Personify your Brand on Social Media

“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.” – David Alston

The reason for all interactions – personal and business – is to connect with another human being. Companies create products, brands, and content for existing customers and for prospective ones. In order to truly reach out to people and have the desired effect, it is vital that everything a company does, reflects its human side. With the advent and rise of social media, a very real fear is that actual face-to-face interactions would die and companies would conduct business ‘remotely’. However, when engaging with an audience on social media, the interactions must be meaningful and to do so, personify your brand – make it appear ‘human’.

What exactly does personify your brand mean? This refers to putting your brand ‘out there’, finding and connecting with your target audience, and giving them something meaningful and useful through their association with your company. Whatever your company does – the products it makes, the content it creates and other such initiatives, remember that humans are on the other side, receiving all of it. For customers to feel strongly about your company, personify your brand – ensure that it addresses their deepest emotional needs and alleviates their pain and difficulties.  Customers find it easier to relate to a brand and would be more amenable to forging strong bonds, and durable relationships with it when the brand has a human appeal.

Research reveals that at least 2-5% of impactful and valuable customer engagement happens through social media. If you make an effort to personify your brand, it would be easier to amplify and use these relationships to advantage. Customers are using social media increasingly to ‘speak’ about their experiences with companies and their brands. The more you personify your brand, the more likely it is that customers would feel close and warm towards it and would spread positive word of mouth.

Companies constantly try to influence and mould customer behaviour into buying more and repeatedly and entice them into encouraging others to follow suit. When you personify your brand, you will appear pushy or coercive – customers would naturally be drawn towards it. Your brand’s name, colour, and logo would become synonymous with a friendly and personal experience, leading to more engagement and emotional connection.  Brands that have a human appeal tend to make a better impact on the minds of customers – something that impersonal brands cannot even though they may have flashier advertising and spend huge amounts on branding exercises.

Why is it critical for your company to personify your brand? Does your company have a ‘human’ brand or is it distant and lacks appeal? We have discussed several times that among the top reasons that people buy – is emotional reasons. Customers are human and they want to interact with people. When you personify your brand, you create and build an emotional connection with them – the human side of social interactions are known to have better success and the bonds forged with people are a lot stronger. When reaching out to an audience via social media ensure that they can ‘see’ your brand as human – this will evoke and stoke feelings of oneness, empathy, loyalty, and even passion. The more ‘human’ your brand and company come across, the higher the chances that you would be able to attract and retain customers. Long staying customers are more likely to become profitable and loyal brand ambassadors.

When you personify your brand, the barriers of technology and lack of face-to-face interactions, are reduced. Customers are more likely to listen, share feedback, and provide value-added insights. There is a lot more ‘space’ to converse openly and people are not averse to let their opinions be known to all. Customers feel more comfortable when they know that behind the ‘digital’ conversations, there are real people who are ready to use the information they provide to come up with customized solutions and personalized offerings. When you personify your brand, you essentially provide customers with a sense of peace and put them at ease.

It is well known that customers prefer doing business with people who can make their lives easier, take away their stress points, and make them feel special. When you personify your brand, you lend a send of assurance, trustworthiness, reliability, and integrity.  Customers are at peace knowing that their problems will be managed by people and that social media is actually social since the interactions are with other fellow humans. As a customer you too would know that it is quite frustrating to wait for answers from the IVR and you would much rather ‘jump’ to the part of the recording that allows you to choose the option of ‘speaking to a customer service person’.

When you personify your brand, it is easier to appear friendly and easy-going. There is a reason why social media allows people to share things that appeal to them, make them happy, or excite them. A humanized brand becomes a subject of interest and people are more likely to endorse it by telling their friends and associates about it. When you personify your brand, your ability to sincerely and reasonably request for ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ increases manifold. Humanized brands can ask even non-customers for such ‘favours’ – the emotional connection is instant with ‘human’ brands and people are more open to comply.

Given the soaring popularity of social media and the extent to which it is being used even by top brands, thought leaders, influencers, and other persons who command respect, placing your brand in their midst would gain huge benefits for it. When your brand seems down-to-earth, ready to serve anyone’s needs, these thought leaders are more willing to discuss it and exchange their invaluable insights about it. Your brand becomes akin with thought leadership and become elevated to niche position. No one wants to endorse a ‘snooty’ brand – a company with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude – not even top leaders and influential people.

It is critical to personify your brand if you want it to appear transparent, trustworthy, and appear ready to serve the needs of people. It gives an insight into the actual company – the vision, values, work environment, employees, and other stakeholders. Use social media to share success stories, joys, roadblocks, experiences, and other such ‘stories’ about your company and allow your customers to do the same. This is perhaps one of the best ways to personify your brand and increase engagement and collaboration with existing and potential customers.

A ‘human’ brand would not be afraid to own up to their mistakes on social media despite the high visibility and reach of these sites. In fact, doing so enables customers to identify more with it – errors are a given when the human factor is involved and to personify your brand, it is important to show that your company is run by people who are likely to make mistakes. Of course, it is equally important to make amends and let customers know via social media, about the measures your company takes to make things right. These gestures serve to calm irate customers and restore their trust, while building trust in others.

To build meaningful and long lasting relationships via social media, make every effort to personify your brand and connect with people on a human level. Do you believe that your company does enough to personify your brand? Does it fail to connect emotionally with the audience?

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