The backbone of any company or brand is its human workforce. In previous schools of thought, a company was considered an entity, something that exists within itself. While this is true, this approach fails to include two vital aspects of a brand; the people that manage it and the customers that keep it running. With numerous channels of communication, a business may lose focus on how it communicates its brand values. Companies conduct business with people but this relationship must exceed the transactional. The bottom line is that you need to remind your audience that there are people behind your company. You must humanise your brand in order to build an emotional connection, establish trust, and create a deeper relationship.
How to build trust and emotionHaving your company goals read "We place our customers first" while your communication messages on social media are purely sales oriented clearly means that you have misconstrued objectives. The common ideology at any hierarchical level, and in any organisation, should be centred around the idea that the brand is its people – yes, you are the brand, and therefore, you need to humanise your marketing objectives. Lose the formality, the sales oriented tactics, and the archaic forms of communication, and personify the brand by connecting emotionally with your audience.
The first step to appear more human is to lose the business jargon as this may alienate your customers. Tone down your social media messages and make them relatable to your audience. Do not be afraid to send out casual messages and to speak in a friendlier manner. However, there are two sides to every coin. You need to have an eclectic mix of messages - while portraying friendly messages you must also show that your brand is the industry expert within the field. It is however advisable to do this cautiously.
Secondly, showcase your people. Capture your employees being themselves. Let your followers know who your employees are by posting photos of them doing the most basic and random of things (make sure that you have their permission first, of course!). Do not limit yourself to just social media. You can showcase your employees on your website by having a dedicated page that represents your team. Share behind the scenes content of your team. You must remember that the personality of each and every member of your staff is what ultimately creates an authentic brand.
Thirdly, you must engage with your customers. Since you are personifying the brand, you must also become more customer centric by creating an open dialogue between you and your audience. Be ready to have a conversation with your fans and followers. You must be ready to listen to your clients and respond with clear intentions. It is of utmost importance that you make yourself available at all times and never leave your customers waiting for a response. When customers leave comments, make sure you interact with the person as this will help humanise your brand. Above all, be truthful as this will deepen your relationships.
When you are present on social platforms you are prone to criticism. Often, businesses are afraid of putting themselves out there, and usually resort to rudimentary and uninteresting posts instead. You must get out there and bite the bullet! It is important to have a plan and minimise risks by having a social media policy.
It is important to own up to any mistakes done by the company and apologise, as it will make your brand more humane and your customers will show compassion towards your brand. By being genuine, you will emerge as a company that truly cares.
Your employees are your brand ambassadors and are therefore a vital aspect in humanising the brand. Encouraging your employees to be socially active on behalf of your company will put a face to the people who work for your company, and this will provide a wider reach as it will increase brand visibility.
When an online conversation with a customer turns out to be a fruitful one, move the discussion offline by encouraging them to a friendly call or a visit to the office. You will go a long way by being friendly with your customers and showing how much they mean to you as good customer relationships often lead to brand advocates.
Every social media touchpoint gives you and your customers access to engage in conversation through the content you deliver. Your messages should be authentic, transparent, and trustworthy as this will provide an opportunity to build an honest relationship that will provide your current and future customers an unparalleled experience with your brand.