One of the things I love most about social media marketing is that it has made businesses and brands personal again. Big faceless businesses seem more personal now that I can talk to individuals on Twitter or Facebook.
For small businesses social media gives us the opportunity to have personal, one to one relationships with our customers even if we never meet them.
If you have a bricks and mortar business it’s even more important. If your customers are familiar with you online they will feel more comfortable talking to you in store.
Whether you are a one person telling people about you and your story or an employer you should consider featuring more human beings in your online marketing.
Showing the humans behind your business will:
Make you appear more trustworthy – You aren’t a faceless business anymore. People will feel more comfortable knowing that they are dealing with human being.
Showcase your expertise – People will begin to know who in your organisation does what and who has expertise in which areas. Your staff can share snippets of this via tips and advice.
Personal connection – We used to have connections with the people we did business with. These connections almost disappeared as we started to do business further afield. Social media gives us the opportunity to connect with our customers again even if they are further afield.
Here are six examples of businesses featuring the people behind their brand as part of their online marketing:
Using Your Website – Red Oak Tax Refunds
Click on the Red Oak Tax Refunds ‘About’ tab and you will see a wall of smiling faces. Click on the tile next to any of those photos and you can learn a little bit more about the staff. You’ll find out what they do in the business as well as a bit of personal information. This allows customers to discover who they are talking to on the phone or emailing.
Using Your Twitter Profile – Eventbrite Ireland
Eventbrite are a large organisation yet when I visit their Twitter account I discover the person behind it. Within the bio I am directed to @ann_lowney the face behind the corporate logo. It’s good to know there is a real person behind the tweets.
If you are a smaller business including a bit of personal info in your bio can make you more approachable and spark ice breaking conversations. I recently included my three loves; cats, cake and Dr. Who in my bio and I’ve managed to get into conversations as a result of it.
Handing over the keys – San Diego Zoo on Pinterest
San Diego Zoo have handed over a Pinterest board to one of their Zoo Keepers. Amongst the boards full of cute animals, wild style and items on sale on the gift shop you will find ‘Zoo Keeper Rick’s board’. This shared board allows Rick to share his expertise adding snippets of info about the animals he photographs.
And then there’s this picture:
Using Facebook – Bunsen
Smiling faces in our newsfeed can catch our eye. Since they opened in mid 2013 Bunsen have been posting pictures of their team on Facebook. The un-posed nature of this photo gives us a taste of a friendly and fun restaurant.
Using YouTube – Kew Gardens
Video has the advantage of letting you see people when they aren’t perfectly posed. It can capture a personality in a way that would be impossible using images or text alone. In this example from Kew Gardens you meet the horticulturists as they taste the Trinidadian Scorpion Butch T pepper, one of the hottest peppers in the world. As they eat their personalities are revealed as is the humour and the team dynamic.
Stories – airbnb
For those of you who haven’t encountered airbnb yet it’s an alternative to using a hotel or a traditional BnB. Users can sign up to rent out a room in their home or an entire premises for a short period of time.
Unlike my other examples the ‘stories’ section of the airbnb website doesn’t tell us about the staff. It tells the stories of the people who share their homes. Each segment features a home owner. It tells us about their lifestyle, how they discovered airbnb and how it has changed their lives.
The videos are sometimes fun, sometimes moving but more than anything else they make us remember the people. This makes total sense. I don’t really care who is behind the airbnb software and marketing but I do want to know more about the people whose homes I may be borrowing.
I don’t like the term ‘humanising’. By revealing the people behind your brand you are just encouraging human interactions. The brand will never be human but the people behind it are. Telling the stories of you, your staff and customers can be a short cut to telling people what your ethos is.
Do you profile the people behind your business? Do you tell people about you and what makes you tick? Let me know in the comments box.
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