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3 min Read
May 20, 2020

Using brand personality to guide your presence on social media

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Chances are, there’s a space in your nonprofit’s communications plan for each of these or other social media platforms. But is the effort you’re putting in worth the return for your organization, especially now? By integrating your nonprofit’s brand personality into its social media presence, you can better shape how your nonprofit’s story is told online—and hopefully generate greater impact.

So, what is brand personality? Big Duck offers comprehensive trainings on and tools to generate brand strategy and personality, including this video, but here’s the gist: just as people have very distinct personalities, brands—including nonprofits—are no different. Brand personality is a set of adjectives that guide the tone and style of your nonprofit’s communications. They are aspirational feelings you want to be associated with your organization that still remain true to who your nonprofit is day in and day out. Is your organization fun? Charming? Serious? How is your personality different from that of your peers or competitors? What makes you unique? 

Whether you proactively create it or not, your nonprofit has an associated personality in people’s minds. This is why it’s important to define one on your own terms and develop the correct supporting messages. It’s one of the first steps in the Brandraising roadmap and is very closely tied to organizational brand strategy. When selecting an effective brand personality, it’s crucial to choose characteristics that are distinguishing and are likely to only be true for your organization. Everyone is “professional” or “credible;” what really sets your nonprofit apart?

Once your brand personality is set, turn your attention to social media. To start, focus on your audience’s needs and prioritize their habits. What channels or platforms do they interact with? What type of language do they use online (e.g., slang, industry-specific acronyms, etc.)? It is estimated there will be more than 2.9 billion social media users by the end of 2020. Whether social media is key to your communications strategy or not, it’s necessary to have at least a basic presence for credibility.

When selecting social platforms for your nonprofit to participate on, remember that they are not all created equal. It’s important to pause before jumping in and first determine which channels are worth your time. Consider your audience, your goals, and the main reasons for your social presence. Are you educating your audience? Entertaining them? Both? Whatever the case, your personality elements should come across consistently on all chosen channels to build brand ownership and authenticity. 

A few additional quick tips:

  • Talk and communicate like a real human being—not an automated robot or stiff corporation. People trust and better connect with organizations that are able to interact or relate on their level. This means using common, colloquial dialogue and, if it makes sense for your organization, possibly humor or popular references. 
  • Make sure the majority of your activity involves conversations. Social platforms are meant to be two-way communication. No one wants to be constantly pitched or sold on a brand/organization. 
  • Be as concise as possible while still tapping into audience emotions. Many social platforms already limit the length of what you can say, but shorter is almost always better where possible. Quick, to the point, and hopefully the heartstrings. 

Social media can be a great place to meet your audience where they already spend a good portion of their time. If your organization is able to incorporate its brand personality into social communications, you’ll connect better with key audiences, solidify your place in people’s minds, and carve out a unique position. As you apply these ideas, always remember: it’s social media and people want to feel like there’s someone on the other end. Brand personality can help with that.

Ryan Gerhardt

Ryan Gerhardt is the Copy Director, Worker-Owner at Big Duck

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