Should you fake your personality in PR?

Every PR pro knows this feeling: You have to post something on social media or write up a press release and you have a moment where you wonder about the tone you’re using.

You start to wonder if it’s the right one for the business or if you should change it up. After all, just because you use that tone regularly, it doesn’t mean your business should.

But is this a wise choice? Should you fake your public relations personality, or is it better to stick with reality?

There are pros and cons to both. You want the best for your business and the right direction could lie in this very question.

Everyone fakes it

In all honesty, basically everyone in the PR business fakes his or her personality online. Even if it’s your business, you’re the only one representing it, and it’s 100 percent aligned with your values, you’re still going to use different language than you usually do.

You might as well embrace it. After all, your customers may like you, but they still want your branding to feel like a business. If it’s too personal, people might actually think your business is more of a hobby. You could have a million sales but the branding makes it look like you’re not taking it seriously.

Another danger of treating your PR as a full extension of yourself is the possibility of letting it become too personal.

For example, I’ve run across company Twitter accounts that shared inappropriate updates, which left me wondering why it was allowed to go through. They used the exact same language they did on their personal account, and because of that, they let some non-business tweets get published.

Posting and writing as a business just puts you into that professional state of mind. You know it’s time to get serious and represent an entity rather than yourself. Simply using different language and tone can help you get into this zone.

Keep it real

On the other hand, you have businesses that don’t really seem to grasp the concept of public relations.

In the end, you want to connect with your customers by any means necessary. If that involves not acting “stiff” or being looser than you are with your tone, so be it. Do whatever it takes.

For example, just because you’re an office supply company doesn’t mean that you have to take a strictly professional tone. You may discover your customers like a less formal tone and happier overall personality. You may not like it, but it’s the reality; if you reject it, you could eventually chase away customers.

On top of that, customers appreciate when a business comes off as “real” rather than phony. While you probably don’t want to tweet like you’re running a personal account as detailed above, some authenticity goes a long way.

Your fans will appreciate that your business doesn’t come off as yet another corporate entity. This will also make them feel like they can talk to you openly, creating a more authentic relationship.

About the author

Michael O’Connor is a partner at Grey Sergeant and specialises in marketing communications and PR in the consumer and B2B sectors. Grey Sergeant provides strategic advice and planning and promotes businesses through integrated marketing, PR, media relations, social media, digital marketing and events. For more information please contact michael.oconnor@greysergeant.com