Social media, the human element, and your brand
Why has social media become so important to a business’ marketing strategy? The answer lies not in the immense reach of social networks, or in the fact that social is the top internet activity, but in thesimple fact that social media humanizes the brand.
Brands not only develop a digital footprint with social, but also a digital personality. It is this personality that acts as the human interface between the brand and its target consumers.
Your brand’s presence on social media can be a sounding board, a listening post, a growth trigger, or an engagement catalyst if your social interactions have a personal touch to them.
For someone following your business on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, the brand is human. It’s not that they don’t realize they are interacting with a business entity – it’s that they expect social interactions with the entity to be as natural as possible.
So, what are the shapes and silhouettes of a humanized brand identity on social media?
Socialize, do not consumerize
Think of your connections as real people who have the potential to be your friends. Thinking of them as consumers will only result in your social media presence becoming an extension of your sales and marketing activities.
A human-first approach is the foundation of successful social media engagement for brands.
Every piece of content you share on social media should be done with a view towards building long lasting relationships rather than marketing products and services.
Think about how your brand can create social media influence
A business’ social media strategy needs to define how it’s going to build brand influence on social media.
When you think social media influencer, you don’t think of a brand but a real person. So, create influence from the word go.
Here’s how you can set the stage for building influence:
- Try focusing on building a reputation before you create a social media presence. For example, if you’re an SEO company, participating and contributing in important SEO conferences will set the stage for some solid reputation building.
- Identify the social networks that will help you create influence amongst your target audience. If you are targeting B2B customers, LinkedIn can be the social platform of choice. On the other hand, Facebook and Twitter can be a good pick for your B2C marketing efforts.
- Create an amazing business profile, fill in the details, use great visuals and spare no effort to appeal to your target audience. Your profile creates your social persona, and is therefore the most important aspect of your social media identity.
- Produce useful, user driven content consistently and start sharing it across social media networks. If you can’t come up with something new all the time, share curated bunches of third party content.
- Be opinionated, but not overtly so. Taking a stand is crucial to building favorable influence, but don’t foist an opinion on an audience – and always substantiate your opinion with facts.
- Keep caring about what you share. The day you stop caring is the day all your hard-won influence will start to crumble.
Create brand personality
Building the right profile persona is the first step towards creating a social media personality for your brand. The idea is to identify a particular personality trait and run with it.
For instance, if you believe it’s sarcasm and wit that will help you create a unique brand identity and which aligns well with the way you want your brand to be seen, focus on those traits.
The human element of social media and your attempts to humanize your brand footprint by building relationships are instrumental in understanding your customers better.
The human element helps you personalize your product and service offerings in sync with customers’ needs and expectations.
A brand can merge social with its sales funnel to improve revenue generation. One way of doing this is by merging social into its web property. By socializing your website, you are humanizing your web property.
You can convert it into an interaction tool wherein target users can merge their social accounts with their web accounts.
As a brand marketer this isn’t all that difficult to accomplish. A feature like social login that allows users to log into your website with their existing social identities helps them connect with their social networks while browsing through your site.
All you need to do is pick a plugin and implement it on your site.
Social sign on helps you access a wealth of user profile data that can be used in different ways. You can improve the UX of the site, build user driven sales and marketing strategies, or personalize a user’s engagement with the site.
This is but one tool that helps brands optimize the use of social for engagement and increase profitability by making it easier for humans to interact with the brand.
Optimizing the human element for revenue generation
Social media has allowed marketers to think of consumers as people, who have emotions, needs, and expectations.
More importantly, social allows them to make sense of these emotions and cater to them. The operative word here is ‘care.’
Potential consumers will convert into paying consumers only if they believe your brand cares about their needs; this belief can be nurtured by enhancing your relationships with your target audience on social media. This cements trust in your brand, encouraging them to do business with it.
At the end of the day, going social with your brand is all about establishing a personal connection with target customers and using this connection to kick start branding efforts.
Whether or not you use the human element of social media to strengthen and bolster your brand is your call, but the options to do so are varied, so take your pick and start using social to add that necessary human element to your brand!