There she is lounging in the sun, golden brown skin, luscious golden locks and piercing green eyes. The way she walks suggests power and confidence. The way she is dressed suggests organization and a fine attention to detail.

You approach her…


Her reception to your bumbling, “H, H Hi how are you, m, m , my name is Caleb, enjoying the afternoon?” (Worst pick up line ever btw) denotes that she is warm and welcoming. Immediately based on your first perceptions of her you’re able to draw some conclusions about what type of person this is.

You collect yourself, exchange a few more pleasantries and then you follow the unspoken invitation to sit down on the lounge chair next to her. The topic comes up, “So what do you do for work?”

“I work for a luxury travel agency specializing in international business travel,” the woman says. “Right. Makes sense,” you think to yourself.  The hair, the dress, the charming presence. It all adds up. What a perfect ambassador for that company and line of work, no doubt.

If you’d like to hear how this story unravels shoot me a message and I will explore my hidden ambition to get a publishing deal. Not likely. I will however, give you a short preview. They fall in love, run away together, happen upon a pirate’s treasure map and embark on a journey full of adventure, mystery, romance, betrayal and murder… Wow, I need to stop watching so much HBO.

For now, let me get to a point I am trying to make about the power of persona and how as social media community managers we need to be obsessed with understanding it and adopting it as our own when trying to create relationships with the target audience. If we don’t, we risk creating a chasm between the experience the customer has with the product or service and the experience they have online engaging with you on behalf of the brand. It should all fit together nicely. Integration is key as it allows marketers to leverage the reach and message of all traditional and digital communication more effectively and avoid creating confusion.

I often ask clients we work with, if your brand were a person walking down the street, what would they look like? How would they dress, talk, sit, stand, etc.? What would motivate them? What would excite them? What is their mission in life beyond making a paycheck and feeding themselves? Who is your brand, personified into real flesh?

So, for example (and in simplified terms):

If you’re a sports bar – Talk like a jock

If you’re a beauty salon – enchant your audience with your smooth words and majestic delivery

If you’re a health and nutrition brand – come across as being a friendly physician or motivational fitness coach.

If you’re a luxury business travel agency – come across as a smooth and inviting, beautiful woman with golden brown skin and beautiful golden hair with attention to detail and an aura of excellence.

Here’s an example of how we tried to capture the laid back and comfortable persona associated with the MR MIKES brand through a simple product shot Facebook post.

Here’s another example where we showcase a motivational and “coach-like” persona through a Facebook post published to World Heath Edmonton’s page:

For you consultants and agency staff out there dealing with different client communities, learn how to wear multiple caps throughout the day. Take an acting lesson; learn how to jump in and out of character.

Am I suggesting you be a fake? NO! Regardless of the hat you are wearing or the persona you adopt, focus on being real and solving real problems. A strong and specific persona helps draw the connection points between your on-line marketing efforts and your real business experience, but adopting a persona does not replace the need to be a real person for the brand’s social community.

A word of warning… It is very common for community managers to slowly slip back into their real character rather than the brand’s persona. To avoid this, our team will frequently revisit the brand strategy and work to simulate stories like the one of the luxury travel agent. It is important to remind yourself that if the brand were a person, what would they look like, what would they say and how would they say it!

Adopt the right persona and be REAL!

If you’d like some good articles on this topic, I have listed a few faves:

“Who Gets Your Brand Persona?” – Steve Golder aka “Social Steve”

“Brand Personality in Social Media” – Steve Goldner

“How To Find Your Social Media Marketing Voice: The Best Examples, Questions and Guides” – Kevan Lee

“Does Your Brand’s Personality Come Through in Social Media”– David Murdico

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, please comment below!