Should a brand have a personality? Don’t worry. It’s a trick question. All brands have a personality. It’s just a matter of the nature of the personality being intentional or unintentional. I’ve watched the ColorMetrix brand personality (at least on Twitter) go from unintentionally vague and confusing to fun and engaging. Not only did we manage that transformation in a little over 18 months, but we also picked up about 600 quality followers along the way.
From vague and confusing
Management of Business-to-Business (B2B) Twitter accounts can be tricky. Many small businesses in the B2B space (like my company ColorMetrix) make little use of traditional agencies and end up managing most of their own marketing.
Oftentimes what ends up happening is one of the owners sets up the account and then tries to determine the value of the new communication medium. This is how the ColorMetrix Twitter account came to be. In October of 2008 about six months after setting up my personal Twitter account, I decided to secure the ColorMetrix account name as well. It was around that time I decided to live tweet from a trade show for the first time and I wanted to be able to reference the company as a Twitter account.
For the next couple of years, I utilized the company Twitter account infrequently. Worse yet, when I did publish a status update it often looked like me talking to myself. The problem was that my personal account had hundreds followers by this time and the company account had only 50 or 60. Most of those 50 or 60 also followed my personal account. I remember friends joking that it looked like me talking to myself, which is when I realized we needed to do something different.
Enter an engaging voice to manage the account
In early February of 2011, I began sharing management responsibilities for the company Twitter account with Shelby Sapusek whom we had retained as a virtual marketing department. In other words, I hired an outside agency to manage our Twitter presence. The trick is that Shelby also got involved in all our marketing and quickly figured out the culture and personality of our small company.
Almost immediately after taking over the account, Shelby located #PrintChat a virtual meeting place each Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. Central on Twitter. By following the hashtag, we were able to have the company participate in an ongoing discussion about topics important to the print industry which we serve.
Not only did we begin to follow the thought leaders who showed up for the chat each week, but they also followed us. Many of these thought leaders attend the same conferences and trade shows as us so we could engage with them there as well using the event hash tags. Again we would follow new thought leaders we’d see in the conversation and many of them would follow us back.
Add a side order of fun please
As the ColorMetrix Twitter personality Shelby created matured, she discovered her witty sense of humor could be applied to the company account. ColorMetrix started to joke with other members of the print community on Twitter and they joked back. All of a sudden a brand in the B2B space had some humanity behind it. Who doesn’t love a good laugh in the middle of a difficult work day?
And the trick is …
Well there really is no trick except maybe this: Make sure your B2B Twitter account is as real as your personal account. People don’t like stiff nameless brands any more than they like automated telephone answering systems that make it impossible to reach a human. Now get out there and be human with you B2B Twitter account!
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