It’s no surprise that many customers have very little trust in or feelings for big businesses. Even if a customer enjoys talking with their local Starbucks barista, they still might tregard the corporation itself as impersonal and largely unreachable. Consequently, customers are less interested in following the company’s social media or other publications, which ends up lowering their online visibility. Don’t let your business fall into that trap! Increase consumer involvement online and give your business a human presence on social media.
Humanize Your Social Media Presence
In a world where customers check social media for reviews and to ask questions, neglecting to have a social media strategy is a huge mistake for big businesses. But it’s just as bad to provide only robotic, copy-paste posts or answers to customer engagement. To truly succeed in social media, your business must have a relatable “human” feel. Try these strategies to enhance your online personality and relationship with your target audience:
- Don’t play it too safe
- Stop using buzzwords
- Introduce your team
- Stay unique
- Demonstrate empathy
- Maintain professionalism
1) Don’t Play it Too Safe
Maintaining professionalism on social media is crucial to your online image, but don’t overdo it! Customers enjoy seeing unique content from a particular brand. That doesn’t mean you should flood your social media with multiple daily posts about your favorite charity or cause, but neither should you completely hide what your company believes and supports. Your customers want to know!
It also never hurts to have fun with your customers in other ways. For a great example of this, look no further than the Wendy’s Twitter account, where customers are always guaranteed a laugh. Wendy’s social media team is known for poking fun at other fast food joints and having fun with their followers. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better source of inspiration for fun ways to boost audience engagement!
2) Stop Using Buzzwords
Social media is about having conversations and connecting with other people. Consequently, the vast majority of online content has a personal feel, generally a first-person voice, and overall conversational qualities. Businesses can easily fall into the trap of being too formal in their posts. This might make your content stand out, but not in a good way. Customers will see your posts as uninteresting and will look elsewhere for engaging content. Take a look at your current social media posts to make sure you aren’t accidentally sabotaging your efforts with these mistakes:
- Third-party language (ex.: “(Company Name) is an industry leader” rather than “We’ve made a name for ourselves in our industry!”)
- Overly formal language or wording
- Buzzwords or meaningless “fluff” language
- Industry-specific terms your audience won’t recognize
Pro Tip: Your business’s social media should speak to your audience as you’d speak to a friend or neighbor. Don’t bore them with excessive formality or industry buzzwords.
3) Introduce Your Team
Did you just hire a new team member? Is someone at the office getting married? Tell your followers! Show the people behind your brand to remind consumers that your business isn’t just a faceless monolith. You and your team members are real people with real lives, interests, and passions. Showcase your best resource–your team members–to the world.
4) Stay Unique
Returning to the example of Wendy’s twitter profile, this fast-food giant’s social media strategy is successful because it’s so different. How many businesses are bold enough to regularly “roast” their followers as well as their competition, often at a follower’s request? They employ a hilariously unique strategy to keep followers coming back for more.
While your industry and preferences may not be able to get away with the same kind of posts as Wendy’s, you can still find your unique voice. What does your brand sound like? Is your industry better suited for witty posts, informative but entertaining content, or something else entirely? Experiment to find the right tone for your business.
5) Demonstrate Empathy
Customers often use social media as a hotline for questions or complaints. Even if you don’t have a system or strategy for handling these comments, it’s only a matter of time before you receive one. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by ignoring these messages! You should always respond to as many as possible, but how and when you respond is also crucial.
Stick to your unique voice and give a personal answer to customer questions or complaints. Show that you understand their frustration and offer to help make it right or settle any confusion your customers may be experiencing. Finally, don’t wait too long to respond! You may not have a dedicated employee who does nothing but check for messages, but don’t leave a notification unchecked for too long. Respond quickly to show your audience that you’re keeping an eye on their requests and want to care for them appropriately.
6) Maintain Professionalism
Finally, as you work to find your unique voice and post engaging content, don’t forget that you are running a business’s social media. Deviating too far from expected professionalism could have unintended consequences. For instance, a fast-food chain like Wendy’s can get away with lots of fun content because of their casual persona, while a more formal chain like Perry’s Steakhouse has to stay more professional. If Perry’s suddenly began posting memes and “roasting” customers like Wendy’s does, they may damage their more formal approach to online marketing.
There’s no magic formula to tell you how professional or casual you can be online. Your best bet is to look at your competition’s online presence and read up on your industry. The more formal your industry tends to be, the more professional your online content should be. Be sure to avoid falling into the equally problematic trap of sounding dry to your followers!
A Human Touch
Your business and industry are made up of individuals with their own interests and lives. Let their individuality shine through to your followers! Customers love a personal touch from their favorite brands. As you build your business social media strategy, show your human side and keep your customers intrigued.
Join the conversation for more ideas on building a human presence on social media.