When The Wizard of Oz goes from black-and-white to color, the story springs to life all the more vividly; extraordinarily. In the eyes of today’s audiences, many companies’ stories, images and messages are missing a richly individual character: a truly distinctive color, contrast, aura, personality.
Do you follow a brand in social media? Are you glad you did?
In this installment we review the various aspects and formalities of bringing a brand alive, truly alive in social media. Everything begins with establishing the rules of engagement in order to define the boundaries, context, and objectives for conversations. Guidelines such as “don’t be stupid,” “use common sense,” “stay positive,” is not the most useful approach to steering representatives or consumer experiences. While many brands possess a brand style guide, many have yet to adapt it to the social Web.
In August we reported that a large number of Fortune 100 companies have embraced Twitter, but how well are they actually using it? A study released today by Weber Shandwick says the answer is not very well, and that the majority of Fortune 100 companies don’t really get Twitter. Though 73 of 100 companies had at least one registered Twitter account (up from 54 reported in an unrelated study released in August), the majority of them weren’t using Twitter effectively to engage their followers, weren’t tweeting often, and didn’t display any personality in their tweets, according to the study. One major result of this ineffective use seems to be low engagement from followers. Out of the 540 total Twitter accounts registered by Fortune 100 companies, 50 percent of the accounts had fewer than 500 followers and another 15 percent weren’t being used at all.
As I have often contended, people can be viewed and managed as brands, especially people who have very high public profiles. In October of last year, just before the November elections, we polled Branding Strategy Insider readers on the John McCain and (now) President Barack Obama brands. Just recently, more than 200 days into President Obama’s presidency, we repeated the survey to determine in what ways perceptions of him might have changed in such a short period of time.
Every brand should be using the web to attract and connect with their most ardent fans. And they should do it by cultivating a distinct personality.
As we are tempted by social networks and the kinship of new friends, followers, and fans, we intentionally or inadvertently, create a new era of personal recognition and attention that extracts an unconditioned human response and consequently shapes an unpredictable personality and behavior over time. Social networking, common sense, prudence, and direction are not ingrained in our DNA. We all need a little help and advice, now more than ever.