Humanizing Your Brand: How to Drive Sales on Social Media

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is rooted in connecting with your target market. Authentic social media marketing means looking past your audience as a target market, and looking at them as people just like you. People want to engage with brands they genuinely like. More importantly, they want to spend their money on brands they feel connected to.

Take a minute to think about your favorite brands. Do you think of them as a company focused on the bottom line with sales goals and a market penetration strategy? No, you think of them as a personality you connect with and a community you want to be part of.

Here are a few tips on how to humanize your brand in order to create a loyal and engaged following — and ultimately drive sales.

Nail your unique brand voice

Perfecting your brand voice sets the stage for the rest of your social media strategy. Write in first person using “we” and “us,” speak in layman’s terms, be authentic, and ensure your tone and copy embody the organization.

To someone outside the Mazda aftermarket and performance parts community, this post could be confusing. But to the active #CSfam, this is right up their alley.

Perfect your brand voice and make it authentic to your audience.

The post uses first person, speaks in layman’s terms, uses community terms (see booty and #TailEndTuesday), and embodies the organization’s brand.

Connect with consumers on a personal level

This is where long-term relationships are built. Give consumers your attention and you’ll get theirs in return. To get personal with your followers, use these techniques:

  • Engage in the conversation.
  • Use their name.
  • Use humor that fits your brand.
  • Make your responses unique to each person.

Since I’m a marketing nerd, I test my favorite brands and see how they do. The Twitter account for Starbucks’ famous Pumpkin Spice Latte encapsulates all four of these techniques, all in one tweet.

An example brand voice tweet from Starbucks' famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.

They replied to my tweet, used my name, threw in some humor, and went the extra mile to customize their message based on my profile. Talk about accomplishing a lot in 140 characters. Take the opportunity to bond with your happy customers considering 50 percent of people have complimented a brand on social media.

Acknowledge your mistakes

Owning up to a mistake shows you’re human, calms down an angry customer, and builds trust between them and your brand. Seventy-one percent of consumers who experience positive customer service on social media are likely to recommend the brand to others.

A passenger flying on JetBlue tweeted about a faulty TV during his flight and the company jumped at the opportunity to sympathize with him.

JetBlue passenger tweet complaining about a faulty, in-flight TV.

JetBlue's tweet reply to a disgruntled passenger.

By listening to the customer, acknowledging the mistake, and working to fix it, you could end up with an even happier customer than you would have if you’d gotten it right the first time.

Example of JetBlue listening and responding to customers on social media.

So how do you actually drive sales?

I hate to break it to you, but people don’t use social media to read about your promotions. To drive sales, think about the customer’s needs and wants. Sales isn’t about pushing your products on consumers; it’s about finding and meeting their needs.

Social listening
You can learn a lot about your current and potential customers’ needs through social listening. What a novel idea, actually listening to the consumer. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just give them what they want.

Show how your products can integrate into your customers’ lives
Whole Foods knows their target market lives a healthy lifestyle. This tweet doesn’t say, “Come buy chia seeds and maca powder for your smoothie at Whole Foods.” Instead, they’re offering practical knowledge to meet their customers’ needs. But you can bet your bottom dollar they sell all these superfoods in their stores.

Example of a soft call to action by Whole Foods on social.

Remember, your customers are people just like you and should be treated as such. When your focus is customer needs, driving sales is as easy as giving the people what they want.

Have a tip to add? Share your insights in the comments below!

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