If you have known me for any length of time, you probably know that marketing is one of my true passions in life. But when I say that, I don’t just mean that the actual act of marketing is my passion; but rather that using social media to engage with and help real people is something I think is worth being passionate about.
Using social media as a way to simply promote your products will get you only so far, and it won’t be nearly as meaningful for you or for your followers. However when you take a step back and realize that there are real people on the other side of that computer screen? It gives you a whole different perspective on using social media for your business.
In his new book, Human to Human: #H2H, social digital strategist Bryan Kramer calls for marketers to throw away their complex, top-down social marketing strategies and instead focus on simply ‘speaking human’. Being honest, being warm, being authentic, and putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers.
He writes, “I don’t care what language you speak, who your brand is or what message you’re trying to send, we all need to speak more human.”
So what does this mean exactly? What does this look like in real life? Following are 4 ways you can BE HUMAN on social media, instead of just a marketing machine.
1. Know Who Your Target Market Is.
We use the term ‘target market’ a lot in marketing, as a way to describe and define that particular group of people we are trying to reach. The problem with it, however, is that it has the potential to make us see our customers as a single entity, rather than as a group of diverse, unique individuals.
That said, understanding the commonalities this group shares can go a long way to helping us form marketing and communication strategies that are more likely to meet the needs of our customers or clients. Knowing how to meet these needs means understanding their:
- Pain points
- Preferences in terms of how they want to interact with you
For tips on understanding and finding your target market, see my Huffington Post article Find Prospects on Social Media and Turn Them Into Customers.
2. Understand The Multi-Dimensional Nature of Your Audience.
As I already touched on briefly, understanding the needs and interests of your target market also means acknowledging that your customers and clients are multi-dimensional; this means they are complex, diverse and WHOLE.
In other words, even if your target market is made up of working professionals, that doesn’t mean that’s ALL they are. They may be professionals, however they’re still mothers, fathers, sons, aunts, etc. Communicate with them in ways that acknowledge the whole person, not just the business person. [Tweet “People will connect with you on a personal level before they connect with your business or service. “]
3. Realize That Your Brand Must be Human, Too.
How do you present your brand on social media? Is it a nameless, faceless corporate entity with no personality? Or do you try to show that there are REAL people behind your brand?
People want to do business with people, not with brands. It’s not enough to acknowledge that your target market is made up of multi-dimensional individuals….let them know that your brand is made up of real, multi-dimensional people too.
When you communicate, don’t be afraid to express emotion and let your personality show through. Acknowledge when you make mistakes, rather than trying to cover it up. Remember that you’re talking with real people, not with ‘consumers’. People don't mind if you make a mistake nearly as much as they mind if you don't fix it. [Tweet “People don't mind if you make a mistake nearly as much as they mind if you don't fix it.”]
4. Think About How You Can Use Social Media to Serve Your Followers, Rather Than The Other Way Around.
Employing this one strategy could make such a HUGE difference in how brands use social media. When you think about your social media strategy, does it primarily focus on how your fans and followers can help grow your business? Or does it focus on how YOU can help THEM?
Keep in mind that you are in the unique position of being able to serve the people who are interacting with you on social media. How can you use your blog, your products, services and social media presences to meet their needs? Do you need to revisit your social media strategy to address this question?
When you understand and acknowledge that your customers are REAL PEOPLE, and when you can communicate in a way that your customers know YOU ARE a real person, great things start to happen. Trust is built, relationships are formed and communication flourishes.
T%his is the BEST way to build a profitable business that will continue to grow and meet needs over the long term.
Do you find yourself forgetting that your fans and followers are real people? What’s one thing you can do TODAY to communicate with them in an authentic, meaningful way? Share below!
LOVE THIS! Couldn’t agree more. Sometimes we get so infatuated with demographics, psychographics and putting people in buckets instead of writing directly to them and relating to their sophistication and emotion around a particular topic. I think that can change with the right tools!
I absolutely agree with you, Amanda!
Thanks for the lovely comment, Willie!
I so agree with you, Mike. While texting is good for short communication, once it gets to be too long or too detailed, or too personal, I go for the phone call. Nice to know I am not the only one! 🙂