When comic book legend Stan Lee wrote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” he most likely did not imagine that in a mutant-free future this quote would perfectly summarize a phenomenon known as social engagement.
Engagement through social media is a powerful way to reach an audience. And when your brand is armed with a strong cohesive strategy, it can be a super hero. But without that “s” for strategy on emblazoned on your chest your brand is less like Superman and more like a guy dressed in tights holding a chunk of kryptonite awaiting a smack down from the dark side.
To avoid such a doomsday scenario let’s look to super heroes as role models when developing an online brand. There are two ways to represent a brand on social networks:
1) As a lone super hero a la Green Lantern, or
2) As a poster-child supported by a team like the Avengers
The first is to choose a single voice to speak for the brand and make sure that any person writing on the behalf of the brand respects its value and its identity. This is much like the Green Lantern in that every person wearing the ring has to take the oath to respect the values of the Green Lantern.
You must define the social voice of the brand and how it interacts with the audience. Let’s compare two superheroes that have a lot in common: Ironman and Batman. Both are eccentric philanthropist billionaires who wear costumes to fight crime. If you gave them a Twitter account to share you could easily recognize each of the characters by the styles in which they write. Batman would be more introverted and humble. Ironman would be extraverted and at times arrogant.
In this approach you must use a cohesive voice and never let the audience become aware that there may actually be more than one individual interacting with them. Otherwise you would make your audience feel like they are dealing with split personalities, never knowing what to expect. The latter might be a good idea of the brand is the unpredictable Incredible Hulk.
The second approach is for a strong team of social advocates to drive the brand. In the case of The Avengers, Nick Fury is the voice of the group. He deals with the corporate aspect of things and the generic public relations but when it comes to action it’s Ironman, Captain America, Thor, and the others who do the heavy lifting.
In this scenario your main character (Nick Fury) only post news about the overall brand and rarely interacts directly with the audience. That’s a job left to the associates.
This way every member of the audience feels like the brand is dedicating one of its super heroes to them and doesn’t mind the potential difference in tone between the brand identity and the person representing the brand.
But which route to choose? In social engagement the right way is always the way your audience is expecting you to engage with them.