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One of the most interesting things (for better or worse) about maintaining a presence on social media is that you can truly be whoever you want. Want to pretend your boring New Jersey-self is an exotic African jewel thief? Go for it, nobody's stopping you. However, when it comes to using social media for your business, authenticity is key. 

You have no idea how much people value interacting with businesses on social that don't act like businesses. They act like real people, with real personalities. But, how can you determine which personality is right for your business?

Unless you're starting a brand new company, there's already going to be a pre-existing view of your brand. Before you try to get your story out there, make sure you understand what people think of your business and why. This is not to say that your brand’s identity has to stay the same forever – just as people change and develop over time, your brand’s personality and voice may be adapted. But, you do need to be sure of where you're starting from before you're able to establish where you're headed.

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Use the above graphic, courtesy of Stephanie Schwab, to help determine what your business’ overall positioning/voice will be. Are you going for an industry thought leader type of approach? Then you would probably choose an authoritative persona, a direct tone, with insider language and an educational purpose. The key is to align your positioning with the values of your customers and prospects.

Your positioning is what will align you with some customers, while potentially alienating you from other customers. Pushing some away is perfectly fine, as it is not feasible to be all things to all people. Just make sure your brand is properly aligned to attract the right followers, prospects, and customers. Also important to consider, is that users of most social platforms expect a certain level of informality. Make sure you adjust your content accordingly. On Instagram & Snapchat, even the most professional of businesses should expect to loosen their belts just a little in order to properly match the expected tone of the network.

The most important thing to remember here is that you're not choosing the voice you want, but the voice you need. The voice that will best resonate with your customers is the voice you need. Ultimately, knowing the proper social media personality for your business comes down to first knowing the personalities of your clients better than anyone else.

Want some advice on the right social media personality for your business? Click here for a free (!) social media consultation.