Humanizing your brand is a key step to ensure your business’s survival in a social media environment. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and is fundamental to building relationships with your customers and establishing a powerful foundation of brand ambassadors. It is one of the simplest ways to connect with your audience yet is too often overlooked or forgotten, so set yourself apart from your competitors and give people a compelling reason to connect with you by learning these 6 ways to humanize your brand.
1. It All Starts With a Plan
This whole process begins with a clearly defined brand and strategy. This means that in the very beginning you need to establish an honest assessment of your business cultures and values and then blend it with how you would like to be perceived by consumers. In establishing a brand, consider how your competitors are branding themselves; what is working for them and what isn’t; and what makes you different from them. Ultimately you need to find out and show what your unique selling point is. Also part of this process is to establish how you don’t want to be perceived and then you can and actively work against portraying that image.
2. Find the Right Ambassador
Whether you hire a social media professional or one of your employees handles your social media presence, you need to ensure that the person that’s going to be representing you is not going to be a social media robot who churns out content that is not engaging and boring, but rather, is a person that embodies your businesses values and cultures and is able to create content and engage with your audience in a way that reflects your image. You need your ambassador to have talent and passion for creating meaningful relationships and someone who is friendly, outgoing, genuine and who has a good sense of humour. Hiring or choosing the right person and making policies clear is the groundwork to successfully humanize your brand.
3. Focus on Creating Relationships
If you only ever think and talk like a corporate engine then that is how you will come across on your social media platforms. To connect on a human level with your audience you need to actively think about the content, conversations and ways you can build relationships with your audience. Social media gives businesses a real chance to engage in a two-way conversation and this is your chance to get to know and learn from your audience, find out their likes, dislikes, passions and fears and encourage your audience to engage, laugh and share. The key takeaway is to recognise that your community and audience will respond similarly to how you initially come across, if you are cold and corporate so too will your audience but if you are welcoming, engaging and genuine so too will your community.
4. Share Photos and Videos of Your Team Being Human.
One of the best ways to become a human brand is to share with your audience the moments that you are human. If you have a business party, picnic or it is one of your employees birthday take pictures and share them. What better way to humanize your brand than to show the actual humans who are responsible for creating and maintaining it every day? Sharing these simple snapshots of your personal side really resonates with an audience and actively builds relationships with the people in your community. Not to mention it will also make your brand more relatable and trustworthy to online customers.
Uber has demonstrated well how to successfully introduce their team and humanize their brand by using Facebook photo albums to introduce each of their community managers with information about the person and their photo.
5. Stop Selling and Start Engaging
If you use your social media platforms as self-fulfilling broadcast channels then your audience is not going to want to interact and communicate with you. Rather, you need to build the relationships, earn their trust and then earn the right to communicate with them. This is done by sharing information that is engaging, useful and provides value to them and importantly by listening to them while they talk. Listen, watch and learn from the conversations you see and hear online and not only will you build a trustworthy and engaging brand, you will then learn and know better in the future of how to engage in a way that brings value.
Squishable.com is a stuffed toys business that has implemented a great strategy for engaging their audience. By encouraging their audience to offer suggestions regarding design and colors of the toys that are in the making, they show and convince their fans that they value their opinions and are willing to interact with them.
6. Have a Sense of Humour and be Real
Using humour is one of the most popular strategies for brands wanting to spark engagement and connect with their audience. Humour conveys personality, boosts customer engagement and if done right can help you attract a whole new audience as people share your content and are drawn to your entertaining and witty platforms.
From clever one liners, to humorous photo updates, Taco Bell is widely becoming known for its effective use of humour throughout its marketing. The below example shows a response from Taco Bell to a putdown from Old Spice, the quick and witty response from Taco Bell showed humour, wit as well as earning a large collection of retweets and favourites.