“I make leather armour.”

That’s a sentence I never expected to hear in this lifetime. In fact, until about 4:30 yesterday afternoon, I didn’t know what leather armour was. I din’t know that leather armour existed.

Leather armor, it turns out, is what you wear if you need to look like you just walked out of a medieval jousting tournament. If you work a desk job, that may not come up a whole lot, but it’s quite useful if you are making a movie or TV show about Ye Olde Lords and Ladies. There’s an even larger market of people who wear leather armour for LARP. (Live Action Role Playing — thanks James Dening for that translation.)

The armorer in question was one Julie Morrisroe of Cosmic Workshop in Manchester, England. Julie is a participant in the Web Fuelled Business program created by Doug Richard, for which I’ve developed the social media course. She’s already an active social media user with a lively Twitter presence, and she wanted to know how she could keep track of all her different social media activities.

No wonder social media works for Julie’s business. She’s in a defined and memorable niche, with customers who are hugely passionate about the part of their lives (role playing) that her products speak to.

If you feel like social media couldn’t possibly work as well in your organization, take a cue from Julie’s role-playing customers. When you create a Facebook page, or a Twitter account, or even a blog, you’re putting on a persona just as surely as if you were slipping into leather armour.

I’ll give you a moment to digest that image.

OK, still with me?

Here’s what I mean: yes, social media is all about authenticity — all about speaking to your audience in a sincere voice that feels human and immediate instead of organizational and message-boxed. But you still get to choose which sincere voice to use.  I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t have multiple facets to their personality, and that’s even more true of a company, agency or not-for-profit.

Leather purse by Cosmic Workshop

Leather purse by Cosmic Workshop

If you’re engaging with social media, you have the opportunity to decide which facet will represent you to a given audience.  That’s why, when an entrepreneur asked me today (and yesterday!)  if it’s ok to cross-post the same content to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I suggested it’s better to customize your content for each network. The whole value of engaging on multiple channels lies in the ability to calibrate your voice — the facet of your organization that you share with your online audience — to each network you join.

At the end of the day Julie gave me a lovely little purse she had made for herself the night before. This photo can’t do it justice, since it is made out of the nicest leather and manages to be both very pretty and very tough. It’s going to be the perfect container for my business cards, especially since it will allow me to reply to compliments with, “You like it? It was made for me by my leather armorer.”