5 ways to make your brand sound human online

It can be hard to give your brand a personality in 140 characters, but not impossible. (Hint: Visuals go a long way.)

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn—you use them not just for yourself, but for your organization.

It’s easy enough to chat with a Facebook friend about your new car or your kids, but it’s another thing to share part of your organization on a corporate Facebook page or Twitter account.

It can be a challenge to sound like a friendly human while representing an organization, especially in 140 characters on Twitter. It’s hard to sound human in a text box!

Thankfully, there’s a solution. With just a few tweaks to your organization’s online corporate communications, you can quickly give your organization a more human-sounding voice.

Here are five steps to make your organization sound more human online:

1. Type like you talk.

Make sure to type like you talk. This is hard for many of us.

An easy way to achieve this is to simply read what you typed out loud. Does it sound like something you would actually say? If not, rewrite. The goal is to create a conversational writing style that connects with customers.

2. Be visual.

Social media tools like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest all share something in common: They’re highly visual social media tools.

Customers like to see products, not just read about them. They enjoy watching videos of non-profits’ work, or a product manager talking about a new product line.

Combine this with the gear you already have in your pockets—your smartphone does video and photography quite well—and there’s nothing holding you back from visually sharing with customers.

3. Use video to connect.

In a video, no one wants to see your CEO dressed up in a business suit, reciting a memorized script about a new service. They want to see Jane, the customer service rep they just talked to, take a minute to share something helpful. A shortcut, quick tip, or even a short product review becomes infinitely more powerful—and more engaging—when you share it as a video clip.

Video is a great way to quickly share useful information. Share it in a conversational tone, and you will start connecting with your audience.

4. Ask questions.

Here’s a trick you can use with practically any social media tool, whether it’s visual or text-based: Ask a question.

Ask, and people answer. Ask customers about the use of your products or services. Ask what they like and what improvements they would like to see.

The trick isn’t so much the asking, but what you plan to do with the answers. I suggest you use those answers to do No. 5.

5. Celebrate customer loyalty.

Make sure to celebrate your customers! You can do this in many ways using social media tools.

For example, why not thank people for commenting on your Facebook page, or sharing their thoughts about a new service? If a customer buys one of your products and shares a photo, leave a comment on their photo.

Notice customers and interact with them as they use your products and services, and you’ll come across as more human. Create content with a conversational tone, be more visual, incorporate short videos, ask questions, and celebrate customers. Insert your personal touch into every interaction you have with customers, and they will come back for more.

David Lee King is the digital services director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, writes the Outside/In column in American Libraries Magazine with Michael Porter, and maintains a blog. A version of this article originally appeared on the V3 Integrated Marketing Blog.

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