Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses to take advantage of.
With over 3.6 billion social media users worldwide in 2020, its reach is rivalled by no other. Used right, social media is an inexpensive way to communicate and connect with your audience. And by doing that, you’re building customer loyalty and strengthening life-long relationships.
Data by Adzooma shows that:
- 35% of people follow between 0-5 brands on social media
- 19.8% of people follow between 5-10 brands on social media
- 15% of people follow between 15-20 brands on social media
- 14.7% of people follow over 20 brands on social media
Overall, 84.5% of people follow at least one brand on social media.
However, social media’s gigantic reach is also its downfall. With so much noise and competition, it’s nearly impossible for brands to stand out.
The Wendy’s Effect
One way for brands to be noticed on social media is to try and shout louder than the rest, gaining popularity for generating a brand personality, such as the likes of Wendy’s. With a sarcastic tone and razor-sharp claws that aren’t afraid to attack their competitors, Wendy’s have gained 3.7 million loyal followers on Twitter. What’s more, in the first year of implementing this strategy, they also experienced a 49.7% growth in profit from $129.6 million to $194 million — that’s a total of $64 million in profit.
Not something to be scoffed at.
Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
In order to replicate this level of success, many companies have also tried to develop a strong brand personality across their social media profiles. It’s why you’ll get companies posting jokes about their own product and replying to insults from customers with language like “you coulda been worded better”. Or seeing a dictionary post a rude reply to someone who didn’t know ‘funner’ was already a real word in the dictionary.
Even the Museum of Royal Life turned a picture of a cow into a meme about eating too many roast potatoes. And it’s complete with tear animations. Yeah, social media is a weird thing to explain.
But how successful is this approach?
More than half of customers have unfollowed brands with strong personalities
Recent research from Adzooma shows that 55.7 percent of people have unfollowed brands for the way they’ve spoken online.55.7% of people have unfollowed brands for the way they’ve spoken online. Click To Tweet
Having a strong personality may be a winner for companies like Wendy’s, but it’s not a hit for everyone. The reason for this is because there is no one personality that will be an immediate hit for everyone.
You may get attention for being bold and sarcastic, but if your customers hate it, they’ll leave.
When asked what personality people preferred brands to speak in:
- 35.1% of people said a friendly and conversational way
- 13.1% of people said a professional tone
- 13.1% of people said a fun or ‘quirky’ tone
- 2.4% of people said a sarcastic tone
Although a friendly and conversational tone takes the lead here, you can clearly see there’s no one favorite that’s loved by all.
Strong personalities can increase sales
Using a strong personality online should come with the warning that you can lose customers who don’t connect with the personality. But, with any risk, there’s also a great reward for those that pull it off.
The same study shows that 57.5 percent of people are more likely to purchase from a brand with a strong personality.57.5% of people are more likely to purchase from a brand with a strong personality.Click To Tweet
Nearly 30 percent of people have said that they wouldn’t be influenced either way, and just 12.7 percent of people have said they would be less likely to buy from brands with a strong personality.
This is because brand personalities don’t just help a brand stand out, they can also increase recognition by giving customers a unique way to remember them. In addition, personalities are a way to break the ice by humanizing brands and making them easier for people to talk to. The more people talk to and engage with a brand, the more they’ll remember it. So, when the time comes to buy, there’s only one name on their mind.
To use a brand personality or not
As shown earlier, there’s no one personality that works for everyone. So, before you make the decision it’s important to consider what works for your brand and what your customers will resonate with.
If you’ve got an audience base of 40-60-year-old professionals looking for post-retirement investments, you don’t want to use a sarcastic or joking tone that insults people.
However, if you choose not to use a personality at all online, you’ll find it difficult to connect with customers. The stronger you go, the more chance you have of losing followers. But, the ones that stick around will be more likely to remember your brand and buy from you.