There’s always a face behind every social media account.
Sometimes that “face” is a group of people running the Burger King account and using an app like Buffer. With a large corporation, it might be an entire social media marketing team scheduling posts. Yet, to the follower, there’s a vague sense that “someone” is posting, due to the personal nature of social media.
Over the last 10 years, we’ve accepted a few things about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other apps. We know it’s not as personal as we think it is, and there’s widespread trolling and misinformation on these platforms.
Some of us holdouts (myself included) still think social media can become an avenue for education, reform, and real connection with other humans.
Brands that tap into the personal nature of social media, such as Wendy’s and Burger King, know that we like to think there’s a real person behind every account.
That’s why, one trend I’m seeing for 2022 is that companies will start personalizing accounts by hiring a social media correspondent.
Think of this person as the actual face of your brand, someone with a personality who might sign-off on posts with his or her name. It’s somewhat common on Facebook, where you might see “the brand” reply to a comment or message and include a personal note and sign-off about who actually answered. (For example, for a brand like Target, you might see a comment and then a name like Samantha.)
In 2022, a social correspondent will take things much further. An example of this is the game show Wheel of Fortune, where a new social correspondent has a famous last name. Maggie Sajak started this last November as a Social Correspondent and will be interviewing the hosts, revealing a few backstage secrets, and hamming it up just like her dad, Pat. The difference is that this will all occur on social media channels, not on the television show. Here’s how they introduced her:
Maggie is a country singer as well, and there was that one time when Vanna White hosted the show and Maggie took over the role as a letter turner.
Having her focus on social media is a brilliant move, because fans of the show now have a concierge who can reply, comment, and engage with followers in a way that seems more genuine. That said, I suspect even with Maggie Sajak in this role, there’s still a social media team that handles the scheduling.
A correspondent is similar to a reporter for a television station, or maybe a better example is a spokesperson like Flo from the Progressive commercials.
You might not be ready to hire someone who is the face of your brand quite yet, but as social media continues to evolve and grow, it will be smart to explore the idea of offering followers a specific point of contact for interactions, someone who will address their needs. This same person can also conduct interviews, write blogs, and even show up at events.
The reason it works so well is that we have all experienced the robotic nature of social media, where it seems like an algorithm is running things. In some cases, that’s exactly true. Companies use bots to auto-respond to requests.
My hope is that, if the role of social media correspondent becomes more common, trolling will subside a little and we’ll start adding a dose of respect once in a while. It’s easy to get mad at a bot, but maybe not when there’s a real person involved.