Many people as individuals are attracted to the daring anonymity of the internet and social networking. We all have multiple facets to our individual character and personality, and the online world allows us to be more selective in how we present them – our personal Facebook profile might read very differently to our corporate blog or LinkedIn page, for example. Many people have learned the hard way that nothing is wholly siloed online, and anyone determined to find out everything about you will track down the information somehow – but at least as an individual you (usually) have a degree of choice over how you present yourself online, whether you use it wisely or not.
Brands face similar problems online, on a different scale. Failing to manage a social media presence consistently and effectively can lead to a fragmented appearance, which whilst it rarely underlies a genuinely deceptive strategy, can appear to lack authenticity. Social media offers brands large and small opportunities like never before to have a genuine ‘voice’ online, being responsive and engaging – and increasingly this is what is expected, by a generation of digital native consumers accustomed to nothing less.
It’s not about appearance – although that is important too, and a consistent corporate image needs to be deployed effectively across all platforms. It’s more about tone. Digitally-savvy followers see instantly through a clumsily-outsourced or over-delegated response team, and expect to get straight to the heart of their concern. Whether that concern is about individual customer service, or global policy, if their approach is fobbed off by someone who doesn’t understand or can’t respond effectively (or worse still fails to respond at all…), they will disengage fast.
It’s not rocket science, to coin a cliché – just about being responsive, engaging and authentic. If you outsource your social media, develop a close relationship with a consultant who truly gets your brand, to the point that they can seamlessly deliver this for you, and represent you in a genuine and effective way.