Who Are you Talking to? Solving the Social Identity Crisis

Brands and Social Identity

By Kyra Reed (@kyrareed):

Brands often come to us because their efforts to build a relatable and meaningful social media presence have stalled out or flat out failed.

Our job in these cases is to understand the state of their current online presence, identify opportunities and create a path toward social media success.  The obvious first step is an audit of their profiles and channels.  (We’ll discuss that process more in depth in a later post.)

The not so obvious second step is a “Social Voice” or “Social Branding” workshop that lays the foundation for every campaign, ad, blog post, visual content piece and status update the company will produce.

Without this step:

  1. The strategy and tactics will be inconsistent

  2. The audience will be confused and lose interest

  3. The momentum and energy of the Page will make it miserable to manage

  4. It will be hard to gain followers and keep engagement high

  5. Most importantly… the messaging will be lost

I’ve come to recognize this as an identity crisis that most clients don’t even know their brand’s are having.  As with real life people, an digital brand identity crisis can create a host of issues when it comes to relating to the world.

Who am I?  

How do I express myself?  

What is important to me?  

What or who do I align myself with?  

Years ago when I was crafting strategy for The Roxy Theatre, I realized that traditional branding was not robust enough to define who The Roxy was on the digital landscape.  The brand had to have a personality that was beyond the pink neon of the rocking “R” logo outside the club.

It needed something more… human.

I began to think of The Roxy as a person.  Who are its friends?  What kind of music does it like? What age and temperament reflect the real soul of the venue?  As I asked these questions I also began to see that not only were these important to our audience, but also potential partners, the press and our vendors.

Our reputation online would be judged by who we associate or partner with, what content we post and how we respond to the public, publically.

Ultimately, we determined that the club was in its early 20′s, male and similar in personality to its owner, Nic Adler.  It was popular because it was accessible and friendly, never engaging in politics or divisive topics. The Roxy was positive, respectful, kind, a hardcore music lover (especially rock), and abstained from cursing or other insulting language.

This definition played a large role in helping The Roxy achieve nearly 500K Facebook Page Likes, 130K+ Twitter followers and high engagement.  Not bad for a 500 person capacity music venue on the Sunset Strip.

The benefits of defining a “voice” are invaluable.  They ensure a seamless and reliable experience.  As untrusted as people of fluctuating character may be, so too are social brands who constantly change their voice.

A multitude of traits goes into the creation of the social voice.  These are not easy revelations or low-hanging fruit. They require soul-searching and in-depth analysis of what motivates a company and who they wish to be.

I tell my clients the workshop is like therapy.  As with individuals, companies fall into daily routines and don’t take the time to reflect and question who they are or what they want to communicate.  The result is confusing messaging and a confused audience because the company itself is confused.

In the world of social media, brands are expected to be part of the conversation, respond to inquiries, produce original content and engage their fans.  Lack of a voice will make any social strategy feel like it’s sinking in quicksand.  No matter how hard you try, you aren’t going anywhere.

To get out of the quicksand and on a fast track you must know who you are.  This means looking inward to determine your unique and authentic voice.  Not who you think you should be or what you think others want from you… but who you really, authentically are.  This includes identifying who you are to your employees, vendors and customers or clients.

A few of the questions I use to help a brand team determine who they are:

  • Are you an elite and exclusive company or friendly and accessible one?

  • What is your sense of humor?  (South Park or The Office?  Modern Family or New Girl?)

  • What do you value in your clients or customers?

  • What do your employees say about the company and what it’s like to work there?

  • Does your identity like food, sports or travel?

These questions touch on a variety of possible personality traits.  Some may not seem relevant to a company but I assure you they are.  It is important to keep in mind that you are building a personality, not a slogan or logo. Personalities have many layers and interests, and engage with other complex personalities.  The more you know about your personality the better you can communicate effectively with your audience, determine content to create and publish, and choose digital partners.

These answers will not fully define the persona you are in search of, but they are the starting point on the path to finding yourself.  Brand executives need to answer these questions with absolute genuineness.  Inauthentic personas come under fire quickly in the social world.

Stick to who you are, what you know best. It’s why your audience is coming to you.  Give them someone to relate to and they will be loyal evangelists and carry your message.  Before you know it your social media will be fun to manage and effective in engaging your community.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to determine your brand voice, or for a free initial consultation, please contact me! kyra[at]adlerintegrated.com

MarKyr Client Energy Muse featured on MTV’s “Hired”

Congratulations to Energy Muse for being selected by MTV’s reality show “Hired” to help find a Social Media Coordinator.  We worked with Energy Muse last year to create a solid social media strategy for this rapidly expanding jeweler.  A favorite among celebrities and alternative practitioners, Energy Muse is a perfect fit with social marketing and they are doing a great job.

- MTV Shows‘ >div>

Facebook “Like” Button Changes the Game For Marketers

About a month ago, Facebook made some major changes in the way users interact with their favorite brands and celebrities. Instead of becoming a FAN of Facebook pages, users now declare they LIKE them and they can do it on any site via LIKE buttons owners can embed within any blog post, video, photo, etc.

Facebook Like Button

What does this mean for businesses? A lot, and yet, most companies are unaware of the power and potential of this new feature. (Facebook is not exactly known for being clear on these things.) Smart businesses will take advantage of this change by re-evaluating their Facebook strategy and outreach on the social web in general.

MarKyr is currently offering one-on-one sessions with clients on how these changes will affect their personal Facebook strategy. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us for a consultation.

The Roxy Theatre is the No.1 Music Venue on Twitter, Flickr and now Facebook

Congratulations to The Roxy Theatre for being true pioneers in Social Media.  After three years of diligently producing engaging content and building community they have conquered the social web. The first music venue to truly embrace the concepts of conversation, connection and community – they have opened the club to the world and brought the spotlight back to the Sunset Strip.

It has been an honor to guide this amazing team over the years.  From their first blog to their recent Facebook Fan Page and Foursquare, they are fearless in their use of the tools.  Owner Nic Adler is a shining example of dedication and innovation.

Read more about his story here: mashable.com/2010/03/11/roxy-twitter-interview/

and here:

www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/fashion/06adler.html

The Blog – http://theroxyonsunset.com

Twitter – @theroxy

Facebook – http://facebook.com/theroxy


SXSW Features Nic Adler and Markyr Media

SXSW is featuring a post on  Nic Adler of The Roxy Theatre and Kyra Reed of Markyr Media on their homepage this week.  A very big thanks to Melissa Williams at SXSW for making it happen.  The coverage was related to the SXSW Music Festval  “The Social Strip,”  a panel about the revitalization of the legendary Sunset Strip.  The panel takes place on March 18th @ 3:30pm.

This news comes only two days after the New York Times article about Reviving The Roxy.  Read that article here.  This has been a great week for MarKyr Media.

New York Times article: Reviving The Roxy, Can The Strip Follow

Nic Adler, owner of the Roxy Theatre, has finally been acknowledged in this week’s New York Times for his innovative spirit and success with Social Media.  The article comes out in tomorrow’s Style Section, but you can read it here: http://bit.ly/92geQB

I met Nic in November 2006, at a time when the music industry was falling to pieces and there was no clear direction for a struggling business model.  I had recently moved to Los Angeles to be at the crossroads of the music industry and technology, specifially New Media (now called Social Media).  I wanted to be on the cutting edge of the change and an expert in community development.  In 2006 no one was listening, except Nic Adler.

When I sat down with Nic, I couldn’t believe how quickly he got it.  He knew immedietly a plan of action that involved building community and creating an authentic and transparent business was the right direction for The Roxy.  He also realized that it meant the club and the staff would have to practice what they preach.  To that end, we created a plan that not only dealt with the promotion of the club via a blog, Flickr and Myspace, but an overhaul in the mentality of the business.  It was a tough sell to the public.  The very communities we were trying to embrace responded with ridicule and resistance.  We found that people were hard pressed to let go of their pre-conceived ideas of how things are.

The first step in our plan was to remove the website and launch a blog in its place.  It was immedietly met with snickers and criticism.  “Who has a blog for their website, I don’t get it.”  But Nic and his amazig staff didn’t give up.  The audiences that found themselves at the Roxy were exposed to a new attitude and a way to communicate with the club, long after the show.  It slowly began to make a difference.  And a year later the Roxy won the VH-1 Rock Honors Award for best website of the year – with 60% of the vote.

Seeing tremendous benefits from his community building, Nic got involved in local government and the Sunset Strip B.I.D.  In 2008 MarKyr Media began to work with The Roxy as consultants, making sure that Nic stays up to date on the latest technology and innovations.  And today…well – you can read about it in the New York Times, or come to our panel at SXSW in March or catch us at one of the many conferences we have been invited to speak at in 2010.  It is a truly inspiring story.  MarKyr is excited to be a part of the Social Strip and the talented people who are making it come alive once again.  Nathan Levinson at The Viper Room, Alf Lamont at The Comedy Store and Media Consultant Charlie Amter.

Congratulation Nic.  And thank you for believing in me and listening to my advice.  I’m so proud of what you have done and honored to be on the ride with you.

Social Media Success – The 3 C’s

Building a Social Media Strategy can be an overwhelming prospect.  It requires an understanding of the “Social Personality” and how consumers or fans are using their social networks.  Often we find that a client will march forward with a social media agenda that is nothing more than a traditional marketing plan, just delivered over Twitter or Facebook.  A few months into the program the results are not living up to their expectations and they find themselves in a tough spot.  “I know I need to be here, but what am I doing wrong and how do I do it RIGHT?”

At MarKyr we needed a simple way to determine WHY or HOW a social media program had gotten off track. It needed to ask all the right questions and offer a solution that was easy to implement and worked every time.  We came up with the Three C’s as a way for our clients to have a checks and balances to keep their program moving and successful.

The foundation of The Three C’s is an interconnectedness – without one corner of the triangle the other two won’t work.  For example, if you are engaging in relevant conversation via Twitter and Facebook by Tweeting articles and leaving comments in Groups you are off to a good start.  But without making a connection with individuals you will never be able to build a real community.  You can also be connecting and conversing with your audience but if you don’t have a place for them to gather around your brand or converse with one another then you lose out on the benefits of having a real community.

CONVERSATION

Conversation is the first part of the 3 C Triangle, and perhaps the most important. Without conversation there would be nothing to talk about with your audience.  If you are just pushing out promotional items or things that interest only YOU, then it is no wonder that you aren’t getting results.

The first question to ask when your program is not going according to plan is:

What Conversation am I Starting or Participating in?

To help you narrow this down ask the following questions:

What are people saying about my product or industry RIGHT NOW?
Are there any issues that relate to my community that need to be discussed?
Has there been any big news or releases that would be important for my community to talk about?

CONNECTION

Are you responding to comments left on your wall or @mentions on Twitter?  When someone speaks to you, are you speaking back?  There have been many instances where a brand is using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to simply push out content.  Strike two if the content is not something that your readers want.  If you aren’t making a real connection with your readers, you will lose them.  In a world of constant communication, your lack of connection will get your removed from an Activity Feed on Facebook or an Unfollow on Twitter.  And what good are your 10k friends if none of them see your updates?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Am I Providing My Readers With Content They WANT To See?

Am I Responding To Wall Posts And Tweets That Mention My Name or Brand?

What DOES My Audience Want From Me?

Do I Acknowledge The Good Works of My Fans?

What Am I Doing to Truly CONNECT With People?

COMMUNITY

The real value of Social Media for a brand is in the ability to build COMMUNITY.  This community will become your life blood for years to come if you cultivate and support it properly.  An active community of loyal fans/friends will help to bring business and revenue to you as long as you participate.  This is really the end result of the first two.  But if you fail to grasp this point all your previous work will have less impact and meaning to your overall bottom line.

To determine if this is where you need help, ask the following questions:

What Have I Done to Create a Sense of Community With My Fans/Followers?

Do I Support My Community With Special Events, Deals or Education?

Does My Community Feel I Provide Value?

Take the time to really analyze these questions against your current program.  Once you spot the side of the triangle that is not in sync, you should be on your way to recovering your Social Media program.

Good luck!  Please let us know if this advice is helpful to you.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Social Media Success – Key Principles for De-bugging your Program

Reality in the Social Media landscape has changed quickly and dramatically.  Just one year ago our pitches were mainly focused on convincing potential clients WHY they should even consider Social Media in their marketing arsenal.  Today, we cut right to the quick and talk about strategy and implementation.

We find that more people accept the fact they need it and most of them have even tried to start their own programs, without seeking the help of a professional.  Many of our new clients are cases where we are de-bugging their first attempts.  It turns out that most people make the same kinds of mistakes when embarking on their social journey.

Through some research and discovery we have found there are a few basic principles that, when omitted or overlooked, tend to stall most programs.   We are going to be sharing some of these key principles over the next few weeks.  We hope that it offers some assistance in keeping that SM program on track!

Please let us know if you have any questions or interesting stories about your own social media challenges.  We would love to hear from you!

The first one is The 3 C’s to Social Media Success.

Energy Muse Jewelry featured on NBC’s The Office

Congratulations to MarKyr client Energy Muse for their recent showing on The Office.  Jena Fisher wore Sri Yantra Necklace for the wedding scene.  And it looked great.  We LOVE their jewelry.

They are making great use of their Facebook Fan Page and Twitter.  If you like jewelry, crystals or mystical thinking check them out – you will get some smart advice and meaningful insight from Heather and the gang at Energy Muse.

Andrea Albright launches new “I Love My Body” community

My goodness…our clients have been busy lately!

Weight loss expert and all around amazing woman Andrea Albright has just launched her new community I Love My Body.

Andrea’s goal is to create a safe and supportive environment to help create real and lasting change in the lives of those with weight issues.  Her valuable insights, based on experience, research and trial and error, provide a wealth of information to help in the weight loss journey.  Andrea is one of the most dedicated and truly loving people we know.  Anyone who is in need of guidance or a little tender hand-holding while trying to lose weight should definately join her community.

Congratulations Andrea and good luck!