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Let Your Personality Emerge in Business Communications

March 26, 2013, 07:00 AM

One of my colleagues wrote recently for our public relations agency’s blog, PR Buzz, about the need to find your voice in social media. It’s pertinent because new media channels (blogs, social platforms and digital newsletters) succeed with a more conversational style. This is challenging for those of us who honed our business acumen in a buttoned-down work culture.

I strived to remove personality in my own style to adapt to the pin-striped world of finance in the late ‘80s and ‘90s.  Now, with the Next Generation emerging to lead, I need to find a comfortable balance of old and new ways. Perhaps you are considering this too.

Our agency focuses on providing full-service public relations for our clients involved in the business of commercial finance. Therefore, we are developing strategies to meet business-to-business objectives, and our clients rely on us to help manage reputations. How do we do that, considering the inherent risks in such free and ever-changing open channels as Twitter and YouTube?

Some of the key considerations are the same as always: (1) Where is our desired audience? (2) What do they need that we can deliver? (3) What is the channel’s format? (4) What can we add of value?

Once such questions are addressed, we create stories to bridge our clients’ needs with the appropriate media and its audience. We can then focus on the most appropriate social media platforms to effectively reach our target audience. We study the discussions before joining them. We also need to consider repeating the same themes and messaging as are in other traditional channels, but in a social media style and format. Consistency, timing and repetition are good in PR and branding, but with consideration to the medium.

Of course, account settings need to be established to set parameters, and by this time our client has agreed internally upon certain media guidelines and limitations.

Facebook and Twitter are not for everyone in business, but we recommend that you reserve an account in your name for potential use in the future. Some equipment lessors with clients involved in manufacturing of consumer goods may need to be on Facebook -- if only to be easily found and to monitor customer interests.

Where are the equipment finance and leasing industry players? They’re on LinkedIn, with connections multiplying. According to data from comScore as reported in The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 28, 2013, there were at least 40 million unique visitors to this platform in the United States alone since August 2012.

In LinkedIn, you will discover more about people you know or want to meet for future engagements desired. You can easily build a community or create a group. Regularly post in your status window when you have valuable news that is appropriate for sharing. The bonus effect is the redistribution of your content by others.

Some 79% of LinkedIn users are 35 years or older, compared to only 55% over 35 on Twitter, according to Doubleclick Ad Planner (Google). The same source reports that the top two largest industry representations are high tech and finance.

My favorite social media tool is Twitter, even though I am well over 35 years old. That’s due to my career origins in journalism. As a reporter, I like the news feeds I can customize. These are rich in story fodder, as well as extremely timely and relevant to my areas of focus. Twitter posts take a minute or less to create. If you have a moment, please add your comments here or post to Susan Carol on twitter@scapr or

Susan Carol
Chief Executive Officer | Susan Carol Creative
Susan Carol is CEO of Susan Carol Creative, a full-service public relations and marketing communications firm based in Fredericksburg, VA. Since 1989, the agency has focused on the equipment leasing and finance industry.
Comments From Our Members

Bob Rinaldi • View APN Profile
Excllent article Susan! I must admit, that when it comes to Twitter, I feel like our parents felt about the internet. On the other hand I am a real advocate of LinkedIn. What a wonderful tool and social medium for people our age ( 37 right? ).
3.29.2013 @ 11:26 AM

R.J. Grimshaw • View APN Profile
This is spot on Susan. Twitter is a tool that can assist in cutting the noise in the marketplace. Every company has to get attention, and Facebook, twitter and other tools can be used in order to this. The #1 competitor is getting future partners attention. Keep up the great work. R.J.
4.1.2013 @ 5:37 PM

Susan Carol • View APN Profile
Thank you for your comments. You both have insight I value and I have enjoyed being able to capture what you share as well in our social media channels.
4.4.2013 @ 5:59 PM
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