Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Personas on Twitter

Lately I've been thinking a lot more about what works and what doesn't work in the social media space, specifically on Facebook on Twitter. The reason I started thinking about this is because I had noticed some "random" photos on Facebook being liked and/or shared thousands of times. These viral photos may be one-offs, but more often than not, specific websites/account would get large numbers of likes over and over. Anyways, it piqued my curiosity and lead me to look at my twitter timeline as well.

Now, I'm no social media expert and this post certainly isn't aimed at being instructive about how to increase twitter presence. I'm just going to focus on a few examples and tie them back to personas and try to understand why I think they're successful. I was originally going to do this all in one post, but I realized, it would end up being really long, so I'm going to split this into a few posts.

I'm going to break it down into a few types of personas. Note that I don't call these brands even though some of them are. A twitter profile can be a brand, but I don't consider it to be interesting or worthy of following unless it goes beyond just being a brand. That means I don't follow celebrities or product brands unless they do something other than advertise their products. That also means that the twitter accounts I really look out for establish their personas in strong, unique ways.

So let's start off with the persona that got me thinking about this whole thing:

@littledebbie - Very random that I start with this, but the person(s) behind this profile are definitely having fun with it and show they understand that a brand can provide factual info and help their customers, but also create a connection with the twitter-verse. I won't go into all of the details, but based on some simple tweeting with @Questlove in December and joking about their brand, a lot of people in the twitterverse noticed the tongue-in-cheek humor behind the Little Debbie account. I definitely noticed the fact that they go beyond just responding to "help me" tweets (in this case about nutritional contents). Before this, I hadn't thought of Little Debbie since grade school when my mom would pack a snack cake in my lunch bag. Now? I think they're maintaining a pretty cool persona on twitter. That is reason enough to say they've done a good job establishing themselves as something unique on the social internet.
More brands have done a pretty good job:

@eyeficard - They run a pretty standard support profile, but they have employees with other jobs also man this profile and get to the bottom of customer issues. From what I've seen, it's allowed them to provide consitent responsiveness in a world where waiting 10 minutes feels like forever! For a small company like this, I think it shows that you can establish a helpful presence for your customers no matter how big or small you are. Besides all this, I walk my dogs past their office all the time and they look like cool folks :)

@comcastcares - Back before twitter was a household term, this account became known as a place to go for help with Comcast issues. The reason it got noticed is because it seemed to be more responsive than the Comcast phone lines. That's actually a bad thing to say about the normal Comcast support process, but a really good thing when it comes to leverage the internet. It may not seem like it now, but Comcast was at the leading edge of this. The account content itself is kind of boring, but I think they've established themselves well as a consistent place to go for real help.

So my takeaway for these company/business/brand accounts is that just getting on twitter doesn't do much for you. However, there's a variety of ways to make a name for your company. It can be as simple poking fun at your brand or as another way for your customers to ask for help. The point for me is that some companies do a pretty good job at maintaining consistency in the persona they've chosen for their brands and that consistency is key.

Okay, that's it for now. I'm going to get to more interesting personas in the next post so keep an eye out!

[UPDATE: Check out the next post on this topic here: Personas on Twitter, Part 2]

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