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In an era of social media saturation, it's not enough to put pretty content out there and wait for the followers to come. Being proactive, showing personality, and joining conversations are what set smart brands apart (and allow them to go viral). How can brands show a little personality while still remaining professional and polished?

Don't be afraid to be a bit cheeky. After Balenciaga released a $2,145 blue bag, that many noted looked a lot like the $0.99 Frakta shopping bag from Ikea, Ikea released a tongue-in-cheek ad advising shoppers how they could tell the difference between the two bags. This ad has received a ton of positive attention on social and in digital media. 

Jump in on conversations. Recently, a tweet went viral after UK-based Lizzy Fenton sent a PowerPoint to her crush outlining all the reasons why he should date her. Microsoft joined the Twitter conversation, pointing out one character trait she forgot to include, that she is, "pretty dang great at PowerPoint." This is a great example of a brand joining a conversation in a funny and relevant way, with minimal effort required.

Have consistent spokespeople. This doesn't have to be an expensive celebrity or influencer. In fact, many of the most successful spokespeople work directly for the brand. Head office staff at Tarte Cosmetics routinely post makeup tutorials and how-to videos on Instagram Live. This consistent rotation of faces creates trust between the spokesperson and its customers, while these spokespeople build their credibility as subject-matter experts.

Show the behind-the-scenes. Giving behind-the-scenes access allows loyal fans to feel close to the brand. Everlane, the fashion brand, does a good job of this. On their Instagram, they show what is happening at their head office and factory, simultaneously showing off their trendy office space. They also host Transparency Tuesday on Instagram Live, where customers can ask questions and head office staff will answer them. This is a great way for engaged fans to feel more connected to the brand and the people producing their products.

How does your brand show personality?

- Larissa Dundon