Finding Your Social Identity

By Megan McMahon This past weekend while sitting at a small café in Manhattan, I overheard a conversation two girls were having about social media. One girl refused to be on Facebook because she didn’t want to “have another identity” there. This got me thinking – why would you not be yourself on social media? Of course if you’re in the job hunt or your H.R. department constantly checks social profiles, you need to be aware of what pictures you’re tagged in and what you say. But, this should not change who you are as a person. The same thing goes for brand pages – brand pages should be real and transparent. Social media is NOT a place to create a new identity or, as we call it at Likeable, “brand voice.” Here are a few reasons why being yourself on social media is a good idea, whether you’re a person or a big brand:

From a personal stand point you should be yourself because:

1. You could get caught posing as someone or something you’re not. If you really want the job at the Indie Film production company and you’ve never seen an Indie film in your life, yet your profile says you like 50 Indie films…you’re really not helping yourself. Be honest! This is a life lesson as well as a social media best practice.

2. Social is a great way to express who you are. No, this does not mean posting photos from your girls’ weekend in Vegas – but it does mean that you should share photos and articles from the things that you love. If it’s drinking, party on. If it’s sports, play ball. Whoever you are, you’re ALLOWED to be yourself on social media – don’t make your life harder. Just express YOURSELF!

3. The people who mean the most to you know who you really are anyways. Recently my mom joined Facebook. She doesn’t know EVERY little thing about my life but I’m her daughter, she knows me and my basic interests. Facebook and all of social media really is a great way to connect with people who MATTER to us. And as Dr. Suess once said “Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.”

Brands should be themselves’ because:

1. It is important to have a brand voice on social. A brand that has no rhyme or reason on social media can become annoying and provide little to no value to their fans and customers. Finding your true brand voice and sticking with that voice is a social media best practice across the board. Don’t let fans down on this one by adopting a voice on social that doesn’t align with your core values.

2. Transparency on social will gain you respect. Brands screw up and the worst thing brands can do is try and to hide behind their mistakes. In 2012, the consumer is informed –they will post on your wall, tweet about you, blog about you, and sound the horn that you’re a dishonest brand if you don’t follow through on transparency. Just like you should be honest when you’re on social for personal use, brands should be honest on social media in order to gain the respect of today’s consumer.

3. Being yourself helps you get friends (or fans.) Bottom line is, nobody likes a faker. So, don’t be a fake. Brands should show who they truly are in order to gain the right audience and have a highly engaged fan base. Gaining fans is simple when you’re a highly trusted brand. Customers will come easily when a strong relationship is created – in social media AND in real life.

What’s your social identity? Does your brand show who it really is via social media? Let me know in the comments!