Whether you’re planning to promote yourself, a niche service, or a general product, chances are you’re looking to connect with people, get them interested in you, and engaged in your company or brand. The crux of this article explores how transcending humanity, human traits and a personality can help you become more successful in social media.
Before we dive in, let’s get one thing out of the way; understanding and implementing ANY social media tips and tools or marketing tactics into your strategy is not a replacement for real, genuine conversations and relationships — connecting with people should be your core strategy. We’ve seen positively brilliant social campaign ideas fail. Why? Often because they forgot to connect the dots, forgetting the most important layer… the relationship.
So, if you’ve come up with the clever strategy of keeping your distance from consumers, aiming to simply broadcast at people, this article isn’t for you, seriously.
In regards to social media and online marketing the term “humanize” is thrown around more now, than the terms “synergy ” and “leverage” but despite that, many companies miss the mark on truly connecting partially from what we’ve seen, due to impersonal and boring content.
Exploring ways you may humanize your brand will help you become a better, more creative storyteller — drop the boring marketing copy posts — your audience will see right through it. And, likely won’t share it. Remember that your consumers likely use their social channels to connect with friends, not to be blatantly hard-sold on products.
Break out behind your company logo
“What? Expose ourselves?”
This tactic can scare the pants off large companies, a fear driven by a lack of understanding of the social space. Ford and Rogers Communications are prime examples, both behemoths that put human faces to their brands. Ford’s Scott Monty and Keith McArthur from Rogers are all brand ambassadors who blog, communicate and connect in tandem with their respective corporate channels. Both of these companies have done a fantastic job of bringing a human face to their corps.
With the right training and a solid understanding of expectations, your in-house employees will help you humanize your brand and will be empowered to become online evangelists. This may be you, or a group of staffers you handpick to drive social engagement. Whatever the case, before you begin, draft up a social media policy that outlines code of conduct and FAQs on how to respond to both positive & negative feedback.
And, just my two cents, if your staffers are using their own personal Facebook or Twitter accounts to promote your business, don’t attempt to take their accounts or request passwords after they leave — it’s seriously bad PR.
Measure & Learn
During the infancy of planning a digital strategy for a brand, I began posting and testing content heavily focused on the in-game experience of their product. This product is a web-enabled physical toy that works with an online game, so I felt using creative screen captures of the game and promoting in-game features would harness their attention. Umm… Not so much.
I quickly learned this approach lacked an emotional connection to the physical product so I switched gears, began tailoring conversations and content, playing the nostalgia card, and sentimental tie to the product by using adorable photographs of the toy in unique situations. Bingo! The elements of your brand that you find most interesting might not be the right content for your fans.
Playing it safe, or always ‘coloring inside the lines’, won’t enable you to discover and learn interesting things about your community. Have you tried being a wee bit controversial, sassy or funny? Have you measured your net likability as a result?
Pull Emotional Triggers
Early on as a kid we figure this out. We learn which buttons to press and then systemically work our parents, flipping the right switches until we get what we want.
Pulling heartstrings, coaching a smile and invoking a laugh will help you get noticed. Even (and especially) if you’re promoting a general product already saturated in the market such as a toaster or a run of the mill gardening tool. Sharing content to encourage your audience to laugh or smile will drive engagement. Get reactions. Be real, be silly if you think it may drive engagement, or positive reactions.
Be Human, Be Real
I can be rather quirky, cheeky and silly, or as my late Grandfather would say at times in his thick Scottish brogue… “You’re acting a wee bit daft”. These are all human traits / qualities that have helped me produce engaging, magnetic content specifically for game studios and children’s brands. My natural talent and proclivity for “daftness” greatly assisted me with producing creative copy. Having fun via corporate blog articles, and conversations (yes, I have answered gameplay questions as NPC characters) resonated with their core niche audience, driving engagement and virality.
Chances are, your fans will also want to connect with the brilliant people behind your brand, not a marketing robot programmed to spout press releases style updates – let your personality shine through.
Author: Brodie Beta aka @iPhonegirl is a tech blogger, social media strategist and the Co-founder of Drink Social Media. She has written columns for well-known technology sites including The Next Web and a national newspaper in Canada, The Globe and Mail.
Brodie is also the social media strategist at CountMeIn, a social platform for collaborating on gifts.