Life is about connecting!
The connection you automatically have between you and your family. The connection you have friends or a romantic partner. The connection you build with your prospects and customers. When you think about it, our whole human existence has been built on connection.
So, why would your should your digital brand be any different?
The topic of brand is a rather confusing one in itself. Not a day goes by where someone doesn’t use the word in the wrong context. But, the truth is we’re always building our brand in one way or another.
Whether it’s in business by the type of customer service you provide or in your personal life by the actions you take. A brand get’s built regardless if it’s intention or not.
Building human relationships
As we move closer to an all digital world and automation becomes closer to 100% than ever before brand sometime forget about the human aspect of a transaction. Customer seek out the brands that move them, make them feel and connect with them.
In other words, less robot and more human.
There is no greater example of this then a business website. A mostly stagnant place of existence and sits on a screen hoping someone will read it. Like the wallflower at a party hoping someone will talk to them, more often than not people pass them by.
But, what if it was different?
The latest bell or whistle on our website can only go so far. Social media can sometimes work while other times comes off as pushy. If our lives and businesses are going to be tied up in technology then we should look for way make that technology work for us.
You and your customers want more from your digital brands and to step ahead of your competition you need to take a step back.
Back before the age of the internet, businesses had to rely on this weird thing old folks call ‘face-to-face’ interactions. The simplicity in connecting with another human being to build your brand can sometimes get lost. In our race to grow the digital side of our business we forgot about the human aspect of it.
But don’t fret, there are simple ways you can fix this ailment. If you’re looking to strengthen your online brand you just have to take a little digital out of it & add in some humanization. Here are 5 ways that you can get started humanizing your digital brands:
1. Who Are You (About Page)
It’s the first page your prospects will visit after landing on your website. Simply, it’s one of most important pages on your website because this is where your audience wants to find out more about you and your company. It’s also a great place to instantly add some human touches.
Often in our battle to win the great SEO game we forget that there is a human side to our business. We get so focused on finding the best keywords that we forget about making a connection. Keyword phrases are amazing to help prospects find your business but they only get them to your website, they don’t keep them there.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, competition online is fierce. For this reason alone you must take your about page from the black and white ‘this is what we’re good at’ to the more colorful journey of solving your customers paint point.
Here are three ways you can use your about page to make a connection:
1) Tell A Story
The first step is to get out of your own head and stop talking about your business. Instead, talk about what your business can do for your potential customer.
Your prospect only want one thing answered when they come to your website – “What’s in for me?”
Step inside the metaphorical shoes of your ideal customer and keep that question in mind when you write your about page.
Then take it a step further and create a narrative that, not only answers the ‘what’s in it for me’ question, but sprinkles in your ‘why.’
Take your customer on a journey that gets them excited and primed to buy from you.
2) The Interview
Maybe you’re not a writer but you still want to breathe some life into your about page. Video is a great way to do this.
But instead of staring at a camera and blurting out what you do, get creative and interview yourself & your staff.
Some great questions to get you started are:
- Why did you choose this line of work?
- What’s it like working for your company?
- What’s the best part of your job?
- What do you do in your spare time?
This helps uncover little gems about the passion you and your staff bring to the company and can helps draw out some personality for your website.
3) Be More Than A Mugshot
The about page pictures set the tone for the impressions you make to your prospects.
When they arrive at your about page they’re expecting to see some sort of profile picture and if you’re like 90% of about pages out on the web today you have the the standard professional image. Which is fine but is it memorable?
Think of the about pages you’ve visited how many of them do you remember?
I’m guessing the answer is the small fraction that did something different with their profile pictures.
We’re so use to seeing the ‘head and shoulders’ smiling professional that it may dip into the background. But, it’s the small 10% that take the standard picture a little further that we remember.
They are the ones where the person looks like they’re actually having fun or simply the employee at their desk looking up saying ‘hi’ like the visitor is walking by. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and separate yourself from the bland black background.
Get your audience thinking ‘she seem cool, I could see myself doing business with her.’
You don’t have to go crazy here but change it up enough that you give the impression that you’re an actual human being.
2. Get Social with Social Media
One of the greatest missed opportunities in business is social media and it’s not for a lack of trying.
Every business has a social media account, or many, but fail to get the most out of them. A lot even forget they’re supposed to be social!
In the great race against time, businesses sometimes get caught looking for better ways to streamline the process and they ignore the potential they have in front of them.
This is where you can have the advantage by simply being more like a human that wants to interact.
Social media is no longer just a thing we do, it’s a marketing discipline that is as much art form as it is a task. It’s an important aspect of any business’ digital brand.
Here are three ways you can your social media presence a little more human:
1) Automate Less
Marketing automation has really become a necessary evil.
The business world moves fast and nobody ever has enough time. This forces us all to automate parts of our business just to get everything done. We lean on it to give us a breathe of fresh air but sometimes we can lean on it too much.
Marketing’s fundamental principle, at a base level is to get our messages heard and when you’re constantly scheduling your social media your prospects stop listening.
This is not to deter you from marketing automation all together but,if you adopt a ‘less is more’ attitude you’ll find that your posts are reaching your audience. When you become more tactful of what & when you post you automatically start putting thought into what you’re doing and your audience will take notice.
2) Emotionalize Your Efforts
If you truly want to stand out from the crowd you have to start doing something different. Go against the grain in the most strategic way possible by thinking before you post.
Your goal should be to emotionally engage your audience with every post you send out. By incorporating emotional words in your posts you’ll be able to connect with your audience in a deeper way.
For example, instead of posting this article as ‘5 Ways to Humanize Your Digital Brand’, you could send out a post that states, ‘If you’re curious on how to bring your digital brand alive, you’ll love these 5 ways.’
Stating your post this way sets you apart from everyone else and it speaks to your audience at a deeper level. Put thought into your posts and your audience will love you for it.
3) Focus on the platforms that work for your business
Social Media has come a long way since platforms started popping up in the early 2000s.
It’s common knowledge that you should be promoting your business online at least somewhere. The key here is the word ‘somewhere,’ meaning not everywhere.
One of the main reasons is that we’re already spread so thin when it comes to time that we simply can’t market on every platform effectively. It’s important to understand what works for you in the time frame you have.
The second reason is to lean into your strengths. You’re not going to be good at everything and familiarity with one platform over another will bring out your strengths.
If you’re good at Facebook, stay on Facebook. If you have no idea how to work Snapchat then stay away from it. It’s that easy.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing and where they have a presence. Then look for your audience, the most important part of this equation. What are their habits? Where are they the most?
Find a marriage between your strengths, your audience and what you’re personally comfortable with. It’s in this place where you’ll find out where you need to focus most of your limited time.
3. Go Live (Live Video)
One of the latest marketing rages in the past couple of years is live video. It is one of the best ways to bring that human aspect of your brand to your customers because after the rawness of the medium.
At this point you’re probably saying to yourself “that’s great for some businesses but not for mine.” Well, if you are saying or thinking that – you’re wrong.
Every business can utilize live video in their marketing efforts. What makes it even better is that the technology you need is probably in your pocket. Every modern smartphone comes with a camera feature that is good enough to get you started.
Here are three ways you can get started with live video:
1) Behind The Scene
Consumers today want to be educated before making a purchasing decision. They want to know as much about the product/service as possible.
This includes how things are created, what type of person creates it and the quality that goes into it. The ultimate in transparency live video gives you the opportunity to talk to your audience through the process you take to get to the end result.
They get to ‘look behind the curtain,’ and really feel the passion it takes to make your product or deliver your service.
A monthly or weekly behind the scene on how things are run in your business let’s you not only show off your expertise in your field but, more importantly, shows off the kind of person you are.
2) Live Webinars
Have you figured out an interesting way to promote your business?
Do you have something you could teach your customers?
Something that would benefit them in their daily lives?
Then a live webinar could be the best way to convey that information.
Webinars instantly establishes you as an authority in your industry as well as, helping you build the credibility and trust customers are looking for.
A bonus of a webinar is that it presents an opportunity to build your email list for future marketing campaigns, when your audience signs up. You can even add in a little freebie at the end of the webinar leaving your prospects happy.
3) Exclusive Deals or Unveiling
This tactic is great when combined with social media and can be one of the most powerful marketing methods you can use.
Do you have a new product coming out? Or, do you have a new process that is of value to your audience?
Using an already establish social following you can build anticipation towards the unveiling of a new product or service. Start sprinkling seeds at a beginning of a week or month then at the end of the that time period you make your big announcement.
Everybody likes new concepts, ideas and products, by leveraging your announcement with video over a period of time you are telling a story and building desire. In combination with social media can bring on endless benefits.
And, you’ll be extending your brand’s influence by increasing your followers through social media. Maybe even harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
4. Make A Movie (Video Marketing)
Statistics show that you can increase conversion rates by 80% by including video on a landing page. A powerful point to understand and remember when deciding whether or not to start a video marketing program.
Adding to that, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and the third most visited website, you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that video marketing is here to stay.
While live video brings the direct human aspect to it, video marketing gives you the chance to make sure everything is right. You can map out the points you want to make, write out a script, and shoot the video in pieces to edit it later.
This is the perfect way to incorporate the human side of your business without going through the stress of live video.
Here are three ways to start using video to build your brand:
Vlogs, which stands for “Video Blog,” are quickly becoming mainstream as they are a more engaging way to spread valuable information.
You can use a vlog in place of or in addition to your blog. Run a weekly series about a particular aspect of your business that prospects would be interested in.
They show your personality, your work habits and your passion for your business.
If you want to quickly cover a topic or offer a tip that you want to share quickly simply hit the record button and let loose. Or, you can write down points you want to cover and edit what you’ve recorded. Maybe, you don’t feel like writing a long format blog it can be easier to explain a technique on video.
Having a Vlog will give you the perfect marketing mix by building your credibility in your industry while showing off a little personality.
2) Case Studies
If you run a service oriented business, you’ll find that case studies are a priceless way to showcase your past work.
It’s a nice combination bringing your process to the forefront, how you came to the end result and your ability to do the type of work you do.
By making it a video you can dive deeper into the case study giving your audience chance to get a look at your thought process and work habits.
A video case study is great way to connect with potential buyer building enough trust for them to contact you for potential work.
3) Animated Explainer Videos
If you’re on the shy-side of life or aren’t 100% confident in front of a camera, the animated explainer video is the way to go.
They give you chance to show off a product, service or process to your audience in a fun, entertaining way.
It’s as easy as choosing a problem that your business solves and through a series of steps you show your audience how you solve that problems authentically.
Another way you can use explainer videos are in ‘Countdown Lists’ infographic style. This way you give useful information to your prospects in a more engaging way than a stand alone post or static infographic.
You’ll instantly set yourself apart from your competition by presenting information in a unique way. And, because of this, you’ll keep your audience coming back for more while building trust and credibility through their buying journey.
5. Look Up From Your Screen (Get Off the Computer)
The last, but definitely not least, way to humanize your digital brand is to stop being digital.
Yes, that’s right get off of your computer, put your phone in your pocket and get out for some fresh air. It doesn’t matter what digital marketing techniques or tricks you implement nothing will top good old fashioned meeting people.
Connecting with your prospective customers offline is still one of the most invaluable ways to spread your marketing message and build your brand.
The simplicity of putting a face to the business will go a long way in establishing your business as an industry expert.
Here are three ways you can instantly connect with your prospects in real life:
1) The Business Meetup
Business meetups or networking events always run throughout the year for various industries and are an excellent way to build your brand.
They offer you a professional but laid back atmosphere to meet like minded business people who may need what you sell. The impressions you make here can start the word-of-mouth marketing engine and reach people who weren’t necessarily looking for your business.
You may find collaborations that are good for you and that could take your business to the next level.
Or, even find out what the competition is up to that could help you determine if you need to pivot your thought process or not.
2) Trade Shows and Industry Conferences
Trade Shows and Industry Conferences can be great especially if they are not related to your industry.
By attending events that aren’t in your industry gives you the opportunity to meet people that would be interested in your products or services.
You’re meeting people that you wouldn’t on a daily basis and leaving a positive impression on them. They may not be ready to buy right at that minute but when they are they’ll think of you first.
Taking that extra step, one that your competition may not take, could prove to be one of the best investments you can make.
3) Standing In Line
You never know who you can meet standing in line. More importantly you never know who you can help.
Go ahead, spark up that conversation and be friendly when you’re out in public. Remember, keep the conversation less about what your business is and more about the person you’re talking to. Don’t be in sales mode but rather in connecting mode.
Eventually, the seeds you planted in that little conversation will pay dividends in your business. After awhile the conversation will come back to you and what you do. And who knows, the person you’re talking with may need your help.
The more friendlier you can be when your out in the world the more positive impact it’ll have on your bottom-line.
Always keep this golden rule in mind when you’re out in the public: people like doing business with people they like.
As we inch closer and closer to an all digital world where it can seem a little robotic, doing the little things to make you brand more human will go a long way towards your success.
While your competition is busy trying out the latest technique or marketing trend, I challenge you to work on making your digital brand more human. It will breath life into your business’ brand and your customers will enjoy the process along the way.