If you manage a company or brand’s social media account, striking the balance between professionalism and sincerity can be difficult. When in doubt, some folks ask themselves W.W.A.P.A.D. – what would a personal account do? But they’re not fooling anyone by acting as if a corporate account is no different than anyone else’s personal account. However, it’s still important to try to make the brand’s social presence feel like a person, or at least like a living, breathing person is behind your logo. Here are a few tips to get your company’s social media account started on its Eat, Pray, Love-style authenticity journey:
Warning: wide load (of content)
While we all love an informative blog post, a current events update or a “listicle” full of tips and tricks – we can only consume so much content in one day. No one wants to feel as if following you is like dealing with a professor who constantly gives out assignments and well-meaning, but annoying, suggestions that add to your workload. Consider interrupting your regularly scheduled posts with some off-the-cuff commentary, an appropriate GIF or an interesting photo. Not only is exhausting your followers with content overload an issue, but so is unintentionally creating a feeling of insincerity. You want your brand to feel like a person, and regular people usually just have enough time for a casual post here and there. So remember not to spend so much time adding to your followers’ “to-read lists,” and instead just drop in and say “hi” a little more often.
Stop, COLLABORATE and listen!
We’re all narcissists at heart, and everyone loves something a lot more when they’re involved in some way. Capitalize on that and let others join in on your brand social media accounts. Inviting your followers to participate in polls, discussions and comments can give off a casual, friendly air. Encouraging user-generated content or actively re-posting things (with permission) from your followers shows that you care. Inviting others to take part in your content stream is a notable method of connecting with your audience, but it doesn’t always have to be your followers who you’re inviting. A great way to show the “real people” behind the company logo is to actually show the real people behind your brand! Don’t let the social media manager be the sole poster; show your followers some real-time co-worker collabs. Let someone from HR do an Instagram Live “takeover,” ask your intern to post a fun fact or create a Twitter thread with commentary from everyone in the office ‒ all with proper guidance, of course. The more often you showcase real personalities, the more authentic your brand will seem.
Your brand accounts’ aesthetic should be authentic. The less curated your company’s feed is, the better. We’re not suggesting you let your posts accumulate into an episode of Hoarders, but at least tone down the filtering. At risk of sounding like a self-help book, imperfections are what make you “you” (or at least they’re what make other people relate to you). Garner a second glance by trading your company headshots for a few candid team photos. Even your run-of-the-mill iPhone picture can give more of an air of authenticity than professional office photography can.
At the end of the day, yes, we’d all rather follow our mom’s best friend’s daughter than a corporation whose email list we got put on. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t at least try to relate to those who follow you. It could win you brownie points or a new customer down the road.