final visit leads to a sale.

So, why don’t brands get more involved with all that stuff that happens in between? The forums, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook… Do brands even know where the conversations are happening?

The truth is that brands are scared. Most are still trying to work out whether social media is here to stay, while the rest are still working out what it is and how to use it. How many people have you heard say “I just don’t get Twitter”?

In a recent Brand Republic article the top 100 brands mentioned on Twitter were mentioned alongside whether or not they had a presence on Twitter. Less than half of them have a Twitter account. So brands like Gillette, Audi, L’Oreal, Cadbury’s, Tesco, Coca-Cola and Apple are NOT participating in the conversation about their brands. This is the space where decisions are made about brands and it seems like the big guys are getting a bit complacent.

Last year I spent some time with the CEO of Bazaarvoice. These guys are all about making the most out of UGC (user generated content) and using it to drive sales. So if you sell from your website they help you to incorporate UGC to offer a fuller picture to the consumer helping them to make a balanced decision. They can demonstrate that a selection of balanced reviews will sell you more products, even if that selection includes poor reviews.

It makes sense. Consumers are going to seek out those balanced reviews before purchasing, so you may as well put them on your site. Stops them leaving in the first place and buying elsewhere.

So, if we know there’s a conversation taking place out there somewhere between Google and the corporate site, why not encourage some of that conversation to take place ON the corporate site? There is an article that has a clear view about this and it encourages brands to develop their website with their consumers. Instead of being me-me-me, make the website about them and their experiences with the brand. Invite testimonials, good and bad, and create a community. This may all sound like a step too far for some brands. But what the bigger brands need to realise, is that smaller brands are happy jump in here, as it’s their competitive edge.

And who knows, these little guys could be the big brands of tomorrow.

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6 easy steps to Brand Building using Twitter

The thing with Twitter is, you’re either on the bus, or you’re not. Those that aren’t think it’s just a passing fad and don’t really understand it. But, it’s becoming increasingly important as part of any brand building strategy.

In a recent article, out of the 100 most mentioned brands on Twitter, less than half have a Twitter account. And, some of those aren’t really making the most of their presence.

It seems crazy to think that there’s a whole heap of conversations going on about these brands in the twitterverse and these brands aren’t even listening, let alone participating. You can bet your last dollar that if these conversations were happening in print, they’d be watching, reading and taking notes. But here, they choose to ignore.

So, if you are one of those brands that is not taking part in the twitterverse, you’re probably wondering where to start. So here’s my beginner’s guide to brand building with Twitter in 6 easy steps.

1. Clarify your objective!
You must first decide on what basis you are going to participate. Is it to enhance your brand story and add personality, or is it for customer services? Are you going to have just the one twitter account or are you going to encourage employees to tweet. Word of warning with the latter: make sure this is part of a wider social media strategy that permeates the business so that everyone concerned is clear on best practices. Reputations can be destroyed online in seconds, both personal and corporate.

2. Decide on the nature of your tweets
It may be worth having some guidelines in place as to the sorts of things that your brand will tweet about. It’s not about sell, sell, sell, but about listen, engage, listen, and engage. So how are you going to engage? And, when you listen, how will you respond? There are 6 main types of tweet;
a. Brand news
b. Customer support
c. Feedback
d. Special offers
e. Interesting info or resources
f. Random thoughts

You will need to be clear as how you will employ each of these and if you will actually use all of them. Some say, it’s best to reserve using the last one for personal brands. But, if random titbits is part of your brand story then why not?

3. Register your brand name twitter profile
Make sure you pick something that sounds right. You may want to use your name to reinforce your brand message in some way.

4. Create your Twitter page
Use the background to display your brand assets and key brand messages. You might want to use the profile pic to display your logo. Some brands put a pic of the person managing the account. This reinforces the personal nature of twitter and can be a good tactic if twitter is a key strand of your customer services strategy.

5. Allocate resource to maintain your twitter account.
There’s nothing worse for a brand than lack of consistency and the same applies here. The person who’s job it is to manage your twitter account must be very clear on the brand values and proposition. Twitter can enhance your brand if used correctly. It can also destroy.

6. Listen, listen, listen
I know, I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s a biggie. It’s important to track what is being said in the twitterverse, so make sure that your twitterer is using an application that allows you to keep track of your brand mentions. It’s also a good idea to listen to what’s being said about your competitors as well as your product/service category. You could pick up some great ideas for new product development or service improvements.

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