By now we know that social media is important for business. It’s no longer considered just a fad because it can help build brand visibility and improve search engine optimization efforts if used correctly. Like any other marketing strategy, it’s important to enter social media with a strategy. You can’t just jump in and expect to be successful. There are numerous decisions that need to be made. You need to decide which social networks to be active on and what kind of content should be shared and how frequently it should be shared. Perhaps one of the most important decisions is how the business will be represented in social media and who or what will be the “face” of the strategy. A business can be represented by the brand name, by an important individual at the company, or by both. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
When using social media as a brand and the account is in the brand name, there is no confusion. A person knows that by following “@Company X”, they are in fact following Company X (as long as the account has been verified). They can expect to receive promotions and other kinds of offers. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it takes the personal element out of it, and isn’t social media about being personable? Followers have no idea who they are following at that company. Is it the CEO? Maybe someone in marketing? Could it even by an intern? It’s hard to make any kind of true connection in this form, and it’s more similar to traditional advertising.
To add that human element to social media connections, individuals at companies can become the “face” of the social media strategy. In this case, followers know that they are following an actual person, like Jane in marketing or Dave in customer service. Since there is more accountability on the individual it establishes more trust amongst followers. The key to this strategy is that the individual needs to understand that the account is for business purposes and the content that is shared needs to be relevant. Jane at Company X shouldn’t be posting her favorite recipes unless Company X is in the food service industry.
Many businesses will utilize both strategies and implement social media on behalf of a brand account and an individual account. Since many followers will overlap, the content that is shared shouldn’t be exactly the same. If you are going to have two accounts representing the business, it needs to be justified. Maybe one account will be topic specific (for example, Dave in customer service only posts about customer service related issues) and the other can be broader in scope. For a large corporation, it may make sense to have multiple accounts, such as the heads of each department. As long as each account is active, engaging, and providing relevant and useful information there is nothing wrong with having more than one on behalf of a business.