humanizing your brand“Welcome to the Inbound Marketing Agents blog. IMA is happy that you stopped by. The company wants to help you with any questions you have about design, social media, content, and design. These are IMA’s specialties, and it’s a pleasure to share them with you.”

Tell me—what strikes you about that message? Sounds stiff, doesn’t it? And, if you experienced it in a vacuum (i.e., if I weren’t listed as the author of this blog), you wouldn’t know I was the one writing it, would you? In other words, it’s the voice of a company, but not necessarily of the people behind the company. It’s a bad example of humanizing your brand, because other than using emotional words like “happy” and “pleasure,” it doesn’t really humanize at all. If we re-wrote it to say the following:

“Welcome to the Inbound Marketing Agents blog. We’re happy that you stopped by. We want to help you with any questions about design, social media, and content. These are our specialties, and we want to share them with you.”

Okay, so it isn’t the best copy in the world, but the message still sounds more welcoming, more natural, more human. The point is that making your brand speak like a person can make a world of difference in attracting new customers. But humanizing your brand goes way beyond writing good copy, so we’ve compiled some tips on ways you can make your brand more accessible.

Use Pictures of Employees on Your Social Media Profiles

A photo of your employees can make for a great Facebook cover photo. Treat the cover photo like a Congress member, and give the visitor an inside peek at what you do. Whether the photo shows a moment inside or outside the office, your cover photo can speak volumes about your company. For Twitter, you can use images of employees as the background for the company Twitter account.

Let Them Know Who’s Tweeting

In the company Twitter bio, the person in charge of Tweeting can list their own handle. This lets other Tweeters know who’s posting. If you don’t want people to click right over to your own Twitter, however, you can simply list the name of the person managing the account.

Let Employees Post for the Company

If your team members post on the company’s social media profiles every now and then, their views will add flavor and variety to your posts. As engaging as your posts may be, it will be good to mix things up with different voices. Plus, your audience can get a true sense of the multiple people behind the company curtain. If you have the team answer questions posed on social media accounts, you’ll seem less like a faceless brand, and more like a group of helpful and distinctive individuals.

Close Emails with Your Name, Not the Company’s

HubSpot found that open rates and click-through rates were both higher when emails contained the name of an employee, not just the company name. To recreate their success, make sure that your email feels like a personal message, not just a form letter. Have the email contain not only your name, but the customer’s, too. Nothing says “Do not read” like an email that opens with “Dear customer….”

Make an Intro Video

If you want to really humanize your brand, try making a video that briefly introduces you, what you do, and why you like working at the company. Since the visitor will see you speaking, they’ll get an even clearer picture of who you are. A million things about you can be captured in video that may get lost in writing—speech patterns, body language, tone, etc. Especially if you’re better at public speaking than other forms of communication, a video can help you shine.

Include Employee Photos and Bios

Much like social media posts written by employees, photos of your team members will show your site visitors the faces of the company—quite literally. By having bios that highlight each person’s interests, hobbies, and professional expertise, your site will tell visitors more about your company. Specifically, pages that highlight your employees will let you get a sense of what it’s like to work there, based on the people who call the company their home.

Hold Community Contests

Having fan-driven contests can humanize your brand by getting your customers involved. Have photo or video contests, and showcase submissions on your social media profile. Placing the focus on fans can show your prospects that you’re all about the customer. And in the end, isn’t that what business boils down to—people helping other people?

If you’re stuck wondering what to say to make your brand more human, think about what makes you smile, what moves you, and what lingers in your mind after you see it. Chances are, it will have the same effect on someone else, too. Be open to sharing yourself on your website and social media. Your customers will feel a much deeper connection with your business because of it.

Image credit: Cho Joo Young