As the social media strategist here at The Clix Group, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the role of social media in people’s lives.
People used to view the internet as somewhat otherworldly. It was its own space – cyberspace. What people did online could be completely disconnected from the rest of their lives. Remember how people talked about IRL (In Real Life) as opposed to the internet world?
The days of people using cyberspace to reinvent themselves are not over – we still have programs like World of Warcraft and Second Life or anonymous chat rooms where users recreate themselves. However, this trend is becoming less and less common, especially in the realm of social media.
Think about your friends and followers on social media. How many of them do you know IRL? My guess is that it is a strong majority. Now think about how they present themselves. Are their profiles relatively accurate representations of themselves? Again, my guess is that they are pretty darn close.
This is an interesting shift we’re seeing in online communities. In general, people don’t use the social media as a mask; they use it as a mirror. That is, they don’t disguise themselves on social media, they reflect themselves.
So what does this mean for brands?
Social media give your brand the opportunity to answer the question “who are you?” in a whole new way. Your brand is not your name, its not your product, and its not your service. If I answered this way, my profile would only show that my name is Bess and I’m a social media strategist.
I am much more than my name and my job. Likewise, your brand is much more than your name and your products. Use social media to let this come through.
Mashable recently highlighted Scott Monty (@scottmonty), the head of social media at Ford. One of the reasons Scott has more followers than the official Ford twitter, @Ford, is because Scott is a real person. His icon is himself, his bio is personal, and his tweets are conversational.
Scott is still professional, but his social presence reflects himself. And in doing so, he puts a human face on his brand.
Of course, not all companies have a Scott Monty on board to personify their brand. But we all have real people with human experiences. Take a look at your company. Look past the name, the product, and the service. Look at your culture, at the people and personalities that really make your company. What makes you unique? Now show that in your social media.
How does your brand use social media as a mirror?