Twitter gives your brand personality

As part of this month’s Twitter special we wanted to give you a few tips on how to get the most out of this new medium. At Equator, many of us have become addicted to using Twitter and have been experimenting with it on a personal level as well as a client marketing level. So we felt it was about time we talked about what we’ve learned, especially as we witness a barrage of companies large and small starting to use the now ubiquitous micro-blogging tool.

What's your personality?

As part of this month's Twitter special we wanted to give you a few tips on how to get the most out of this new medium. At Equator, many of us have become addicted to using Twitter and have been experimenting with it on a personal level as well as a client marketing level.

So we felt it was about time we talked about what we've learned, especially as we witness a barrage of companies large and small starting to use the now ubiquitous micro-blogging tool.

Twitter has certainly been hitting the headlines. With Habitat recently causing a storm by linking sale messages erroneously to the Iran elections we can clearly see there are things that brands certainly should not do. But behind the stupid hashtag associations (#stupid) it's fair to say that Habitat hit problems because they didn't define what, or more importantly who, Habitat is.

We all know the old adage "people buy from people" and the same is true in social media. We firmly believe that if you want to engage with others in social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, then you need to have a personality. Who wishes to engage with an "it"? A faceless corporate entity? Not me! But what if that corporation had an identity, an identity beyond the logo, strapline and mission statement. Something that I could identify with. Then maybe I could find something in common with it.

Maybe then I would engage with it and perhaps it would enter my consciousness and be there the next time I encounter the brand when in the mood to buy whatever it is the brand sells.

If you want to engage the Twitter community and beyond, you need to decide what your brand is, as a person or as a group...

Is Your Brand an I or a We?

Nobody wants to engage with an 'it'. So, the first thing you need to decide is your public presence going to be represented as an individual or as a group? It's an important foundation for everything your brand does in the social space from here on in and also how others can engage with you. Consider carefully if you are going to go out with a single voice as the personality of this individual voice representing your brand will have to be even more tightly defined. If you go out as a 'We' then you can potentially get away with a few tones of voice but keep a lid on it. Otherwise your brand will come across as cluttered and confused and will leave less chance of people being able to engage with the brand personality as it would be changing too much.

What is "I" or "we" like?

On that point, you need to define exactly what this personality sounds like and behaves like. In this area there are no right or wrong answers (not yet anyway). The only thing is to make sure you clearly define it from the off and then stick to it rigidly. This gives the individual something they can look to associate with.

Are you corporate or casual? Chatty or to the point? Upbeat or serious? Caring or nonchalant? Boastful or modest? It may be something you've never thought about before but, some of the biggest global brands do just this. Look to Ryanair - their personality is encompassed in Michael O'Leary - irreverent, edgy and focused on every last penny. Innocent Drinks come across as caring, eco-friendly and familial - and yet there's no "head" there to associate with. Brands small and large can have strong personas such as these - it just takes some focus and consistency.

Once you have defined this personality, you just need to 'go to market' with it and be consistent. For those who are Tweeting for your brand, ensure they deliver the "personality" that you have defined. Now you have a consistent voice to go to market with AND one people can start to relate to.

It's all about me, me, me.

Everyone knows someone that doesn't listen. They just talk at you, not really engaging with what you have to say. They just want to get THEIR point across and really don't care whether you have anything to add as long as they can hear the sound of their own voice.

And I have lost count of the number of brands on Twitter (and Facebook) doing just that. Why on earth would you want your brand to come across with such an arrogant and self-centred personality?

It's not hard to get it right...

You're set

Now you have what you need to get out there. Don't be scared. Don't wait for someone to hijack your brand. Just do it, and do it consistently and with consideration to your community. You're talking with your customers without leaving your desk - and it didn't cost you a penny!