A 2017 study by Trinity Mirror Solutions showed that 42% of British consumers distrust brands, because they view them as part of “the establishment”. While this is quite a niche survey, the response can be viewed as part of the growing global cynicism surrounding consumerism.
To appeal to customers in today’s market, you need to consciously build a brand that’s approachable, reliable, transparent, and relatable. In this article, we’re going to give you some ideas as to how you can humanize your brand and connect with your audience using social media.
1. Create a unique voice for your brand
One of the most incredible things about human beings is the way we communicate with each other. We’re constantly expanding our vocabularies and adding new words to the dictionary to keep up with how the world is changing. We use song lyrics and movie references to create a universal picture for how we’re feeling. Our voices are all our own. Whether you speak quickly or slowly, use a lot of slang, or are quite formal, your speech pattern will be recognizable to those that know you.
If you are a business owner, looking to create a “human” brand, you want to establish and maintain a similarly recognizable tone of voice for your company. Think about your products, services, and niche, and the kind of image you want to convey. For example, a sports brand might use lots of dynamic words, imperatives, and calls to action to energize and motivate their audience, whereas copy for a skincare brand would be gentler, meant to relax readers by foster a sense of comfort and trust.
To create a sense of reliability, which is important for all brands regardless of what they do, it’s important to maintain the same tone of voice across all copy and channels. If you have multiple people working on your social media or marketing, try creating a list of brand adjectives for them to follow, so the tone remains consistent throughout.
2. Share relevant content and engage with your audience
As a brand selling a product or a service, people are looking to you to fill a gap or to fix a problem that they might have. Therefore, it’s important that when you share things on social media, you share things that are going to be of value to them. Don’t be afraid to inject a little levity and humor into your feed, too – you want to get people talking – but make sure the memes that you post are relevant to your brand and fit with your tone of voice overall.
You should be aiming to start a conversation with your audience through your posts and captions. Not everything has to be a hard sell. Ask questions, encourage your audience to share their views, and respond to any comments and messages that you receive. This will create lots of two-way interactions, which will help your customers feel more of a connection to you and your brand.
To increase face-to-face engagement, why not consider posting video content or going live on Facebook or Instagram?
- 54% of consumers want to see more video content from the brands they support.
- Video posts on social media get 48% more views.
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it a video, compared to 10% when they read it a text.
- 84% of people say they’ve bought a product or subscribed to a service after watching the brand’s video.
3. Tell a story
Creating an authentic brand takes a lot of time, thought, and effort. There’s a “why” behind every decision you make. Your company name, logo, product, and the reason you came up with the whole concept all have meaning. Sharing your meaning and motivation with your audience creates a sense of openness, reminding them that there is a real person behind the brand name.
We’ve come up with three ways in which you can use storytelling to connect more with your audience. Just remember to be authentic!
- Have an “About Us” page on your website to tell your customers who you are and why you started your company.
- Introduce them to your employees. One of the best ways to humanize your brand is to showcase the real humans who work there. You could introduce them on your blog and social media channels using a photo, together with a short humorous bio. Alternatively, let your employees take over your channels for a day.
- Take your audience behind the scenes. People are curious – they love getting a glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors! Show them what you get up to on a day-to-day basis, whether that’s receiving and unboxing new stock, preparing for a product launch, or even if something didn’t go quite the way you had planned…
4. Own up to your mistakes
Speaking of things not going your way, making mistakes is a part of life, and sometimes things will go wrong. The most important thing is how you respond to issues, and how you choose to resolve them when they arise.
Most of all, display emotion when something goes wrong for your customers. Being open and honest about your mistakes, together with working hard to fix them, will make your brand feel more human and help you to win back your customers’ trust.
Furthermore, it’s very important to respond personally to queries and complaints. It’s obvious when you copy and paste a standard template, and this can make your audience feel like their grievance doesn’t matter to you. Show your customers you really care by responding to them individually if they have an issue with their order or your service.
5. Say thank you
When you hit a target or a milestone for your business, however big or small, remember to acknowledge and thank your audience for their support and for helping you reach your goals. Your customers (especially repeat customers) have an attachment to your brand, and are invested in your story, product, and service. A thank you for reaching 10,000 followers, or celebrating your first year in business will make them feel appreciated – and hopefully keep them coming back for more!