Use The Fog To Add Personality

Your replies and direct messages in the community exist in that foggy space between your company’s voice and your personality.

You have vague rules about how the company should speak, but no-one is paying too much attention. This presents an opportunity. Use that fog as a cover to push the boundary a little.

Add a little more humour and personality. Say the things you can’t say via the help center or FAQ. Mirror the tone of voice of your members.

And take a lot of screenshots of the positive response.

Prove how much adding a little personality improves the tone of discussion and sense of community. Get external validation for the approach before you try to push it internally. Post the screenshots on Reddit and pitch the story to press.

Without external validation, people will only see a legal/reputational risk. So work in the shadows to get that validation.


  1. Jordan Tompkins says:

    Great article, I’m wondering if this may relate to my lack of responses for the automated “introduce yourself” email I send out. When I send specific requests for discussion posts, I have about a 40% response rate, which is an interesting difference since in both cases I’m asking people to post to a discussion. I wonder how much of it has to do with personalization and how much of it has to do with feeling like I’m asking for something generic vs. asking because they’re an “expert”.

  2. Sarah Hawk says:

    I’d say a LOT.

    When I send out a personal note, I always make sure that I specify that it’s personal, or not system generated. That’s not always scalable though – sometimes you have to mass email. Rich is really good at writing persuasively. Next time you need to send something out, post it here first and we can call him in to help you refine it.

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