Social Media is like high school: you want everyone to think you’re cool and hang out with you. You never want to be known as “that boring kid in the back who no one knows jack about”. In an ideal “social media world“, everyone would name drop you as if you were their best friend and the coolest kid in school.
In social media, a brand’s voice and identity is one of the most important components in building their brand online. A brand’s presence cannot be the cold, flat, boring, kid in the back of AP Calculus who no one notices (or cares) is missing from prom night.
Each brand needs to decide who they want the class to see them as:
Are you the super smart kid whose intelligence is to be emulated (or cheated off of)?
Are you the class clown  everyone wants to listen to just to see what witty thing they come up with next?
Are you the one-in-the-know  who knows where to get a copy of the upcoming mid-term?
Possibly are you the coolest kid in school  everyone calls on Friday night to find out where the party is?
A brand’s voice allows their social community followers to get to know what the brand is all about. A consumer who knows a brand’s identity can then decide they like the brand, identify with it, and want to hang out with it.
So how does one go about figuring out who they are?
- Market Research: Most established brands will already know who they want to attract. However, if you are releasing a new product, have waning market pull, are rebranding, or just are smart, you should check in and make sure you are not trying to hang out with the wrong crowd. This should be an holistic research process (aka in the real world).
- Social Media Community Research: Find out who is already talking about your brand, product, industry, or what you did last weekend. Find out who you should be hanging out with (key influencers) (Twellow, TweetFind and WeFollow are good ) and what everyone’s saying behind your back. Are they talking smack? Go the customer care route. 
- Are they confused and need answers? Go the informative buddy route. Are they bored with you/ the product/ the industry? Take a tone to re-engage them.
- Find Out where the party is: Is everyone just irritated and tweeting about it? Are people really into your product and making fan pages on Facebook? Get on there and get your foot in the door!
- Listen to them: No clever analogies here. Just shut up for a second and listen. Set up profiles on the appropriate channels, utilize the appropriate monitoring systems, and figure out what tone your customers will identify with. Figure out what they think is cool, what bugs them, and what conversation already exists to partake in.
- Show up with a six-pack you stole from your parents: Go to the party. Start talking. Be who your customers are seeking. Do not over impose yourself on them. They honestly do not want to read 15 tweets about your 15% off deal. They are not interested in dry blog posts being reposted on all channels.
The goal in social media brand identity can be thought of in this way: If your customers saw your brand hanging out at the local bar, would they know what to buy you to drink? Are you an entertaining brand who does tequila shots? Are you a refined industry staple who prefers a good red wine? Are you a casual helpful friend who deserves a trendy micro-brew? Would you like a little paper umbrella in your Mai Tai?
Think about it. I’m buying the next round!
- What New Twitter Means for Online Marketing  - September 17, 2010
- Top 5 Benefits to Marketing with Facebook Places  - August 20, 2010
- Comprehensive Guide to Location-Based Social Media  - June 15, 2010
- Privacy Day on Facebook  - December 9, 2009
- Strolling through the SMERPs: 6 New Social Media Terms You Must Know  - November 3, 2009
- Facebook Privacy Settings  - October 14, 2009
- What does your brand drink at parties?  - August 20, 2009
- Starbucks Free Pastry FAIL  - July 23, 2009
- 5 Things That Rocked My Socks Off (this week)  - July 10, 2009
- Half-Decaf Facebook Campaign  - July 8, 2009