It is a bit of a paradox. Businesses - that are run by humans, employee humans, and sell to humans - often struggle to present their brands in a humanized way online. Perhaps it is these business's attempts to be universally accepted. Or their misguided desire to sound like they fit properly into the box of their industry. Regardless of their intention, neutral and mechanical branding is increasingly ineffective in today's digital world. Businesses that humanize their online presence are better able to expand brand recognition and distinction, customer loyalty, and market share.
Recent studies reflect consumer preferences when it comes to the brands they choose to interact with:
- 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key factor in deciding which brands they like and support.
- 63% of consumers prefer buying from companies that are authentic and honest about their values.
- 70% of consumers feel that companies focus too much on sales pitches and not enough on building relationships.
By focusing on humanizing the online presence of your business, you will be better positioned to build trust, loyalty, and emotional connection with your customers. Even B2B companies, who usually take a more rational rather than emotional approach to their brand, can benefit from humanization.
Ways To Humanize Your Brand Online
Consider online forums as opportunities to speak to your customers rather than at them. Replace industry jargon and sterile sales pitches with your real voice throughout your messaging.
1. Write Friendly and Engaging Content.
Regardless of the platform, connecting with humans should be your number one goal in your online communications. Even businesses who are more industrial in nature benefit from a human, personable online presence. Speak to your customer with the words they actually use. Even if your brand is more technical, create content that speaks in human terms. Aim to connect rather than orate.
2. Leverage Your Website’s About Us Page.
A lot of businesses get this one wrong. An About Us page should neither consist merely of shortened resumes nor “John likes to bowl on weekends” type content. Instead, About Us pages should dive into what your business cares about. Your vision, your mission, your values. Share in an emotional but polished way what drives you as an organization, what inspires you, and what your hopes are for your customers.
3. Keep It Light Hearted When You Can.
Even some of the most technical, data-driven online content can be presented in a way that is relatable and engaging. Take the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, a yearly brief that reviews the statistics surrounding the impact of cyber threats. While the topic is serious and perhaps innately sterile, the content tends to be conversational and relatable. Reading it is like listening to your sharp yet amusing tech friend. Consider this approach in your online communications.
4. Maintain an Active Blog.
A blog provides an exceptional opportunity to talk to and engage with your customers, not to mention drive online traffic to your website. Post articles regularly. Write original, informative, and engaging content about the things you and your customers care about. Mix up the topics. Remember, blog articles don’t need to be overly long. They just need to be interesting and relayed in a way that speaks to, not at, the reader.
5. Interact on Social Media.
Most companies maintain some sort of social media presence, but many miss the mark on how to connect as real people. They might treat social media strictly as an advertising forum. Or in an ill attempt to humanize themselves, businesses go overboard in sharing photos of their holiday parties or other internal events. Neither of these approaches are actually effective uses of social media in humanizing their online presence. Instead, consider social media a direct line to your customers, prospects, and connections. Share content that matters to them. Celebrate your employees and share their successes. Talk about your values and the ways they are reflected throughout your company culture. Spotlight your customers and display gratitude in a heartfelt way. And be sure to always respond to comments and messages - and in a personable, relatable way.
There is truly no secret formula for humanizing the online presence of your business. It mostly boils down to being authentic and speaking to people in a way that is respectful, informative, and engaging.