Personality goes a long way

@Kevin | Strategy

“I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way. “ –Jules, Pulp Fiction

I think that personality in social media is something that often gets overlooked. In fact I have overlooked it so much that it wasn’t until Aaron Hayes left a comment on the last blog post that I even thought about writing about personality.

As Jules said in Pulp Fiction, “Personality goes a long way.” I think that concept can get lost when people look at social media as a numbers game, when someone is heavily automating it, or when you get a little lazy. Personally I have to admit that I fall into that third group myself. When I post a new blog post here at Social Media Answers an automated tweet is generated. When I post a note about a blog post showing some personality around it the amount of traffic I see is easily double versus the automated post.

So why do I continue to automate it? Pure laziness. I need to correct that.

Anyway, enough about me not eating my own dog food, here are some thoughts on personality and social media.

The most knowledgeable person in the organization is probably not the person with the most personality. Some small businesses want to turn the social media reigns over to an owner or a manager because they know the most about their field even though they are pretty dry. That isn’t always a good idea, having someone who is full of personality and can find the answers by contacting the more knowledgeable person is a smarter way to go.

You can’t teach personality. I have some clients that create some pretty good content on their own site but when it comes to using a tool like Twitter or Facebook they are horrible at it. It isn’t a time thing or a commitment thing; they just don’t have an engaging personality.

While it is a hard thing to admit if you know you or the people being counted on to create content on these outposts don’t have the personality your strategy must be adapted. I would even consider heavily restricting your outposts if you are going to have a continuous flow of automated and impersonal information.

For example you need to market your Twitter feed as a “company news feed” versus having it be an extension of customer service or a place where you are asking for interaction. It needs to be made clear that this is how you are using this tool and if they do need to interact with your brand give them where they can do it. (Maybe you are trying to funnel them through e-mail or something like that.)

Also I want to make it clear that I don’t think this is a winning strategy overall but if this is the hand you are dealt it is better to be transparent and clear about how you are using a tool versus not interacting enough. Overall the performance of the campaign will not be as good as having someone interacting, showing some personality, and humanizing your brand.

Be careful with over automating. This is something that is happening more and more with companies and people pushing various RSS feeds automatically through their outposts. I get that you might consider yourself a great place for news on your industry but pushing through the RSS feed of a leading publication that everyone in your industry already reads looks lazy.

For example some people in Social Media automatically republish everything that goes up on Mashable. Not every item that Mashable posts is worth sharing, automating that process makes you look like you can’t discern between important information and information worth sharing. This can lead to people discounting the good information that you do share.

How you interact with the people who follow you and how you create/share the information that goes into your streams is important. If you aren’t going to show off your personality you need to make sure you account for that. Remember what Jules said, “Personality goes a long way.” Also you probably should remember that a man giving a woman a foot massage should not lead to him getting thrown through a window, but that is another Jules quote for another day.