10 Ways to Humanize Your Brand and Connect on Social Media 50

10 Ways to Humanize Your Brand and Connect on Social Media

This is a guest post by Amanda Soriano, a social media manager with over six years of experience on today’s top platforms. Building brands is her expertise and her favorite use for social media.

Social media is filled with opportunities to connect with your customers and grow your brand.

With billions of people accessing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, everything you need is at your fingertips. Of course, many brands simply place a logo on their page and never go past that step.

Today, I’m going to show you how to create a brand that people can empathize with. By humanizing your efforts, you can ultimately connect with your customers in meaningful ways that drive success for everyone involved.

10 Ways to Breathe New Life Into Your Brand on Social Media

You may be looking at your social media profiles and wondering why things aren’t better. You’ve been posting consistently, you have everything set up, so what’s going wrong?

It could very well be that people don’t see a brand they can trust or connect with. Instead, they see a brand they just wants to sell them something and move on.

There’s a spark of life that every brand needs to truly succeed. Let’s explore 10 ways to make that happen on your social media pages.

1. Be Authentic

be authentic with your brand

It all starts with an approach that feels real, because it is real. Authenticity is something that seems natural, but when you’re doing business, you need to consciously remember to do it.

Be completely honest with your customers and be transparent with how you speak to them.

Imagine that you’re great friends with them and engage them like you would one of your own friends. Don’t try to fluff things up and make yourself or your brand out to be more than it is. Be honest and real with everything you do.

2. Establish a Voice

Everything you do online contributes to your brand’s overall voice. Having a cohesive method of communicating with your followers on social media will go a long way towards building trust and loyalty.

I usually recommend that you start by choosing three words which describe your brand.

From there, elaborate on these terms and how they define your brand. Once you have a way of communicating, you simply need to make sure the rest of your tea is on board with the new standard.

Whether you’re constructing posts for the blog you started, or creating content for your social media pages, this voice will define the tone you take, the way you speak, and how you respond to, or answer, specific questions. Think of it as a compass for your brand, keeping you pointed towards true north.

3. Balance Automation With Hands-On Time

While I’m most certainly a supporter of social media management tools like Buffer, there’s a certain element that gets lost when you’re constantly scheduling everything ahead of time. Sometimes, the way you’re thinking or feeling in that current moment can add a spark to your posts that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

What this comes down to, is your ability to balance automated posts, with others that are written to order.

This is especially true if something is time sensitive. Think about how your experiences and your thoughts could change from the moment you want to schedule it, to the point where it goes live.

4. Engage in Conversation

Most businesses would kill for better engagement on social media, but many of them are letting opportunities slip right by.

Whether you fix this through monitoring tools, or you simply make more time to be present on social media, engaging in conversations with your audience on social media is an excellent way to humanize your brand.

It can be simple too. Something as small as a “thank you” when someone tweets positively about your brand is a great way to let customers know you’re listening and you appreciate them thinking about you.

5. Tickle Their Funny Bone

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Humor is powerful. It can bring down the walls that people build and help us connect much faster than being persistent or prodding with our approach. It’s important to be careful with how you approach humor, however. You want to make relevant jokes that are easy to understand, but you never want to make fun at someone else’s expense.

Zomato is an example of humor gone right. They leverage their brand to create fun and most importantly, funny images that they consistently post on their Facebook page.

By keeping the tone light and friendly, you can earn more engagement and keep your audience’s attention on your brand.

6. Own Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, even big brands. If you want people to look at you as more than a logo, you need to own up to your mistakes.

Acknowledge when something has gone wrong and admit your fault in it, if there is one. Make a promise, to yourself and to your audience, that it won’t happen again, and move on.

This ensures that your brand is open, honest, and willing to admit fault when something has gone wrong.

7. Keep Executives in The Loop (Or Don’t)

Allowing your executives to participate in social media is an all-or-nothing type of situation. If they don’t have an active role in your social media, it’s best not to let them post at all. The reason for this lies in the fact that they don’t have intimate knowledge of your brand’s established voice.

8. Tell Stories

Telling stories on social media is the simplest and most effective way to connect with your customers and humanize your brand. Always remember to put them at the center of the story and let them place themselves in the shoes of the main character.

Mix up your stories to include images, videos, and tie it all together by creating narratives that can customers can connect with.

9. Sign Posts With Your Name

This one is incredibly simple, but it goes a long way.

Give people a final reminder that your posts are written by human beings and not machines. You can do this very simply by having your people sign their names on messages they post on social media.

10. Be Surprising

Our final tip is to be spontaneous. Randomly give out free items, offer discounts, or just run a surprise promotion.

If you keep your audience on their toes, then they will have more reason to pay attention to you and your brand.

Final Thoughts

Social media is an incredible place to grow and build a business and humanize your brand, but it’s also a daunting place. If you follow these tips, you can bring more depth to your brand and better engage with your audience as a result.

How do you leverage social media for branding? Let us know in the comments!

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The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience 6

The Five Elements of Flawless Customer Experience

Providing a flawless customer experience is the ultimate goal for any business.

There’s a lot that goes into creating a customer experience that keeps your clients coming back for more. In fact, there’s so much involved that it can almost seem overwhelming.

However, providing a flawless customer experience becomes much easier when you approach the task through these five distinct elements:

Time
Understanding
Ownership of Emotions
The Unexpected
Follow-Through

Time

When it comes to your customers’ satisfaction, time is essential. Think of how a great experience at a new restaurant quickly sours if you’re left waiting for your food to arrive. Think of how your excitement over a great department store sale turns into frustration as you stand in line for what seems like hours.

Time is your most valuable resource and it is up to you to make sure you’re using your customers’ time wisely.

This is why restaurants have comfortable waiting areas with drinks and appetizers, or why airports have lounges with restaurants, shops, and even bars.

If your customers are being forced to wait for a service, make them feel as if their time spent is not wasted. The more positive drivers you offer customers, the less likely they are to grow dissatisfied with their experience.

Think of how you can implement this in your own business. Are there places where you can help fill customers’ time? Are there places where technology can be used to cut down on the time it takes to complete a task? Remember, it’s the customers’ time that should be valued, not your own.

Understanding

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You must understand what your customers want, when they want it, and how.

While this may seem daunting, getting a better understanding of your customers doesn’t take millions of dollars, complex data analytics, and a degree in psychology. Instead, all it takes is a simple look. Watch their process, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to them.  

How are customers interacting with your product? What’s the first thing they do when they enter your store? What’s the last thing they do before they leave? How long are they spending in each department? Do you notice anything that hampers their experience?

Take a look at your competitors. How are your potential customers interacting with them? What does this business offer that you don’t or vice versa? What is your, as Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen says, “job to be done?” What are your customers hiring your product or service to accomplish? Understand why your users are turning to your products.

Ownership of Emotions

Many companies have already taken hold of their customers’ emotions, though cynically. Subliminal advertising is a key example. However, the ownership of emotions does not have to be cynical. When used correctly, it can be the “holy grail” for companies.

Owning emotions begins with the aforementioned ability to understand. When you truly understand a customer’s choices and then act to make the experience better, you’re building a relationship of trust. That trust is the foundation of emotional ownership.

One way to build this trust is to reduce the “emotional” noise that surrounds your customers. Let them know that, even on their worst day, your business or product is there for them and that it will be a constant in their lives.

Think of restaurants and the long wait times you have to endure when they’re busy. Think of how angry—or “hangry”—you feel as you stand around, waiting for your table, and listening to your stomach growl. However, think of how some restaurants are able to reduce that emotional noise by serving you finger foods and drinks as you wait.

Also, seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers.

Why should they be motivated to visit your store or use your product? To feel confident? Free? Unique? Secure? Successful? Research shows that all human beings are motivated by one of those factors.

The Unexpected

Experiences become stronger and more memorable when they’re accompanied by an element of surprise. Surprise can be addictive, which will only keep your customers coming back for more.

Think about mailing your customers or clients small packages with gifts and swag. Everyone loves to get mail and everyone loves free stuff, especially when it’s least expected.

A surprise doesn’t have to be a huge flash mob (though it could be!). Hand out snacks at your store. Is it a cold day? Give your customers hot chocolate or warm punch. Is it a client’s birthday? Send a card! Even a small note of thanks for a customer’s business is a nice little surprise.

The most important thing to remember: simply be sincere and don’t become predictable. Chocolates on hotel pillows were once a great surprise for guests. However, now that their wow-factor has faded, hotels are continuously trying to get back to the “unexpected.”

Follow-Through

You’ve made promises and established goals. The only thing that’s left is to follow through on them. This starts with creating your mission statement, one that you, your employees, and your customers can commit to it. This will define your customer experience.

Your mission statement must promise to impact yourself/your business, the community, or the world. It may commit to impacting one, or all three. However, whatever it promises, you must follow through on. Your customers’ trust, and thus their experience, depends on it.

More about these five elements can be discovered in Unforgettable: Designing Customer Experiences that Stick, to be published in 2018.

***
Kyle H. David has made a career in technology and entrepreneurship for nearly 20 years. In 2001, he formed The Kyle David Group, now KDG. Over the past 16 years, KDG has grown at a rapid pace, attracting clients ranging from the United States Senate to major financial institutions, international nonprofits, and Division I universities.