Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions.
I came across an interesting study recently. It was conducted by UK-based Trinity Mirror Solutions on consumer trust in brands. What stood out to me was the fact that 42% of people distrust brands, mainly because they consider them to be part of the establishment. This means that consumers see brands as having excessive power and influence and that they are therefore remote and unreachable.
Although the study focused on consumers in the U.K., it still gives us good insights into how many consumers feel about brands: cynical. Which means that if you want to stand out and win people’s trust, you need to do something different. You’ll need to build a brand image that portrays it as more approachable, relatable and reachable. In other words, you need to make your brand more human, just like the consumers.
If you want to humanize your brand, the best way to do it is through social media because that’s where almost everyone is nowadays. It gives you easy access to your target audience and helps you build a connection with them. Here are five more tips that you can apply specifically to social media:
1. Find Your Unique Voice And Maintain It
One unique aspect of human beings is in the way we talk and interact with others. I tend to speak fast and I normally use a friendly, relaxed tone regardless of whom I’m talking to. One of my friends, on the other hand, has a habit of using unusual references. And I’ve also witnessed how teenagers talk on the internet using new slang like “lit,” “mood” and “truu” in ways that weren’t used before.
My point is that everyone has their own way of talking that forms a part of their personality. This is what makes us human. And for your brand to become more human, it needs a unique voice that fits the overall image it wants to portray.
For example, maybe you’re a reputable sports brand that people look up to. Your voice would, therefore, need to be authoritative but not necessarily formal. It will also need to be motivating, to fit the whole brand image. Or if you’re a skincare brand, you’ll need to maintain a voice that’s caring and soothing as well as dependable.
The Honest Company’s social media voice is an excellent example of what I’m talking about. They infuse plenty of honesty and humor into their captions and quote posts. They’re trying to showcase how they have a real understanding of the parenting struggle, which is in tune with their brand name and brand values.
2. Put The Spotlight On Your Employees
One of the best ways to prove to consumers that your brand has real humans behind it is to reveal the humans that work behind the brand. This would involve sharing stories of your employees through social media. You could do a weekly segment in which you feature employees from different departments with their photo and a little bit about themselves.
Cisco on Twitter does a great job of implementing this tactic, telling their employee stories and showcasing the community behind the brand. You could also do a behind-the-scenes video segment in which you showcase how things are done in a certain department, while interviewing staff from said department.
3. Work With Social Media Influencers
Social media influencers are also very useful in putting a human face to your brand. A study by gen.video and Geometry Global found that consumers trust social media influencers the most for information about product purchases. This suggests that social media users look to influencers for product recommendations, reviews, etc., before they decide to make a purchase.
Influencers are real people, and they are looked upon as authority figures in their respective fields. Their interest in the field has transformed them into experts of sorts, whom consumers can rely on for honest recommendations. In an interview for my video series, I reached out to Alex Gastle, founder of influencer marketing company Vetterview, who said, “Working with influencers that not only have established relationships with your target audience but also believe in your message is key to crafting consumer brand perception.”
You could even run takeover campaigns in which a relevant influencer takes over your social media for a day. The influencer then creates content on your behalf, just like Longwood Gardens got a micro-influential photographer to take over their Instagram.
4. Sign Your Social Media Posts
You can also make your social media interactions more personal by signing your posts. If you have a team that handles your social media posts, make sure each person adds their name to the posts they create. This shows your audience that there are real people behind the post and gives them a better idea of whom they’re talking with.
5. Acknowledge Issues And Mistakes
Humanizing your brand involves demonstrating human qualities — even when you’ve made a mistake or customers are experiencing a problem. You will need to acknowledge when your company makes a mistake and remain transparent about it. Owning up to your mistake will make your brand more human, helping you win the trust of your audience.
And instead of copy-pasting a standard message from an existing template to respond to your customers, take the time to create a personalized message for each of them. This proves to your audience that you care about them and you’re listening to them.
On the Wendy’s Facebook page, for instance, you can see from the way they respond to customer complaints that they actually take the time to read each of them.
These five tips will be able to help you humanize your brand effectively on social media. They’re easy to implement, and in most cases, you won’t even have to make any additional monetary investment. Use them and improve how you engage with your customers.