A successful online persona makes a brand recognizable and appealing. When you’re crafting yours, social media is your best friend — but it can be hard to push through the abundant online chatter. Today’s guest is Danny Aller, the man behind the social media for the Florida Bar and the Tallahassee Beer Society. He’ll be sharing how he navigates through two very different online personas and how to find a voice that’s right for your audience.
Links & Resources
Episode 1.1 – Danny Aller
In the age of social media, celebrities and pundits aren’t the only ones who can craft a captivating quip in 280 characters or less. Brands are tapping into the power of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to cultivate a winning persona. The potential that social media holds is staggering — it can dictate whether something gets catapulted into viral fame or remains stuck in Internet anonymity forever.
For brands seeking to get their voices heard over the online chatter, a recognizable social persona can be a game-changer. But it’s no easy task. Messages need to be timely, concise, consistent and interesting. They need to pique the interests of their target audiences enough to engage them in the conversation.
And every audience is different. For fast-food restaurants, their wit has to be as quick as their food. Just ask Wendy’s. The company’s confidence is largely due to its ability to pin down a style that customers relate to and respond to.
You may have watched the infamous chicken sandwich feud go down on Twitter. It all started when Chick-Fil-A tweeted about having the original beloved chicken sandwich, sparking responses from other restaurants, but it quickly turned into a face-off between Wendy’s and Popeyes.
Striking the right chord on Twitter means understanding your audience, developing a consistent personality, and copping a tone that engages and maybe even provokes. OK, that’s one thing if you’re a fast-food restaurant. But, what if your brand is a little straight-laced? Well, that’s no excuse to check your creativity at the door.
The Florida Bar is a perfect example of a buttoned-up brand that’s figured out how to have just the right amount of fun on social media. From posts intended to gently gig bar associations in other states, like this tweet: We’re not saying the Florida Supreme Court is the most GORGEOUS Supreme Court in America. But we’re also not saying it’s not. To legal humor. To cat photos for a good cause…
The Florida Bar seems to have struck just the right balance. Their audience is a more mature and serious crowd that won’t be fighting each other over sandwiches (unless it’s in court). The Bar has concocted a delicate social blend that’s conversational yet informative, professional yet fun to share.
Today, we’re speaking with the person behind this persona and more, Danny Aller.
Hello, and thank you for joining Ubben talkin’. I’m your host, Michelle Ubben, and today we’re discussing the keys to an engaging and newsworthy social media presence. What do you say? To Whom? How often? And most importantly, when can you be funny?
Later we will be speaking with Danny Aller, Public Information Specialist for the Florida Bar and one of the founders of the Tallahassee Beer Society, about how any brand can engage audiences and create a winning social persona.
Hey, thanks for having me.
Danny, when it comes to social media, you have a foot into very different worlds with The Florida Bar and the Tallahassee Beer Society. I take it those are two very different personas.
Yeah, definitely. It’s definitely more of a professional setting in The Florida Bar, but they give me a lot of freedom to have fun with it. Be social, I guess is the best way to describe it. It’s taken the bar from seeming like their big brother and they only want to talk to you when you’re in trouble to, “Hey, we’re here to be able to reach out to us for anything, for resources, for information.” Some humor occasionally here and there. And then obviously with the Tallahassee Beer Society, it’s a lot of humor all the time and a lot about beer at the same time. So two very different worlds.
The bar’s social media has really become the gold standard for bar associations around the country.
Yeah, thank you, I appreciate it.
What’s made it so successful in your view?
I just think the interaction in general. Being able to communicate with your members. One of the reasons they hired somebody to manage the social media full time in 2014 was they felt like they weren’t reaching a big section of their members. And so the communications committee got together and said, “Where are we missing them at? Where they’re not opening the emails, they’re not getting the newsletters, they’re not reading the newspaper. Where are they getting their information from?” And almost unanimously it was social media. So really props to them for being forward thinking. They were one of the first bars in the country to have a full-time social media person. A lot of bars have fallen in line since then. And I think just in general, being able to have a relatable voice and tone with how you talk to people about the different things going on in the bar. You can’t just beat him over the head with CLE’s and news all the time. You have to mix up the content. Which is really the key to our success I think.
Okay. Let’s talk about some of your most successful posts. I love the email like it will one day be read in a deposition.
Boy, isn’t that the truth?
It really is. Yeah. That hit a nerve, I think with people. It’s a meme that’s been out there for a while. And it’s a very like legal word of wisdom, I guess so to speak. But at the same time it’s also kind of funny.
Well and then hashtag lawyers are the coolest.
Right? Absolutely. That was a big one for sure. We had a lawyer in Miami that helped get the Rolling Stones to go play down in Cuba, which was no small feat. He paid for the entire thing, set the whole thing up. And when we read the story, I just came up with a hashtag off the top of my head with, “This is really cool. Lawyers are the coolest.” And it just took off. So even to this day, if you go search lawyers are the coolest, you’ll still see people still using that hashtag on a regular basis, that spread all over the world. We had lawyers in the Philippines, and Japan, and across the pond over in Europe that were using it. And if you trace it back to the very, very beginning of it, it all started with us.
And then Love Your Lawyer Day actually landed you in the Wall Street Journal. Right?
And props to the lawyer in Broward County who got this going. He runs the Association for Lawyers Public Image. And basically what he does is he tries to promote really, really good positive stories about what lawyers are doing out there. And this was something that he started many, many years ago. It took somebody like us and social media to pick up on it and help get it out there. And now it’s really, really big. If you search social media on November 1st, from that hashtag you’ll find a lot of from Love Your Lawyer Day.
Well, I can think of a few lawyers I love.
So I’m going to have to let them know today.
Absolutely. I’m sure The Florida Bar appreciates that.
You raise a good point about humor. You really need a certain amount of humor to engage your audience, especially younger audiences. But I think probably everybody.
And it’s easy for a very buttoned-up organization like The Florida Bar to avoid humor.
To feel like it’s not fitting for the brand. So how do you find that line?
If you’re hesitating at all, you should probably ask somebody at a pay grade above you just to make that call for you to make sure that it’s okay that you’re on the right track. And I’ve done that a few times where I’ve been like, “No. I think this is a little bit, a little too edgy or whatever it is.” And I think that when you’re able to find that fine line people then expect a good level of humor throughout the content. And so we post legal humor on Mondays and Fridays. When we first started out, we were doing legal humor all the time. And I think it probably, we ran through the gamut of all the legal humor cartoons out there. So it was like we’d run out of stuff to do.
At least they were appropriate ones.
Right, right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
Have you ever had any members complain that anything crossed a line? Or offended them?
Oh yeah, oh yeah occasionally. I think when we first started out, people were definitely not ready for us to be like out there and talking to them the way that we were talking to them. They felt like as a professional organization, we needed to just be as boring as possible. There was a writer who worked for Above the Law, who wrote a story very, very early on, calling out the bars that were stodgy and boring. And he was more or less saying, “Don’t be stodgy and boring. And here’s the bars that aren’t being stodgy and boring.” And when we were one of them, also the New York Bar, also The American Bar Association, they’ve all picked up on what we’re putting down, so to speak. And everybody’s social media game has raised levels in the last a couple of years.
Now let’s take a quick break to hear from our sponsor.
Your brand is so much more than a logo. It’s your customer’s first impression — the full experience you give your audience. It’s what makes you memorable. To tap into your maximum branding potential, check out sachsmedia.com.
Let’s talk about the differences between how you use Facebook versus Twitter versus Pinterest.
Membership of The Florida Bar, they’re mostly using Facebook and Twitter, The Florida Bar knows that. So we put a lot of emphasis on that. So our strategy is if we’re going to put it on Facebook, then we’re going to use it, I usually put it on Twitter as well. And if we find it on Twitter, we’ll try to move it over to Facebook at the same time. We also limit ourselves to a certain number of posts per day to try to not overdo it, not under-do it at the same time, trying to hit that sweet spot of around between 13 and 17 posts a day.
And the visuals are important.
Right, absolutely. Yeah. Instagram and Pinterest as well, very image-driven for sure. If you don’t have a good photo for Instagram, you can’t even make a post. And Pinterest is the same thing. You’ve got to have a visual for some board there.
So I noticed that you promoted a lot of engagement around the prettiest courthouse.
That was a natural to-
It’s a great board, yeah, absolutely.
… get people posting their favorites.
To get engagement across state lines.
Talk to me about that a little bit.
Well, anytime you can tap into other states and get them to engage back and forth with you, it’s always good. We have a lot of out-of-state members of The Florida Bar that are living in these states as well. They see their home bar engaging with their other bar that they’re licensed in or their other state that they’re licensed in. And it’s just a great way to go back and forth between the bars. We all have a really good relationship. And you can actually get really good content from them. Even though a lot of their stuff is state-specific, if they’re talking about professionalism, if they’re talking about Fastcase or some program that goes across state lines it’s one of those things that you can engage with them and also share their content as well.
That’s a good point because I think one thing that people find so daunting is coming up with enough-
… content to really make a commitment to social media.
And you’ve done a great job of repurposing other content-
… putting a new-
… caption on it. Just today I noticed the New York Times quoted Florida Bar News about president Trump changing his residency to Florida.
What mix of original content versus repurposed content do you have?
I would say it’s probably 75/25 for original content. We try to-
Yeah, I would say so. Yeah. Majority we try to repackage things off of Twitter, maybe screenshot a tweet. We have our bar news stories that we post a couple of times a day. We also have the legal humor as well. We have photos from events and things like that. We try to only share from other voluntary bars in our sections and divisions. So if we see something on a personal page that we think would be good for the bar, we can always reach out to that person and say, “Hey, would you mind if we use this photo? And give you credit and make our own post out of it?” People are always willing to do that. But the shared posts as again, go back to the Facebook algorithm, shared posts don’t do as well as the original content. So for anybody who’s listening out there, if you can repurpose opposed to make your own post, it’s a much more effective than just sharing a post. You’re only going to get certain posts that are going to go viral, I would say if you share it because it’s already a really good story on their page. That’s the only exception. Otherwise it’s always really good to try to make your own content.
Well, that gets to the power of a caption to promote engagement.
Not to call it click bait, but what you title something really does matter.
Right. And emojis are important. Don’t let anybody tell you emojis aren’t important. They get attention, they stand out. Facebook likes them. They’ll make sure that the posts gets seen. Even if it’s just a smiley face or the sunglasses or the flexing muscle or whatever it is. Try to use an emoji if you can in the middle. If you’re talking about rain or snow, throw the rain or the snow one in there, it’s an eye catcher. So I tell people all the time, when I speak at these events about social media, “You’re competing for people’s attention in the scroll at all times. So you’ve got to have stuff that”-
Which is as short as a goldfish, right?
Absolutely, 100%. So you’ve got to have stuff that stands out. You’ve got to have a strong image, you got to have a strong caption. And again, emojis help it separate it from the gray blocky letters where people were just writing and rambling on.
Okay folks, if The Florida Bar can use emojis-
That’s right. Everybody can use them, right.
Everybody can use emojis. I noticed one of your captions was, it’s fine if all 107,000 Florida Bar members don’t take the time to read this important article about how your law firm can avoid being scammed but it’d be a lot cooler if you did.
That’s right, absolutely. And most people will get that. That’s from the Dazed and Confused movie back in the day. I think everybody, a lot of people will get that line. It’s a pretty famous movie line. And we use those, I might use that line a couple of times a year. Don’t be scared to repeat yourself. If something works one time, don’t do it the next day, but wait a few weeks, maybe a month, a couple of months like that, come back with another caption. So it’s like a catalog of these captions that you keep in your head that you know which ones that work, you know which ones, where it’s affective at. And you know how it’ll garner the most interest.
So hashtag just adulting, can I say as the mother of an 18 year old, how much I appreciate The Florida Bar’s-
… award winning app?
Where was that around whenever I was coming up is what I want to know.
Oh my goodness it-
It’s an amazing resource.
So talk about what that is a little bit.
It’s basically, it’s a self help guide for anyone who’s about to become a legal adult here in Florida. You’re 16, 17. Maybe you’ve just turned 18 or you’re 19 and you’re still clueless and you don’t have an idea of how things work. Which happens a lot with 19 year olds. I can attest to that. It’s like a one stop shop for where do you go to change your residency if you’re moving? It helps you with understand laws. Like what is the underage drinking law? What can be the fines? Things like that. It’s just really a good spot to educate young adults or people who are about to be young adults.
Yeah. Driving my son to leave him at college is like-
… “What are all the things I haven’t thought to tell him now that you’re 18 years old?”
Right yeah. Just give him the Just Adulting website. Tell him to review it once a day and there’ll be a test.
That’s right. I’ll just tag him.
Okay. So you work for the bar?
And you tweet for and speak for the Tallahassee Beer Society.
You can have a little confusion there about what bar you’re talking about.
Right, yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah. So the beer society, we founded it in 2017, me and a couple of other guys. And it’s just been, we act like the megaphone for the craft beer scene. We want everyone to know around the state and the country, how good the craft beer is here. We truly believe it. It’s been rewarding. And it’s also been great to see people say, “You guys make the beer in Tallahassee look so great. I got to come there and try it at some point.”
It’s great for the city.
So give me your favorite one or two social posts that you’ve done for the beer society?
We had a little feud, probably not as professional as like the feuds we have on the bar. We had a little feud with Natural Light. They came out with a Naturdays, and we thought it was a terrible beer. It was an obvious attempt to try to sneak into the craft beer, do a strawberry lemonade, terrible version of their beer. And so we just were clowning it quite a bit and talking about it on social media until they finally noticed and decided to say something back. And then we came back at them and it took off from there. People wrote about it in blogs, our followers jumped all over Natural Light of course and pounded them for a while. They’ve got hundreds of thousands of followers. So we’re very small potatoes. So the fact they even responded to us was like-
It’s a compliment.
… “All right, we got under their skin a little bit there.” Yeah. So that one’s good. And then really any of the bottle share, we do a charity fundraiser we try to do on every month, pick a different charity, different host. And we have people come out, donate money, share some beers at the same time. Those always get a lot of traction. And we arrange safe rides, we arrange food, things like that. So we try to make sure it’s done really, really professionally, I guess, so to speak. As professionally as a beer society can be, right?
Well, Danny, thank you so much for being with us today.
Absolutely, thanks for having me.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom about social media.
Yeah, for sure.
Today, Ubben talking social media with my guest Danny Aller from the Florida Bar and the Tallahassee Beer Society. If you want to read more about our conversation, visit sachsmedia.com/podcast, and make sure to subscribe for more episodes on communication breakthroughs in unexpected places.