We’ve all seen it:…
The brand that replies to each customer complaint on Twitter with a robotic copy-and-paste response.
Cue major eye-roll.
Robotic responses are the quickest way to turn off your audience, and this affects your reach, conversion rates, and revenue. When they know they can’t get through to you, they stop trying.
This is where H2H (Human-to-Human) Marketing comes in. Humanizing your content keeps your readers, listeners, and viewers returning to your channels to engage with you, consume your content, and convert.
But how do you humanize your brand? How do you make online content that’s fun to read, watch and share?
This article will show you 6 ways to humanize your content and create a more loyal audience. Here they are, in no particular order:
Let’s dive in.
#1 Empathize with your audience
It’s natural for you to want your customers to associate you with good vibes and a great experience. But life isn’t always rosy. Bad things happen, and sometimes it’s a lot more practical to acknowledge those events than to try to paper over them.
Take 2020, for example.
The Year Of The Pandemic put a damper on almost everyone’s plans. (I say “almost,” because anyone who sold masks or ventilators was crushing it).
People lost their jobs, their friends, and their families to COVID-19. They felt hurt, depressed, and lost. Such a situation required astute brands to read the room and adjust their messaging accordingly. Some might have gone too far:
But how do you infuse your content with empathy? Here’s an example:
Say you owned a steak restaurant somewhere in the neighborhood, and your mayor just announced a lockdown. Which of these two social media posts would resonate most with your audience?
- We’re still open for business! Stop by the Beef Kitchen for a juicy steak dressed in Bearnaise sauce and wash it down with a Mega Milkshake! Throw in a plate of Cheesy Chips for just $1.99. T’s & C’s apply.
- The lockdown just started — and our top priority is to keep you home safe. That’s why we’re offering $5 off each meal order — delivered safely outside your door. You get to enjoy a yummy meal, and we get to stay open and support our staff. Thank you for being a good citizen!
It’s a no-brainer.
Empathy means showing that you genuinely care for what another person — your customer, in this case — is going through and are trying to help them get through a challenging situation.
It goes beyond pandemics, too.
- Heavy snow day? Empathize with the limited movement and snowed out driveways across the city.
- Rainy day? Empathize with your fans stuck indoors — and offer a way to cheer them up.
Be creative in how you help your fans get through difficult times. Empathy pays dividends, so serve it up generously whenever you can.
#2 Ditch the pitch
Ever seen a brand engaged in the Eternal Sales Pitch?
Day in, day out, all you see from their marketing channels is “Buy our products! Book our services! Give us money!”
When all you do is sell-sell-sell, your customers (rightly) tune out. Sometimes it’s more effective to tone down the sales pitch and offer helpful content that doesn’t directly involve your products or services.
This, by the way, is the very essence of content marketing — something we advise major brands on every day.
From a content perspective, you should ideally post three non-sales-y pieces of content for every sales post on your channels. Here’s what that looks like in practice:
- 3 posts about pizza flavors to 1 post selling your pizza.
- 3 posts about car maintenance tips to 1 post advertising your pre-owned cars.
- 3 posts about writing better content to 1 post advertising your content marketing agency.
And so on.
By maintaining the 3:1 ratio, you ensure that there’s enough valuable content to keep your audience coming back, with just enough marketing to bring in new sales.
But what types of posts should you publish on your channels? Simple:
#3 EMEI: Educate, Motivate, Entertain, and Inspire.
Creating content can be a long, challenging, and frustrating process without the right formula.
And I get it. You need to produce lots of content — fast — to keep your pages humming. But what if there was a formula to speed up this process considerably?
There is. It’s called “EMEI” — and it stands for “Educate, Motivate, Entertain, and Inspire.”
Here’s what that looks like in action:
Say you own a fitness clothing brand and sell gym tees, sweatpants, sneakers, and accessories. Your Instagram page needs some love but you’re stuck on what type of content to create.
That’s where EMEI comes in. It’s the ultimate content creation cheat-sheet.
EMEI helps you with the “3” part of your 3:1 ratio, and then some. Here’s what your content strategy might look like:
What topics does your audience want to learn more about? Perhaps they want to know the best gym routines (and how to avoid injuries). You could also teach them the best diet to reach their muscle mass goals or even explain the nutritional value of everyday foods like bread, cheese, and pan-seared Wagyu beef.
(What do you mean you don’t eat Wagyu beef every day?)
Education brings enlightenment, and everybody loves learning something new. Trigger this feeling often enough and your audience will keep coming back for more.
Staying fit is hard. Staying fit at home is even harder. Without the presence of a hard-charging fitness coach, your fitness page might just be the next best solution.
Motivational posts would keep your audience pumped to maintain a healthy lifestyle — and also link their hard-earned progress to your brand.
When they find themselves scanning your page for their daily shot of motivation, you’ll know you’ve solidified your presence in their hearts, minds, and well-sculpted glutes.
You could post quotes, daily videos, and other motivational content to keep them on track — and keep your brand top of mind.
Everybody loves humor (except for the Terminator). Laughter is good for your mind, heart, and mood. Making your audience laugh gives them a shot of dopamine that keeps them coming back for more.
If you come across memes, jokes, or other on-brand gags, share them to your feed (or your Stories) and gauge the response. You might just see a lift in engagement after you do.
People love to be inspired. Inspiration reminds them that others have walked the same path and emerged victorious.
Inspiring your audience gives them something to aspire to — and places your brand squarely at the center of those aspirations.
As a fitness brand, you could inspire your audience by showing them photos and videos of legendary tournaments, great sports heroes, weight loss achievements, tales of overcoming, and more.
And there you have it — the secret sauce to content creation that creates addicted fans. With EMEI in your toolkit, you’ll never again have to struggle to fill up your content calendar.
Another easy way to humanize your content is to…
#4 Ask questions – and respond to your audience
A common mistake brands make is treating their comms as a one-way conversation — a monologue.
The beauty of social media and other digital channels is that you can have a dialogue with your fans. Rather than filling up their feeds with your words, you can ask them questions and drive meaningful conversations.
Questions = engagement. When you ask your fans questions, you give them a chance to shape the nature, depth, and duration of engagement with your brand.
Here are some examples:
Ask lots of questions and respond to your fans — they’ll love you more for it. Another way to endear them to you is to…
#5 Show vulnerability
The truth is, no brand is perfect. Sometimes a project fails, a scandal happens, or a new product doesn’t live up to expectations.
The last thing you want to do is bury these gaffes under an avalanche of positivity — or worse, silence. So, what should you do instead?
Talk about it.
When you talk about your failures every now and then, you show your audience that not only are you not perfect but that you’re also strong enough to admit your mistakes and work towards fixing them.
Vulnerability = relatability. Everyone screws up from time to time; and as a customer, knowing that your favorite brand sometimes gets things wrong helps build a deeper affinity towards them.
You’re not alone, either. Some of the biggest brands in the world have publicly owned up to their blunders:
So go ahead and show some vulnerability in your content. Your audience will love you for it. Another thing they might love you for is when you…
#6 Spotlight the humans
Here’s the cold, hard truth: You are not the star of the show.
Not even close.
Your product isn’t the star of the show, either.
The fact is that your product exists to solve a pain point for your customer. They are the real star of the show.
And what better way to highlight your customer than to include them in your content?
Spotlights are a simple but powerful way to drive up engagement. When you showcase the real-life people who buy from you, you’re signaling to the rest of your customers that they matter, too.
Spotlights can take the form of:
- A story about a customer who overcame a challenge using your product.
- A new customer who just started using your product.
- A long-time customer who has recently achieved a huge personal goal, etc.
Spotlights don’t need to be limited to your fans, either. You can also highlight your staff for extra brownie points.
Who’s the latest member to join your team? Tell their story: where they’re transferring from, what they’ll be working on, and some cool facts about them. This endears them to your fans, improves your employer brand, and attracts a new audience who might never have heard of you before.
Likewise, who has worked for you the longest? Tell their story, too: how long they’ve been with your company, what they started out doing, their biggest wins, and some little-known facts about them.
Showing that you appreciate your staff is a GREAT way to humanize your brand and keep your customers loyal.
Increase your chances of landing the sale
Humanizing your brand pays major dividends.
When you show that your brand isn’t all about the sale, you increase your chances of landing the sale.
Weird, I know. But it works.
To recap, here are the 6 ways you can humanize your brand:
- Empathize with your audience
- Kill the pitch
- EMEI: Educate, Motivate, Entertain, and Inspire
- Ask questions – and respond to your audience
- Show vulnerability
- Spotlight the humans
Try these tactics out and watch your engagement and brand affinity soar. And if you need a hand with humanizing your content, give us a shout. We’re always ready to help.
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