Seeing painful examples this week featuring social media completely devoid of real brand personality means it’s time to create a simple social media personality audit.

Social media content with no brand personality?

Social-Media-Personality-AuditExample 1: The Financial Institution

There’s a TV advertisement running in Kansas City for a financial institution’s new blog targeted at women. The TV advertisement features five women in a kitchen, supposedly talking and sharing in a very “it’s just us girls” way. Apparently by “just us girls” though the financial institution means “in a very stilted, formal, artificial, and awkward” way.

When you check out the financial institution blog, the “stilted, formal, etc.” sentiment carries throughout its site. The five women in the ad obviously represent five personas for the blog. But instead of depicting real people, the five women are characters with phony descriptive names tied to each persona’s life stage and some variation of the financial institution’s signature color.

Let’s just say the dearth of activity on the financial institution blog suggests nobody feels like hanging out in the virtual kitchen to talk and share with these phony personalities.

Example 2: The Vet Clinic

Then yesterday, after visiting our vet to pick up the cats, the vet clinic popped up on Facebook with a status update about a new blog post. I clicked the link and scanned the last three vet clinic blog posts. All three blog posts were about products to keep away from your pet. Helpful information, without a doubt. But the information appeared (based on the blog design information) to be generated by a company specializing in on-hold call systems. As a result, the vet clinic blog posts had the personality one would typically associate with an on-hold call.

This is in stark contrast, however, to a very friendly and warm vet clinic where vets, techs, and other staff have shown us tremendous support as one cat faded and get genuinely excited and have a special nickname for our other cat when she visits the cat clinic.

10 Question Social Media Content Personality Audit

These two social media examples so devoid of brand personality sent me looking for definitions of individual personality and brand personality to spur my creative thinking.

Based on the words suggested in the Wikipedia entries and our experience with good and bad social media content, here are 10 questions the financial institution, the vet clinic, or your brand can ask to see whether you are putting enough personality into social media.

Apply this 10 question social media personality audit to see how any social media content from a brand does. Give two points for every “Yes” answer and no points for every “No” answer:

  • Is there an overriding emotion this social media content suggests?
  • Would you know the attitude employees of this brand embody from its social media content?
  • Are the behaviors your people display when they go above and beyond to help customers clearly suggested?
  • When you see this content, does it appear as if it could be shared in a genuine conversation or letter exchange with someone who knows you?
  • Is there a level of familiarity suggested that customers or potential customers would expect when they dealt with your employees in person?
  • Does this social media content have a spark of imagination and spirit?
  • Will the information shared via social media pass the “straight face” test?
  • Does the tone and delivery of the social media content treat the reader with clear respect?
  • Will a reader walk away from this social media content enriched both intellectually and emotionally?
  • Would people legitimately want to spend more time with the person delivering this social media content?

Let’s see how you did!

Grading the Social Media Content Personality Audit

Here’s how to score a brand on the social media personality audit:

  • 18 or Greater: “A” – You are delivering personality throughout your social media content
  • 16:  “B” – You’re showing more personality than most are in social media
  • 12 - 14: “C” – Social media content you produce might reflect aspects of your brand personality, but it could easily be missed
  • Less than 12: “Fail” – Your social media content probably has drab stock photos (even for what should be employee images), copy that should be on your website and not your blog, and status updates that read like short-form press releases

Who is doing it right?

If you want to see a local brand that has really impressed me of late by oozing its brand personality in social media content, check out the Kansas City store, STUFF on Facebook. It’s located on my favorite creative block in Kansas City, and in the face of a lot of generic retail social media content, STUFF shows you can showcase your brand personality in an imaginative way every day.

Oh, BTW, there is a caveat

Most of the creative questions, strategic thinking exercises, and innovation-inducing tools shared on the Brainzooming blog spring from real-life organizational situations and have been tried and tested.

This social media audit hasn’t, at least in this form. It’s all stuff I fully believe and espouse, but this attempt to share it in a new way isn’t client tested. Because of that, I’d love to see you apply it, and let us know if you think it’s appropriately categorizing the good and bad of social media content you see. - Mike Brown


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