Do I have to show my face on social media?

Do I Have to Show my Face on Social Media?

If you’re a brand owner, in a word – yes. Sharing your face, your personality and glimpses behind the scenes are what make consumers trust you. You started your company with a passion. Now you have to let others see that passion. Don’t be afraid to share a little slice of life with your customers. They will stop seeing you as a faceless corporation and start seeing the person (or people) behind the brand. If this is too much sharing for you, hire a community manager to be the face of your company.

The first time I heard the term, “community manager” when referred to social media management I pictured that warm, friendly landlord that always waves at you when you leave your apartment. After all, an online community manager seems so much more approachable in sharp contrast to the terms, “expert in social media” or “social media specialist.” If you have a consumer complaint or question, would you rather ask an expert or a specialist or a community manager?

While it’s rare that any major brand is not on Facebook or Twitter these days, brands are still seemingly represented by faceless voices. While a brand may respond to one of my tweets, isn’t it odd that there is still a disconnect between the consumer and the person that represents the brand? Isn’t the point of social media marketing to make things more targeted, more direct and more personal? Let’s examine the potential pros and cons of a social media specialist versus an online community manager. Is there even a difference?

Call any customer service line and you are greeted with, “Thank you for calling ___, My name is so and so…” or you enter a department store and every employee has on a name tag (sometimes with an additional tagline, I’m here to help!) My store receipt usually identifies the name of the cashier that just checked out my groceries. Even a particular cosmetics company I love stamps their products with a sticker identifying the person who packaged MY particular shower gel with their picture and their name! (It’s actually one of my favorite things about the company.) So why, in an age when we are using the most personal of online platforms to connect, market, advertise and eventually sell, are we not identifying who we are?

The few companies that I have seen utilizing this personalization of social media really caught my eye and I haven’t forgotten about them. For example, I know that I can go to Social Media Examiner’s Facebook page and ask Andrea a question and she will quickly respond to me. (I love that!) There’s something to be said for a consistent tone and “online voice” when it’s connected to one specific person – granted it’s the right tone. There’s also a promise of accountability with giving your name in a customer service oriented world. This makes accountability an essential key to superior customer service, both in person, on the phone or through social media platforms.

With this accountability is there also an equal danger of making ONE social media specialist’s face an online representative of a brand? After all, what if a consumer doesn’t like the social media specialist merely based on superficial factors? Most likely, the net gain of happy consumers will outweigh any negatives. Either way, if social media has become a front runner in the world of making customer service more personalized, it just doesn’t make sense that online brand representatives are not identifying themselves. If Facebook and Twitter are becoming a tool for more personable, targeted marketing – why is social media hiding behind the anonymity of the internet?