Humanizing social media marketing is an art, and it’s hard to master.
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But not everyone instills a human element into their social media marketing, primarily because people consider it unimportant. After all, there are chatbots to answer queries and respond to complaints.
For your online brand, be it blogging or dealing in the actual sale of products, you have to interact with your audience. The reason is because people sitting on the other end don’t feel cared for.
To them, your presence is faceless and you wish to suck them dry of their hard earned money.
If you don’t engage with your audience, how will they know you’re just not in this to fill your pockets and profit? (although usually the objective)
Building trust with your customers goes a long way. There’s no substituting that!
It is less costly for any company to get a customer to repeat purchase or share your content than creating a new one altogether (only logical, wouldn’t you agree?).
So let’s see how we can become more engaging on social media by humanizing social media marketing:
1. Infuse humor
Humor is recommended even for managers in a strictly corporate environment. So, when interacting with your audience online, make sure to throw in a pint of humor. By humor, it does not mean anything and everything goes (no below the belt jokes please!). Just keep a balance of fun, info, and control.
Take the example of Fork You Too, an Indian dining café which took the pun route to engage with its customers.
This form of engagement technique has served them well. It’s both amusing and commendable.
2. Treat the brand as a fictitious character
We understand now that human voice is required to give your brand a personalized touch. You cannot tamper with the brand’s logo and certainly not its name. What you can do is introduce a character or a mascot to represent your brand.
In this way, people can develop a sense of connection with your brand. The McDonald’s Ronald McDonald clown is a classic example of how you can associate with your audience with a mascot.
Perhaps, visualize a few details for your character, add some bio and then map it out in your business. Ensure its relevance. You can’t have Ronald McDonald act as the humanoid voice for an online clinical consultancy firm and its presence over social media.
3. Employ easy-to-understand language
People follow you on social media channels to expect amusement and not be bored with corporate jargon and lingo. You should converse with your audience the way you would in your circle of friends and family.
Instead of saying “Thank you” or “Appreciated” to customer feedback, reply “Cheers mate!” Did you see how casual it sounded? You get the ‘feel’ here?
4. Social media posting in advance
Social media tools are a great way to ease your burden so that you can write down your posts in advance and schedule them for later publishing. Although, you have made content available but when you respond to comments it comes off as a bit awkward.
Your audience can tell the difference between a pre-planned answer with a touch of customization, their name. Consequently, you end up distancing yourself from your audience and fail to hold ground.
Rather you should learn to respond in that instant when a suggestion is made or when positive feedback is registered or some criticism is hurled at ya. Can’t get any more ‘engaging’ than this!
5. Ensure online and offline synchronization
The trickiest part in managing your social media presence is that your online presence should exude a similar aura of your brand that the visitors would feel in your physical establishment.
If you’re a clothing brand, your funky appeal online should correspond with that of your store. You can’t have dull people managing your business there.
Seriously, would you leave your operations in the hands of the people who wouldn’t know how to keep the customer’s enticed? So you need to hire the kind of people who can carry similar energy online as your staff do in your brick-and-mortar store.
A good example of this is Nordstrom Department store. It uses Pinterest marketing which allows its 4.5 million users from its Pinterest community to pin their favorite items on their website and the items which are pinned the most go to display in their physical stores.
6. Engage in conversations
You can sell your brand by posting ads; you’re allowed to do that. There is nothing wrong with it, but don’t do just that.
You should try to engage them in a conversation. How? By asking for their feedback, their preferences, or thanking them for reading your blog.
If your target audience tends to comment on an external thread, try stepping into the conversation. Let them know that they are important to you, that their every word is helping you shape your services en route for improvement and continued excellence (no, I’m not asking you to lie).
As you can see in this example, McDonald’s is using its customer support on Twitter to inform, educate and take feedback from its clients.
7. Admit when you’re wrong
Everybody makes mistakes and that’s what makes us human. So if your company has made a mistake, be open about it and admit it! The more transparent your dealings are with your customers, the more loyal and cemented relations you will have with them.
When it comes to complaint handling, you need to stay vigilant on your social media platforms. Do not argue or try justifying to the customer how it is their fault and not yours. It will drive them away. Even if it is their fault, clarify them through their inbox/message and move it from the public eye.
It can be insulting and disrespectful to the customer. If it has been established that the mistake has been committed from your end then lay out a road map on how you plan to resolve it for them.
This list is not exhaustive. There are always going to be a number of other ways to humanize social media. However, the future of customer retention will largely depend on how you connect with your customer; in a corporate fashion or at a human level.