Consistent messaging and brand image is very important online. But, sometimes in your social media, you might want to wander outside your brand. Maybe the latest political issue has you steamed and you want to engage in political debate. Or, maybe a new life passion is bubbling up inside you and the audience or persona you want to create from just don’t fit well into your current brand. What to do? Here are two different ways you can look at it:
Consider creating new a social media brand
If the new concept is wildly different than your current one, consider creating a completely new social media profile – your Twitter account, your Facebook fanpage, your branded blog, your Youtube channel. Create a different look, different feel, and different information to share.
Don’t attempt to fold in too many disparate ideas into one brand. The search engines don’t like it and your current fans will get confused or potentially offended. Managing multiple profiles takes a little effort, but it’s not too bad, especially if you have to do what you have to do. Love wants what it wants, so don’t be afraid to break out just because of a little extra work.
To help ensure that the two identities online don’t get crossed (like when the ultra conservative moms you cater to discover your 1-900 chat line), think it through a bit. For your social media profiles, list you’re a company rather than personal name on your accounts. For your branded website, choose private registration for the new domain so your Whois site info is not public or easily searchable. Be careful where you put your given name or perhaps create a proper legal pseudonym and use it instead.
Although somewhere your name may come up, it takes a lot of effort to find it. The goal here isn’t to be nefarious but to build in a little distance between your two personas. A determined person will figure it out, so pretty much realize that it’s only a speed bump but these steps will help.
Consider coming clean and living out loud
You can choose to navigate a change gradually and openly or even announce and leverage a radical one. You can use that announcement as a one time publicity stunt or to launch a formal re-branding PR campaign. If, for instance, you use yourname.com as your website and you want the final result of your change to still be the real you, then you have to decide how you are going to “come out” (so to speak).
The best way, generally speaking, to communicate an emotionally driven personal transformation, is to tell an emotionally charged story. People forgive and accept some of the most diverse ideas placed right next to each other when told through a sincere, human emotional story.
Take some time to craft your message, explain your choices without sounding patronizing or rationalizing, and drop the pander. Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. Have enough respect for your audience to let them decide instead of trying to manipulate them into thinking a certain way.
I don’t want you to believe that you won’t lose some (or even all) of your current audience, but you might be surprised. If you’ve been sincere, explained your situation, and left it to the audience to choose, you could end up with a very supportive fan base who is fascinated with the real you. That’s kinda cool, isn’t it?
What it gets down to is this – just do it.
Whether you’re graceful about it or not, ultimately it doesn’t matter. Don’t let what other people might think of you or the past success you’ve enjoyed be a barrier to you expressing yourself honestly and fully. Life is too long to live it halfheartedly. Go for it!
graphic by http://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joyosity/513351161/sizes/m/in/photostream/)