It is widely believed that the success of any brand’s use of social media is ultimately determined by its ability to connect on a personal level with the general public. Companies approach this in different ways – from using colloquial language and establishing an intentionally non-corporate persona, even going so far as to utilise humour and introduce the staff behind the channels.
Some brands have it down to a fine art and their light-hearted, personal engagement, even in response to criticism, is so well directed that it becomes viral and actually spins the situation into a PR success story:
And what is our reaction to their reaction? We love them! We want to go for a drink with them. We salute them for going there. We’re told that more of us need to get over our fear and “go there” as well if we want our social media strategies to succeed.
However, it can be hard when the core of your business is about as interesting as watching paint dry, or your charity deals with a very sombre, emotive issue. Herein lies the problem. Social media doesn’t give a brand personality, it shows up whether or not you have one.
So the fear of “going there” is not unfounded. And for every brand that gets it right (a la Sainsbury’s) there are plenty who get it wrong. Even some of the most valuable brands in the world, like McDonald’s, who weren’t McLovin’ It earlier this year when their Twitter campaign failed as #McDstories became the subject of an outburst of vitriolic hatred when critics hijacked the promotional hash-tag.
So how do our local brands fare in the battle for the big personality online? Well I think they do pretty well. And some of them I really enjoy. The Hudson Bar for example. I’ve never been. I’m not even a fan of beer as a beverage. But their Facebook personality makes me want to go:
Local charities too, like Include Youth, are managing the balancing act between campaigning on serious issues and showing the people they support that they don’t have to take themselves too seriously to do the best job they can for them:
And local self-tanning brand Vita Liberata, which is succeeding at an astonishing pace, manages to create a great mix on their social media channels including celebrity endorsements, customer service, discounts, competitions and promotional campaigns, without losing an air of authenticity which no doubt encourages brand loyalty:
So who do you think is “fearless” in their Northern Ireland Social Media PR?