Should Your Marketing Be “Personal” or “Corporate”?

Marketing and networking is often thought of like public speaking: many people loathe doing it.

It’s understandable: we’d rather do what we DO rather than talk about what we do. I think a lot of people think: “Wait, you want me to be an Entertainer? On social media? That’s not what I do.”

I think this is one reason why so many people want the “marketing person” or the “company/firm” or the “social media guru” to do the marketing work for them – sharing something online, writing a blog, and so forth.

But should marketing be personal? Where the managing partner or CEO, for example, takes a lead role in the message?

Meaning: Should YOUR name and personality and “voice” be leading or joining the efforts instead of letting the firm do all the work?

Case after case says that the answer to this question is YES. A marketing message tends to be more effective when real people present the message.

For example:

  1. In SEO: Do you want to rank higher in online search results? Google’s new algorithmic standards now include what they call “Experience.” (See Google’s revised “E-E-A-T” guidelines.) In other words, if a real person’s experience of being an expert is expressed in online content, all things being equal, their content will rank higher than content from a faceless institution.
  2. Reputation: Positive referrals and online reviews that truly make a difference normally focus on a person’s experience of working with an actual person or team of people. That’s a competitive advantage over human-less competition.
  3. Selfies Simply Work: I’m not saying you have to go “Selfie crazy” in your online content, but it’s now a given that sharing content that includes real human beings in photos earns more impressions (appearances) and higher engagement (likes, comments, shares) than content using impersonal stock photography.
  4. Public Relations: Even in media relations, reporters and writers find it easier to write about an issue when they can weave the issue into stories about real people.
  5. On Social Media: Apple’s X/Twitter account has 9.7 million followers. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s account has 14.3 million followers. In so many cases, the head of an organization has a greater social media following (or engagement) than their own organization. No, this stat isn’t a given for every corporate leader. The person has to commit to engaging on a platform. But if this happens, time and time again people would prefer to follow the Person rather than the Organization.

The bottom line: Personalizing your expertise is more important now than ever. This might be dismaying to some, but in a world “threatened” by AI, I find it a bit refreshing.

After all, most people don’t remember the names of Ben Franklin’s actual business ventures. They remember Ben Franklin.

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