With more and more businesses recognizing the value of online referrals, it’s easy to overlook why the advertising technique is so effective in the first place—it’s social! Every day friends and colleagues interact with each other on social media sites in ways that weren’t possible even two years ago. But guess what? They’re interacting with your brand as well.
So you must keep in mind that trust is a huge component in bringing sales to online businesses. Customers want to really see these brands and understand the principles that should drive them from their current positions as occasional audience members to loyal brand ambassadors. Basically, customers want brands to be human.
Humanizing your brand is a necessary step to ensure your company’s survival in a social media environment. It’s the key to building relationships with your customers and creating a powerful base of brand ambassadors. But where do you begin? Here are six ways you can start humanizing your brand today:
1. Develop an Online Voice
Company-to-consumer advertisements are no longer effective in the 21st century. Advertising is now a two-way conversation between brands and online audiences. As such, it’s important to ask yourself: What does my brand sound like to real people? Customers should think of your brand as a friend, not a company. It’s this relationship—and loyal customers’ relationships with offline friends and family—which will prompt them to become brand ambassadors. In recent years the folks at Skittles have done a wonderfully creative job of establishing their online voice. Check out our previous blog post for a great case study on their transformation.
2. Tailor Your Message to Your Audience
Is your brand advertising to a serious B2B audience? Or maybe your customers are a lighthearted B2C community? Whoever it is, be sure you listen to what’s being said about your brand on social media, and then develop a cohesive strategy to communicate your true personality right back at ’em.
3. Encourage Feedback and Content from Your Online Community
Host contests for potential customers to share photos and stories with other fans and followers, or develop strategies to highlight customer experiences on your page. But most of all, you want to make sure that your customers are active participants with your brand, not passive listeners. Content can be a huge driver of conversions and sales—so why not tap into what your customers are already posting and saying online?
4. Post Personal Photos of Your Brand Being Human
What better way to humanize your brand than to show the actual humans who are responsible for creating and maintaining it every day? Social networks allow brands to show off their best qualities, and hopefully one of these qualities includes the people who stand behind your brand. Post photos from a cool team trip or just random happenings around the office. It will make your brand more relatable and trustworthy to online customers.
5. Stop Selling, Start Engaging
It’s pretty easy for customers to know when they’re being sold something, and that’s the last thing they want to see when they’re talking to friends and family on Facebook or Twitter. As outbound advertising becomes less effective, the role of social marketing becomes even more important. Maintain an authenticity around your brand—you’ll receive better exposure, a better reputation, and more referred customers.
6. Have a Plan!
This seems like an obvious one, but it’s surprising how many brands blindly jump into social media without a cohesive plan of action. Take a step back to make sure you understand your audience first. What makes them tick? What type of language are they using? How often and where are they posting content? Of course, you shouldn’t spend too much time in the weeds collecting data. Social media moves quickly, so getting your referral marketing strategy up and running is critical for your brand’s success.
The advertising world changes rapidly and businesses, like people, must keep up with the latest trends. Brands are human, after all, and your marketing strategy should reflect that. So remember that your customers want to engage with you online, and your goal is to give them the right environment in which to do so!
How are you humanizing your brand?