We all have one: the friend whose quirks are mildly amusing in person. But place them under the magnifying glass of social media and those minor quirks become major, hard-to-ignore annoyances. Or, as one friend recently remarked about an acquaintance of ours, “I’m embarrassed for him every time I go on Twitter.”
Not everyone has the personality for social media. It’s something we never talk about, but it’s a huge consideration for marketers as they enter into the space. Because putting the wrong person out there in the online world can have disastrous effects.
Take the insecure CEO who tends to overshare personal information. Now he may be made tolerable in person by his big heart. But online, that big heart isn’t visible and all the audience hears are the wince-inducing twitterings of a man who’s uncomfortable in his own skin and his inauthenticity (and therefore his company’s) is going to be what they come away with.
Ditto the overly chipper CMO. In person, her glad-handing and cheerleaderesque personality may be made tolerable by efficiency and an ability to make people feel special. But online that won’t come through and what you’re left with is someone who thinks she’s a morning talk show host, and the resulting impression among your customers that they’re dealing with an out-of-control egomaniac whose sole focus is on herself. That’s not an image you want to put out there for your clients.
Now there’s a converse to this, too–people who come off better online than they do in person. Oftentimes it’s the shy one, the person who’s wonderfully charming in a one-on-one setting, but suffers in a group. This person may flourish in a social media setting, which can feel much more intimate than a large conference room, and you’ll be surprised at how well they’re able connect, one-on-one, with your customers.
Bottom line is that casting is critical for any social media effort. You want to have someone who is both engaging and enchanting. Someone who makes your company look good and makes your customers feel better about your product or service.
And like casting the right actor for a role, the job is much tougher than it looks. If the camera adds 10 pounds to even the slimmest actor, the lens of social media has a similar effect on its actors, magnifying their quirks by a power of 10.
Casting for social media is further complicated by the fact that you are dealing with actors who already have the role. I mean it’s never going to be easy to tell the CMO he comes off like a pompous ass online, with his “Well given that our competitors are all blithering idiots, raising sale wasn’t too hard!” blog replies.
But that’s the job of the agency or the social media consultancy. To figure out who needs to assume the role of the customer-facing online company representative. To audition people internally to ensure that you’ve got the right players in place. To be the one who points out that even though other CEOs have created a following online, yours is likely to have the opposite effect. To create a mix of characters who all play off against each other to create a complete and holistic picture.
All while retaining spontaneity and authenticity.
Clearly, it’s no easy matter.