5 companies that act human on social media

The American Cancer Society, Chick-fil-A, WWE and more know how to relate to their customers on social media. Try implementing a few of their techniques.

“Being human” is an important theme for businesses right now. But how do you achieve it across an organization?

Mark Schaefer stated in a recent article that we need to strive to be more human because, “Ultimately people will buy from who they know, who they trust.”

Customers want to relate to brands, and be accepted and noticed by them. Many businesses are catching on, like The Bank of Ireland “signing” its tweets and some restaurants accepting tweet-ahead seating. Businesses are infusing their social media presences with life and acknowledging their customers’ needs.

I thought it would be interesting to look at five organizations that seem to be connecting effectively. I looked around the Web and thought about experiences I’ve had with brands. These five businesses stood out:

1. The American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society engages with its online community by responding to fans and congratulating survivors in an intimate way.

The American Cancer Society features people on social media and in YouTube videos in its quest to raise money to cure cancer.

The American Cancer Society actively reaches out in many ways. For example, it hosted a Google Hangout with GE Healthcare to talk about cancer prevention. The American Cancer Society also features survivors in much of its content:

2. Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A gets involved in what its raving fans do on a local level, whether that’s cheering at a football game or celebrating a birthday.

The company is one of the few that effectively integrates its paid advertising with social media. The company’s “spokescow” has its own social media account, which adds whimsy and fun to the company’s personality. The cow brings the company to life and creates opportunities for social sharing and conversation.

The company also connects to real-time events and conversations, like a World Cup goal by the home team:

3. Sprout Social

Sprout Social shines a light on its customers whenever it can. It makes the customers the stars of the company’s social media presence. For example, Sprout Social features customers in weekly best-practice articles.

It also empowers employees to engage with the community through their own Twitter handles.

Anytime a fan or customer mentions Sprout Social, the company responds. Don’t be surprised if the company rewards you for your support!

4. Buffer

When employees tweet from the corporate Twitter account, they always sign their names so you know who you are talking to.

Buffer maintains an extraordinarily transparent business operation. Search “transparency” on its, site and you’ll see all you want to know.

The company received kudos for the immediate and transparent way it handled a hacking attack. It was a bad situation, but the company actually created customer loyalty through the honest and human way it handled the crisis.

Buffer also publishes a weekly online diary sharing what it’s working on and who is doing what. It’s almost like customers are part of the company.

5. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

Every person in this huge entertainment franchise has his own Twitter handle, and the WWE encourages using them. Doing so adds an extraordinary element of intimacy to a business based on grand productions.

The WWE also works with child-related charities and the Special Olympics, and supports the military. Showing the company’s heart through social media posts helps fans connect in an emotional way.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Post by WWE.

The WWE encourages fans to tweet during each live show. Michael Cole, one of the announcers, reads fan tweets at random, which makes fans feel like they are part of the show.

When looking at these businesses, I saw four themes that helped them stand out and connect in a human way:

  1. They were active online in both posts and personalized responses.
  2. They engaged with their fans on a local level.
  3. They gave back to their fans in a way that enabled emotional connections.
  4. They encouraged individual employees to build direct emotional connections with customers.

How does your business measure up? Do you strive to make it seem human? Are there other examples you would like to share?

Mandy Edwards is the owner of ME Marketing Services, providing social media consulting services. Follow her on her blog, Twitter and Facebook. A version of this article originally appeared on {grow}.


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