You’re a star. No, really, I mean it. You are the star of your company’s online communications – or at least you should be.

    I’m running a series of workshops at the upcoming Illuminate events and I’ll spend most of my time making this case. I’ll argue that, for financial advice firms, the personal profile building their advisers are doing individually online is at least as important as the corporate communications being dished out from the centre.

    There is a simple reason for that. The best asset in a company is not its name, important though this might be. Nor is it the logo, even if this is highly recognisable. No, it’s the people.

     It’s all about people – that’s why they call it ‘social’ media

    Advice firms that embrace the human beings that make them so compelling – the kind, clever, funny, energetic, empathetic experts they employ – are much more successful at communicating than others.  So both types of profile building – corporate and personal – are essential.

    A good way to get your head round this is to compare the usefulness of a company’s corporate Twitter account to the accounts of the employees who are representing it online.

    Corporate accounts

    These are nearly always faceless and have the name of the company as the Twitter handle. Their value is in increasing brand name and visual identity recognition and so they draw a very strong line between the message in a tweet and the brand that tweeted it.

    These types of account are really useful for issuing corporate information and updates on products and services but research shows that they’re not great at engagement. This is simply because the “social” aspect of social media hinges on people relating to people, trusting them, depending on them for advice. People on Twitter want familiarity and a face they know and trust. It’s extremely difficult to build this relationship with a logo. Like Toto in the Wizard of Oz, you instinctively want to peek behind the curtain and see who’s pulling the levers.

    Face avatar

    Faces facilitate authentic conversation that, in a business setting, can to lead to valuable connections. These types of accounts are good at forming a human layer of engagement in any financial advice firm.  But they’re not great at communicating that the Twitter user is associated with a specific company or brand. This chap, for example, is from Virgin, although you might not know it glancing at his account. Without a company logo, a face can appear to be one in a sea of millions.

    As you can see, there are pros and cons for both types of Twitter identity for a business. And the simplest way to get the best of both worlds is to do both.

    The example I’ve used here is focused on Twitter but the principle carries across social media and in the Illuminate sessions, I’ll be taking you through techniques to build your personal profile as a financial adviser in a way that works for both you and your business.

    In the meantime, follow @michael_taggart to help me build my own personal profile!

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