Online Personality

Who said you have to stand up and be proper all the time online? There is no rule book in the web space that states you have to operate your look and appearance like a fuddy-duddy. The web space is there for you to show your company personality and stick out amongst your sea of competitors. Give people a reason to want to come back and visit your website because they enjoyed their user experience. Sure you want to appeal to your target audience and make sure your efforts and branding make a connection with your visitors but there is no reason why you can let your company personality shine on the exterior. Companies who laugh and smile can also get the job done. Life is short and time flies so give your online audience a reason to want to learn more about your business.

Here are some ways you can show your personality online and tap into the fun side of your business:

Your Employees

Your employees can be a great resource when it comes to showcasing your companies fun & wild side. Some company’s encourage their employees to set up professional company Twitter accounts and tweet throughout the day, others will showcase their employees by taking photos of them and displaying them on the website. Sure there is risk by allowing your employees to have their own company Twitter handle but there is also reward if executed properly. If upper management has the personality of drift wood than dig into your staff to see if there is anyone that would be willing to step up to the plate and get creative online. At the very least you should be showcasing your company talent on a team page along with employee photos.

You know who does a good job of this? Rackspace.

RackspaceRackspace is one of the leaders in the cloud hosting market yet they put an image of a goofy employee laughing (I mean that with the most respect) on the home page, why? Because they are not scared to show their fun side. Even to a super technical business space like cloud hosting where many of the end users and decision makers will be IT managers and CTO’s they still have the guts to completely go against the norm of that particular space. This is an amazing approach in eyes. Is it a coincidence they are superior in their field? I won’t put all the success on personality but it sure does help a brand grow online.

Company Blog

A blog is the mega phone for a business to express themselves how ever they wish. It doesn’t have to be all rigid and informational all the time. You can position it to however you want. In between all those corporate blog posts try dropping in an image of a visitor that came to your office, or possibly something funny that happened during a meeting. If your audience does not value the fun side of your business than you don’t need them anyways. It is OK to smile and work.

Get Social!

Running a business online should be fun and enjoyable. Don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to how you market yourself and show your personality. The web space has no boundaries and you are free to be as social as you would like. Companies with some of the most successful online marketing approaches have very robust and extensive social media approaches. Communication is key and you can change the personality of your business overnight by how you communicate with your audience online.

A little quote from Inc. magazine on how they feel about this topic:

“Every business organization has a personality. There are many books and articles about it, but they all make the same statement: The business personality is what the company is about, made up of the firm’s mission and messages, values, environment, corporate culture, and its behavior under stress.

Small businesses and start-ups develop their personalities based on the founders’ and senior executives’ enthusiasm for the business and their drive for success. Their feelings of purpose and exuberance are passed on through direct interaction between senior executives, front-line employees, and customers. Everyone enjoys the thrill of actively working together to execute the company mission and even small successes energize the close-knit workforce.”

In my opinion having a fun and unique online personality will allow you to really strengthen your brand in the web space. Being unique is what allows websites to outshine their competition and these days the online space is all about branding. Years ago having website pages that ranked in the search engines was enough but today it is a different story. The start-up community is extremely active and there are some companies coming up very quick with very strong online personalities. The branding foundation they are building for themselves is worth its wight in gold.

If you are not sure what it means to be on the cloud well you are sitting on it as you read this. The cloud is really the ability to provide anything web based for others to use or collaborate on. As we make the shift from desktop applications and programs to everything being web based we are all leaving the security of our computer and giving all the wonderful people of the world the potential to see what you do online and what people have to say about you.

Years ago before the popularity of the internet you might have a negative article in a newspaper or magazine but once the new issue came out most people forgot about it. Not on the web. Reputation kind of went out the window when we all started posting every little thing we like and do online. Everybody seems to know everything about everyone now and I don’t think this is going to slow down a bit. As a business you really have to watch what you do and say online because almost nothing ever gets removed once it has been published by someone else. The web cloud has allowed us all to be connected 100% of our time and depending on who you are that could be a great thing, or it could be disastrous. The days of angry clients and disgruntled ex-employees just going away are no longer around. The cloud has given anyone that might usually be quite a platform for a voice that can be heard across the world and all it takes a few minutes on a couple of websites and your business can be in for some pain.

Depending on how bad a situation can be cleaning up your image online can take a great deal of time or it can be quick. Either way it takes some effort to make things right again. The great thing about a business trying to make their mark on the cloud is that you also have the opportunity to put up a nice barrier before it happens. This doesn’t mean that you are necessarily anticipating any negative information finding its way into the search results about you it just means that in case it should happen you can build a wall or buffer to soften the blow a bit.

Some things you can do to build a barrier for yourself online:

  • Launch many business profiles
  • Launch PR surrounding your business name
  • Launch all social networking profiles
  • Use social networking profiles daily
  • Release company videos on all video sharing sites using your company name often in titles & descriptions
  • Write strategic quality articles
  • Launch a blog on your website and actually write in it

These are just some of the ways you can get started. Remember that this could also kill two birds with one stone if you do it right. Most of these areas have some sort of possibility for link placement so don’t forget to drop a link into anything you do online.