We know brands aren’t people, yet humanizing your brand is essentially a requirement for social media survival for brands today. Why? People want to do business with other people they like and trust—deliberate emphasis on people. Humanizing your brand, or basically reminding potential customers you have real people behind your brand, is just one way you can begin to earn that trust.
Here are a few tips to get your brand acting more human on social media:
Change How You Think About Connections
Before you can make a real change in how human your brand appears on social media, you need to take a step back and think carefully about how you perceive your connections. Do you merely count them as “Likes” or followers? Or do you see them as human beings and potential customers? Before you can make any real progress in humanizing your brand on social media, you need to see them as the latter.
Take Those Other Numbers with a Grain of Salt
Now that you’re thinking differently about your social connections, it’s time to think differently about your social influence. Klout, Kred, Peer Index and other influencer scores can be a good indication of your brand’s online reach, but they are not the only representation of your influence. “I know many executives who have a low score who are far more influential than the self-proclaimed social media expert down the road with a high score,” Pam Moore says in her blog post Talk Human to Me: 20 Tips to Humanize Your Brand. “If you do the right thing with a focus on your audience, your scores are going to increase organically.”
Emphasize Your Brand’s Personality
Your marketing team should have developed a brand personality right along with a brand persona before beginning any type of social media interaction. If you haven’t yet developed a persona or personality, get to it! Sit down with company leaders and marketing and sales teams to determine if your brand’s current tone is on the money.
If you’ve already developed a brand personality, let it shine! Witty and slightly sarcastic brands tend to be popular, but more serious brands can excel on social media, too.
Ask Yourself, “What Annoys Me?”
I’ll admit it’s difficult for me to take off my social media marketer hat after work hours. I vent my frustration any time my Pages Manager app alerts me that a Facebook user complained about a client’s ad in his News Feed because I understand why the ad appeared on his profile, even if he doesn’t. But then I have to take a step back and put myself in his shoes. Brand ads really can be annoying, even if I’ve liked similar product/services.
So honestly ask yourself: What annoys me in social media? It doesn’t have to involve Facebook ads or Promoted Tweets—it could be meaningless “How was everyone’s weekend?” posts. Eliminating your biggest nuisances from your social media strategy is one great way to prove there are humans behind the brand.
Showcase Your People
Allowing the people behind the brand to do the talking is one of the best ways to ensure your brand is successful in social media nowadays. You can showcase your people in a number of ways, including electing an employee to officially represent the brand, asking employees to tag themselves on brand replies or asking employees to use their personal accounts to represent you. You can even share behind-the-scenes photos from around the office! The more you allow social media contact to connect with your brand's people, the easier it will be to build and nurture relationships.
Humans enjoy two-way conversation. Scheduling every tweet or post, then periodically checking for engagement is not two-way conversation, and your audience knows it. You should never sign up for brand social media profiles if you don’t plan to be available, and you should plan to offer your connections more than brand marketing messages. Download our free social media case study to help determine the type of content your brand should be sharing.
Have a Plan, But Be Prepared to Steer Off Course
Preparing an editorial calendar is an efficient and effective way to ensure you’re keeping your brand’s content balanced. That being said, an editorial calendar is really more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules, and rules are made to be broken. (Props to any readers who can name the movie reference!) If breaking news happens, or you noticed your analytics take a nosedive every time you link to a certain blog, steer off the editorial calendar course!
Want even more tips on how to make your brand more human on social media? Check out Talk Human to Me: 20 Tips to Humanize Your Brand by Pam Moore and 10 Ways to Humanize Your Brand On Social Media by Joe Chernov.
How do you make your brand more human on social media? Share your expertise in the comment section!
Photo Credit: Loren Javier
Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist and researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.