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The 3 Brand Personas on Social

There’s nothing more boring than a brand feed that’s just a stream of company news and coupons. Even the biggest brands are guilty of doing it. (We won’t name names!)

The brands that stand out on social have distinctive personas. They’ve defined exactly what they want to represent to their fan base, and they’ve developed a content strategy to fit that ideal. Their social feeds are engaging, intimate, and chock-full of content that isn’t company-specific.

These are three common brand personas that nurture relationships with fans.

The-helper1) The Helper

How do you provide value to customers? Help them solve problems and inspire positive change.

Take PBS stalwart This Old House. The social team behind the TV show strives to give fans value they couldn’t get elsewhere. They host Twitter chats with home improvement experts. They pin photos of bright, welcoming kitchens, and cozy porches, each captioned with detailed how-tos.

Plus, they frequently post deals and discounts from partner brands, making home improvement more affordable.

Who should adapt a “helper” persona? Companies that are all about making people’s lives easier. This could mean that you provide a problem-solving good or service. But it works for brands in every industry that make life more convenient.

Ann Taylor is about taking the hassle out of choosing clothes, so they provide easy styling tips and video profiles of busy, inspiring women. Knorr is about making good food fast, so they provide super-simple recipes and tips.

If your brand buzzwords are “easy” and “practical,” consider this approach.


 The-insider2) The Insider

Of course, some brands are more about form than function. They seek to delight, elevate and maybe even inspire a little envy.

Take Rent the Runway. Their designer-rental business model is built around women who aspire to have the best clothing, but at an affordable budget. Rent the Runway’s social presence makes these fashionistas feel like their dreams are in reach. They frequently feature photos of celebrities wearing clothes they carry, with deep links back to the items in their online store. They run social chat sessions with socialites like Tinsley Mortimer, giving their fans exposure to people who live they lifestyles they covet. And they run frequent referral sweepstakes for items from designers like Oscar de la Renta. Their customers feel like insiders.

You don’t need to be high fashion to give fans exposure to a new world. Is your core audience full of aerospace geeks? Interview a NASA engineer and post it on YouTube. Got tech junkies? Become their source for all the latest industry news.

Give fans access to their passions, and you’ll build an engaged community.


The-Confidante3) The Confidante

Some brands approach social media like they’re your best friend: always willing to listen. Sure, they’ll write witty posts and share fun photos, but they put their fans at the center.

Sharpie does this by frequently posting user creations to Instagram, linking to fan blog posts, and featuring “fans of the week” on their Facebook Timeline. By giving their community a space to get creative, they’ve attracted a large following.

Another great confidante brand: Hebrew National. We know…when you think hot dog company, you don’t think “keeper of secrets.” But they frequently ask their fans to chime in with their favorite condiments and desserts. They solicit customer feedback and feature fan photos. And they run Photo Contests, rewarding fans for sharing their summer barbeque snaps.

Want to put fans first? Ask them to sound off about the latest industry news. Respond to every single comment and tweet. Solicit and share fan art, poetry, and Vines. They’ll get the message that it’s all about them.

Which persona best suits your brand?

Join The Conversation

  • RicDragon's picture
    Sep 5 Posted 3 years ago RicDragon

    Always love seeing more on brand voice and personality.  Great post, Mark!

  • Nely's picture
    Sep 5 Posted 3 years ago Nely

    Hi Mark thanks for sharing such a great post. I believe companies need to have a bit from the 3 personas you have mentioned above. However the company I'm collaboritng with is probably a kind of helper brand as we are always looking for interesting content and value information in order to HUG our costumers.By HUG I mean Hear, Understand and Give back incredible value to our online readers.

    I also believe before to determine which Kind of persona is your brand, business need to know their clients or fans in order to stand out in the crowd. We have written a bit more about it in here and I would love if you can have a look at it 



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