No matter whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, you are in the business of selling a product or service to, well, people.
And people don’t buy products or services from businesses, they buy them from people. Some of the most successful companies are often linked inextricably to one person, even if that person is no longer alive.
It’s hard not to link Ford with the legendary Henry Ford. Even Dodge has recently capitalized on “celebrity CEO” persona with an introduction of the lesser known Dodge brothers.
Every one of your clients, customers, and followers is a human being.
To sell your product, you your best bet is to humanize your company and, therefore, the content you publish.
By humanizing your content, you become more relatable to your clients and consumers. This in turn makes them more eager to buy your product or service.
Here are 5 ways to humanize your content to make your brand more relatable.
1 – Establish an Emotional Connection
No matter how hard some may try to deny it, at our core, humans are emotional beings.
As much as we desperately long to make rational purchasing decisions, we don’t. We make emotional purchasing decisions that we later justify.
One of the best things for your brand is to develop a corporate personality that relates to your target demographic.
Is your brand fun, serious, pragmatic, spontaneous, romantic, quirky, bold or traditional?
When you connect your brand to your target audience also keep in mind: opposites attract.
Beer and alcohol companies don’t encourage drunken, irrational behavior, they encourage serious, sophisticated, responsible drinking.
Nike doesn’t target professional athletes. The explicit aim of their “Belive In More” campaign is not to sell shoes. It intends to “let young people know they have the power to become the best versions of themselves”.
Apple is known as a safe, reliable and dependable brand. They know exactly whom they appeal to and whom they do not. They have also established themselves as passionate lovers of the environment, working tirelessly to minimize their footprint and create more and more eco-friendly products.
One of the very best ways to humanize your brand and content is to align yourself passionately with a cause and become a global leader in creating change.
2 – Create Custom Content
You can no longer make your content stand out from the crowd if it’s generic. The majority of your content should reek of your brand oozing from every one of it’s digital pores.
While it is easier than ever to get custom content made for you at a reasonable price, there are a number of ways in which you can create your own custom content.
The likelihood is, you probably have a wealth of untapped talent right beneath your nose.
There is probably no one more qualified to create a message for your company than your own employees.
You might be surprised to find an aspiring songwriter in your midst or a witty wordsmith or just someone who is personable and engaging on camera. Have them shoot short videos that explain what you do and why it is important.
Whether it’s white papers, webinars, podcasts or a blog, take a tip from Moz’s Whiteboard Friday and tap into your employee’s creative potential.
3 – Use Social Media to Build Relationships
Today’s brands do not just have clients or customers, they have followers.
In some cases those followers create a media and marketing blitz that no money in the world can buy.
In April of 2017, a teen by the name of Carter Wilkerson randomly tweeted Wendy’s asking how many retweets he would need to get to get free nuggets for a year. Wendy’s responded with a figure of 18 million, and Wilkerson replied “consider it done.”
What followed was a media and marketing firestorm. It gained the teen over 3 million retweets, making it the most retweeted tweet in Twitter history – breaking even Ellen’s record for her epic Oscar pic. It also gained Wendy’s the kind of social buzz money just can’t buy.
Using social media requires consistency. This also requires you to become a custom content making machine.
Custom content doesn’t have to be expensive or require a huge additional budget. While it’s handy to prepare most of your posts week in advance, sending the right tweet at the moment events happen generally goes viral.
Make sure you have a good mix of live and planned posts, pics or tweets.
Capitalizing on social media also requires responding to your fans and followers.
You never know when even a random post might go viral, like this epic tweet war between Taco Bell and Old Spice.
4- Put People Before Sales
Relationships are one of the most important components of sales. Yet many business struggle to wrap their heads around this concept.
Think about personal relationships. If a neighbor that you’ve respected for years were selling a car, you’d probably be far more likely to buy that car than you would from a total stranger.
Brands that are known and trusted can actually charge more for their products than off-brands if the off-brand has a better product!
But how do you become known and trusted? You put people before sales.
If you look closely, some of the best and biggest brands actually do the least amount of advertising.
In May of 2017, established grocery chain Whole Foods kicked off its first-ever national marketing campaign. In spite of having been a national chain for more than 3 decades. It wasn’t until 2014, that legendary coffee giant Starbucks launched its very first brand campaign.
If some of the industry leaders aren’t relying on advertising to sell their products how are they doing it?
It should come as little surprise that many of the companies that do the least amount of advertising also regularly rank as the top companies to work for.
Marketing it not always about advertising your products and services to the world. Sometimes, marketing it about treating your customers well and they become the best advertising there is.
5- Show You’re Human
A business is nothing more than a collective of human beings.
Everyone in your company has a story and their stories weave together to create the fabric of your company story. And people want to hear that story.
It’s not just the successes people want to hear about either.
It’s okay to share some of the setbacks, the failures and the problems, challenges and obstacles you’ve encountered on the way.
Even automotive and tech giants like Toyota and Samsung have encountered missteps. They are still industry leaders because they owned it publicly and made it right. Sometimes, a huge gaffe is simply a great opportunity to present your company as simply being human.
And humans make mistakes.
You can go a long way towards humanizing your content and your brand by showing employees just being human.
Whether it’s one of your employees celebrating the completion of a marathon, your interns sharing a goofy or silly dance or even a random once-in-a-lifetime hook shot from the warehouse floor, encourage your employees to share their highs and lows on the company’s social media platforms. Ask them to tag your company in their own posts.
High quality, personable content is quickly becoming the latest form of SEO.
Your employees will be either your best or worst marketers. Treat them well and they will treat your customers well. And customers who are treated well will almost always come back for more.
That is called brand loyalty.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Gordon is a business-focused marketing professional based in Houston. His mission in life is to help his clients get quality and consistent leads using the latest online marketing and SEO strategies. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and watching sports. Follow him on Twitter @ericdavidgordon