We’re all human. Yet we often forget that basic fact as soon as we enter into a business transaction.
Whether we’re too-busy consumers making our baristas, restaurant servers, or cleaners feel invisible or we’re overwhelmed marketers making broad generalizations about our customers, it’s so much easier to take the “human” out of the equation.
That’s the worst way to go about it.
Humanizing your brand isn’t just important for your brand reputation; it’s important for your sales, too.
Humanize Your Brand With These 3 Tips.
Utilize 1:1 Mediums Like Email and Social Media
Today, it’s easier than ever to make connections across thousands of miles. Utilizing personal mediums like email or social media can help you build those connections with fans and haters alike.
Email is a direct medium. Our email address is ours; unlike social, you don’t share your personal inbox with anyone else. Rather than blast me-me-me marketing at your subscribers, think about what’s relevant to them. Do they want to receive this email? What will they learn? How can you be helpful, educational, or beneficial, rather than always selling?
Social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can feature the people behind the product so that you can add a bit of humanity into your day-to-day. For example, the HubSpot feature Humans of HubSpot on Instagram, modeled after Humans of New York, that tell the stories of their employees and what they care about. None of the posts mention product. They talk about family, hobbies, work-life balance, and culture.
Rather than use social to broadcast material, interact with your customer directly. Instead of the royal “we,” respond as yourself. At Litmus, we use co-tags with initials to identify anyone responding to a query or celebrating a success:
— Litmus (@litmusapp) June 14, 2016
Don’t Be Afraid To Admit Your Mistakes Publicly
When we make mistakes as brands and companies, we often refuse to admit them. Company cultures often outlaw failure, and the fear in the pit of your stomach before every email and social send, webinar presentation, and conference can prove it.
“Fail first, fail fast,” has become a cliché in the startup world but it’s one more people need to embrace in practice. The first step of turning failure into success? Owning up to your mistake, even if it’s a public one. Typos and errors happen. That’s what makes us human.
If it’s a bigger or more serious mistake, apologize. It’s the only thing you can really do in that situation, especially with a customer. No matter what, even if it’s their fault, don’t blame them for your mistake. Own it, no matter what. On social, for example, deleting a tweet often draws more attention to it. We see it all the time with celebrity and political scandals.
Embrace the fear, apologize, and play it off for laughs if you can. Take this example on Twitter:
— IvorCrotty (@IvorCrotty) June 14, 2016
Take it from Justin Beiber, who showed up 2 hours late to a concert a few years ago. Is it too late now to say sorry? Never.
Above All, Be Human
When you write, write conversationally. For people. Know your audience and your customers the way you would know a regular at your diner or a family down the street, not in broad strokes or personas. What do they care about? What challenges to they face? What problem does your business solve in their lives?
Make your company stand out by building a human, personal connection with your customers.
Behind every customer and every claim is a human being asking for something to fulfill their needs. Don’t forget to be a human. You can’t treat everything like a data point or a number in a system, even if that makes it easier to track. Remember that the emotional connection you make is by far the most powerful way to build your brand.