Finding Your Online Identity
It’s 2013 and the internet has empowered millions to share ideas, opinions, information, photos, memories, statistics, music, etc. Social networks give these conversations wings and they get carried into homes and offices around the globe, giving everyone the chance to join in. Brands no longer have control over the message – they are a mere train of thought in a global chat room. No one invites them to join in, and when they try to flex their muscle and force the conversation to still revolve around their products or services they are shunned or ignored.
Some brands manage to become part of the inner circle chitchat. They shout the praises of this new form of communication and how social media is the highly sought-after fountain of youth for brands. Suddenly, if you aren’t part of at least three social networks in the online world your brand had no reason to exist in the physical either. Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, not realising that it’s heading towards a cliff called ‘despair’.
While working with brands over the past two years, the following statement always comes up when discussing their online presence: “I don’t know what to say.” The problem with that statement doesn’t lie in “what to say”, but rather “who am I”. If you want to start meaningful conversations that will not only give you influence and relevance but also substance to further your online success, you must take a long, hard look at how the community perceives the brand and what they expect from it. And, you must identify the brand’s virtual self – it’s who, how, what and why. It’s online identity.
Once you know your virtual personality and how the community at large experiences him or her, it is easy to find things to say. You are no longer a faceless brand with a one-track tape about products or services; you are now able to add value by providing meaningful information and creating experiences worth sharing. In a world bombarded by information, communities want brands to make sense of it all and be an expert, influencer and go-to guy or girl in their respective fields. They want a brand’s virtual personality to take them on a journey of experiences, rather than just shoving ads and promos down their throats.
So, do you know who you are in the online world, or are you simply an identity thief, imitating others in the hope that what works for them will also work for you?
Image source: http://vigi2nyc.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/virtual-identity/