Language has a huge influence on how we think about our world – which isn’t always a good thing.
One such word is “brand”. Currently, it seems to be used either too broadly, especially when discussing social media.
People are friends with people, not brands
Most of the people you connect with on Facebook and Twitter are your friends. They’re people. They have personality.
And I bet that you spend 95% of your time connecting with people – not companies. And even when you do connect with a company, your best experiences are defined by the people who work at that company (think Zappos).
Has Facebook and Twitter made “brand” obsolete?
Brand is the collective experiences that make your nonprofit unique in someone’s life. Your website, your direct mail piece, press clips, how you say “thank you” and how you treat your Facebook fans. In other words, it’s the overall experience of your organization, which is often hard to put into words. It’s how you make people feel.
Now, with the onslaught of social media, consumers expect personalized attention. They expect you to listen, be responsive and even have a sense of humor. Kinda like a person.
This culture shift has “brand” sitting on the sidelines, while “personality” calls all the plays (notice how no one talks about “personal branding” anymore?). There are hundreds of examples where one or two personalities have defined a company’s overall brand.
How to get a personality
So what does all this look like? Well, let’s think about how people behave:
- People listen
- People reply to comments
- People have a sense of humor
- People show compassion
- People admit mistakes
- People do the unexpected
- People trust other people
- And people care
You can give your Twitter page or Facebook page personality by giving more power to the personalities in your organization. Empower them to be creative! Remove barriers to their response time. Give them permission to make mistakes (even reward them!). Incent their true selves. Seek out their personality.