Your Social Identity

One of the most talked about social apps is “geo.” With brands like Starbucks partnering with Foursquare, its mainstream appeal has gone beyond being mayor of your neighborhood bar. And recently, the idea of sharing not only your personal thoughts and feelings, but your location emerged as a heated topic at SearchFest in Portland. The topic is also slated to be a major theme through the upcoming Online Marketing Summit nationwide tour this summer. That is why I began pondering the overall implications of this ever invasive and at the same time, interesting identity we are creating socially.

This is not only a question for personal consumption but for larger corporate brands. Who are you on Twitter? Who are you on Facebook? Just an amorphous company brand or a personality or, even better, a real person representing a company? It was once said that those brands that really have defined who they are and are comfortable with themselves truly are gaining advantages on the Web and in social media. And I like that thought, as I believe it harkens back to an early answer to the question of “should I have two profiles on Facebook,” and my answer is no!

The explanation was simply, “get comfortable with yourself,” then get comfortable sharing it. Never has there been a better time to break down these faux walls between business and personal. We are all people who work for a business. If you are doing something that you are not proud of, well then don’t share it. But maybe you just should not do it at all. And for all that you are proud of or find interesting, let it out. Tell the world; don’t worry, most of us are so deluged with our news feeds on Facebook and Twitter streams that we see 1/1000th of what is posted.

What’s the lesson here for smart marketers?

  1. Define your personal and brand persona.
  2. Be consistent with that definition. Don’t go all mushy personal one day, then super business promotional the next…maintain a consistent voice.
  3. Allow connections to be personal in nature. Use e-mail if you’d rather keep it all business.
  4. Decide who is representing your brand (think virtual spokesperson) and then set ground rules for interactions for these folks.
  5. Be smart about frequency. Tweeting a few times a day is fine; going on Facebook more than once a day is not necessary. But do it when it feels right, not because you have to.
  6. Have a personality. If you want to tweet promo codes, so be it, but at least make it interesting like “OMS discount code 20% off for the next 20 to use it and comment on our latest blog post at”

That’s it folks. In the spirit of being pithy and direct À la social media, I leave you with that. Get comfortable and then get with it!

P.S. Would love to hear some favorite “social identities” any of you find engaging.

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Meet Aaron Kahlow at SES NY, which takes place from March 22-26, 2010 at the New York Hilton. SES and ClickZ are both part of Incisive Media.

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