The Cult of Personality
Whether you consider social media to be a cocktail party, singles’ bar, or networking event; one fact remains true: personality counts. Social audiences want more than just information. They want to form connections that evolve into relationships.

This is a good thing … as long as you are prepared to give them what they want.

Personal Personas
A “persona” is a fictitious person who represents a specific segment of your audience. A persona is not a label or a demographic description. For a credit card company, a persona might be Andrea – the small town, honor-roll student who is preparing for college in the big city. She’s book smart, but hasn’t had a lot of real-world experience. She shops at Old Navy, but aspires to hunt bargains at Neiman Marcus. Her financial goals include building up good credit so she can get approved for a loan on a shiny, red VW Beetle.

Understanding “Andrea” makes tailoring your marketing message a cinch.

The Corporate Persona
Apple’s Mac/PC ads are a great example of giving a company or product a persona. What type of personality do you want to project – friendly, powerful, all-knowing, helpful, down-to-earth, hip, conservative? A corporate persona informs each social interaction with customers and prospects.

5 Quick Tips for Working It Social Style
1. Know Thyself -The social scene is all about transparency and authenticity. Start bylistening to people who are already talking about you. Identify existing perceptions and whether you can build on them. Focus on how you’d like to be perceived and translate that into a set of personality traits.

2. Give People Something to Hold On To – People have short attention spans, especially online. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Pick your strongest character asset and work it. Think in sound bytes, not sales sheets.

3. Keep it Real – Once you’ve established who you are, be a pit bull about reinforcing your identity. Measure every interaction against what your company persona would do if s/he were a real person. It takes time – both chronologically and in terms of invested effort – to build a recognizable persona, but it’s well worth it.

4. Avoid Schizophrenia – If you have more than one person handling your social interactions, make sure that each member of the team is part of a cohesive effort. Though it’s positive to inject some unique personality into your dialog (see #5), presenting a consistent personality is critical.

5. Get Personal – Part of social media’s appeal is the chance to get up close and personal. I don’t encourage sharing what you had for breakfast or details of the spat you had with your mother-in-law, but personal insights and opinions on relevant current events, blog posts, or social discussions will help your audience form a clear picture of who you are.

Bonus Tip: Talk to a Stranger -There’s a reason that many individuals seek professional help when they are trying to sort out their personal identity. Companies can benefit from the same kind of third-party consulting when it comes to self-assessment exercises. Consider engaging a professional to help you create a winning corporate persona .

What suggestions do you have for building and strengthening your company’s social personality?