If you’re a fan of the movie Princess Bride, you probably recognize that line. You can probably recite every line around it, too. Just in case you have never seen the film, the general idea is that there is a terrible villain named Dread Pirate Roberts, but you find out that the name is actually more a brand. Several different men have gone by the name of Dread Pirate Roberts, and when they are ready to retire, they bring on a new crew, train a new guy to be the next Dread Pirate Roberts, and the tradition continues.
The “Dread Pirate Roberts” brand is a good way, believe it or not, to think about how to approach social media marketing for a company. Usually, small or mid-sized companies will assign social media marketing duties to one person, while larger companies may have an entire team of people who share social media duties. Regardless of which case describes your situation, there is one overriding reality. The “voice” of your company, once situated, is far more important than who is actually making the posts. Their voice should disappear and the life of the company should take over. That means that if there is a team of people handling the social media marketing, people should not think, “Ah, that’s Lucy.” They should simply think, “That is Acme, Inc., and I have a question for them. The same holds true if your social media marketing maven leaves for other shores. The new person who steps in should study what has already been done and post so that the change in personnel is not reflected in the company’s online presence. Dread Pirate Roberts is always Dread Pirate Roberts, no matter who the actual person is behind the mask.
How do you create your company’s voice?
The natural next question, of course, is how to make your company seem like it has a personality of its own. Initially, it is likely that the person who starts your social media marketing will infuse much of their own personality into their posts. At that point it is up to everyone in the company to determine whether that voice, those kinds of posts, and that tonality actually reflects the company in a positive way. Creating a personalty for a company without simply imposing your own personality onto said company is tricky, but everyone in the company needs to be comfortable with the presentation, so if your own particular spin isn’t working for people, you need to be open to tweaks, either in “voice” or in content.
One of the best ways to create a company’s persona is to engage with other people. That is why I often recommend that if a company is just getting started on Twitter, participating in Twitter chats is a great way to get started. Not only are you showing your company’s expertise, but you are also forced to develop your brand personality as you chat with other people. Are you professional and button-down, or do you have a helpful, friendly tone? Do you talk with a lot of technical terminology or do you use layman’s terms? Commenting on other company’s pages on Facebook and LinkedIn, if you can, accomplishes the same objective.
Some companies skirt these complexities by creating accounts that include a person’s name and the company’s name. You might see a Twitter handle like ComcastAlice or something like that. This means you’re engaging with the brand but you also know that you’re engaging with a specific human being. This is ok particularly if your company is using social media for customer service, but if you are simply trying to engage in social media marketing, I don’t recommend this approach. It can thin out your company’s actual presence, and people will get tied to individuals versus dealing with the brand itself. Johnny Dread Pirate Roberts does not carry the same weight as the “brand name” Dread Pirate Roberts.
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Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/capedcrusader/4484788253/ via Creative Commons