Social Media – Forcing brands to have a personality


Going back just a couple of years, it was the all too familiar giant billboards and newspaper ads, showcasing striking images and big bold text, that got your brand noticed. Those days are fast disappearing.

We all know the advertising world has changed. Social Media has dramatically altered the marketing landscape – the way brands communicate to customers, not only in terms of the channel, but in terms of the voice they use.

As social media users we simply won’t accept a brand flooding their newsfeed with corporate pushy sales messages. Instead, around us we witness brands having no choice but to become humanised, to interact with their consumers in much the same way we might with our friends. It’s all about the personality.

Brands now need to stand out from the crowd and build a relationship with their followers. Even the most corporate of companies, such as General Electric, who, given their nature, you may expect to be rather bland and a little generic when it comes to social media, are in actual fact, recognised by many top marketers for being social media pros. They know their audience are geeks, they work with it. Tapping into the inner nerd by providing the latest advances in science and technology yet managing to make it topical and socially sharable with examples including: Valentine’s messages in scientific formulas and information on how vision is evolving, playing on #thedress.

Brands need to think a bit more. Who are we? What would our business as a person look like? How would he/she speak and how would they make friends? Technically that’s what brands are doing on social media. Users don’t want a formal voice preaching at them, they want someone friendly, giving them a bit of a laugh or helpful information. Take Adidas or B&Q, they both provide a helping hand to their followers, one providing daily motivation to get fit, the other sharing much needed DIY tips.

Businesses need to give users a unique reason to follow them, to provide added value, whether it’s humour, customer support or educating users with top tips. Businesses now have to go the extra mile when it comes to marketing, putting real thought into the voice that your brand will speak, and the personality it will have. In the past, it was only those working on the shop floor that would be the face of the brand. Now to build that relationship, followers want to see the office, those behind the computers, and social media is the platform they expect to find it.

So what brands do it well?

Dublin Airport’s Twitter- It’s not just a great account to follow for updates on flight delays, they upload images of celebrities arriving; photography from beautiful cities across the world which you can visit from Dublin Airport; and historical pictures in Dublin Airport for the nostalgic followers.

Snapshot of Twitter post by Dublin Airport welcoming their rugby team home for the Six Nations tournement

A Twitter screenshot of an old photograph of Dublin Airport  to commemorate the airports' 75th birthday

Liverpool Fitness Box on Instagram- With a focus on daily motivation, Liverpool Fitness Box use the social network to upload motivational quotes, provide fitness and nutritional tips, promote each days’ classes and share images of those taking part in classes. If you’re a Fitness Box follower, there’s no avoiding those daily reminders to get down the gym! The profile also works as a great testimonial for the gym, with clients actively promoting and complimenting the instructors and classes.

White background with black text 'I'm tired, it's too cold, it's too hot, it's raining, it's too late, all crossed out and let's go in larger text underneath.

Snapshot of a tweet from Liverpool Fitness Box displaying a baby looking defeated after demolishing half a big birthday cake with the text 'This wasn't supposed to be my cheat day...'

Tesco’s Twitter- Aside from promoting their products, Tesco manage to fit in their fair share of terrible jokes that could lighten anyone’s day.  They are also particularly good at getting followers involved, particularly with their latest #MumoftheYear and #MumMottos campaigns.

Snap shot of a tweet by Tesco with an image of a breakfast of egg and soldiers with text 'Dip me baby, one more time' and a music note symbol

Snapshot of Tescos' Twitter post with picture of a mum holding a sign saying 'Only fight arguements that need to be won' . Tesco branding at top of page with 'Mum of the year awards 2015'

General Electric- Have managed to make a corporate, science-based company a great account to follow. Sharing interesting tweets that remain topical and humorous, whilst providing that geeky insight and technical whizz their followers want, they’ve opened their brand up to an audience of over three thousand. They have also incorporated the use of Snapchat to inspire their marketing efforts.

Jet Engines

Twitter snapshot from a post by General Electric, image with 4 names 'Harry Truman, Herbet Hoover, Warren G. Harding and Woodrow Wilson' and then the text 'Guess which US president was an engineer?'

So maybe it’s time for you to think – is your brand missing an opportunity to communicate with your audience on a personal level?

If you are already using the channel – is your brand voice right? Are you giving your audience what they want to hear?