We’re always trying to find new ways to humanize our brand. This is a timeless concept.
One of the basic foundations of marketing is to humanize your brand – to make it known, trusted, and, well, accessible.
If you’ve been paying attention (and I’m sure you have), humanization is going a step (or more of a giant leap) forward. It’s no longer enough to have a TV (or Hulu) commercial depicting a humanization of your brand (does anyone actually watch the commercials any more?) or to have a banner on the side panel of Facebook (have you clicked on one of those ads lately?). What you – what we all – need to do is build relationships.
It’s sort of like Sales 101. A customer doesn’t want to be seen as a bottom line; they want to be seen as a person, because, in fact – the customer is a person. We cannot forget this important reality.
And in today’s socially-infused-technological world, what brands need to do is build relationships through social platforms. A couple months ago, I hit on this idea briefly, but I mainly focused on utilizing Twitter. Since I’ve noticed a lot of related buzz lately on various blogs, I wanted to further highlight some great relationship-building tips.
1) Prepare to Take Time
- It’s no longer as “simple” as strategically planning a great marketing campaign, and letting go once it hits “the presses;” you have to invest in your customers for the long haul. Mikal E. Belicove of Entreprenuer.com explains: “An entire generation of advertisers will need to plan their marketing scenarios around the concept of building relationships.” This means planning on taking more time on the social scene – getting to know people through blog comments, helping customers on Twitter, and gaining an [interactive] following on Facebook. You can’t just hope your marketing campaign will do the trick; you and your employees have to do the trick – the long and hard way.
2) Offer Something (for Free)
- In other words, as Chris Brogan said in a recent post, “Be helpful.” It could be a free e-book, webinar, or blog. Whatever your means, be sure to provide something useful – answering a question, solving a problem, or stimulating new ideas. Being helpful by offering something that someone needs will build your base. It will start conversations. It will get people talking, and you can begin to build trust with people. But don’t forget to be helpful for free – this is key. You need to prove yourself before someone will trust you. Chris Brogan calls it “earning your way in.”
3) Be Human
- This sounds so simple that it seems laughable, but it’s often overlooked. When a marketing team is developing their social strategy, sometimes they lose touch of the importance to remain human. A customer wants to build a relationship with another human being – not a product. Olivier Blanchard of The Brand Builder’s blog puts it this way: you don’t “see people hanging out a Starbucks with their favorite coupons.” Maybe this means adding a picture to your Facebook profile to introduce the employee your customers will be interacting with. Maybe it means your employees being knowledgeable enough to recommend solutions to your customers. It depends greatly on your specific product or service, but the bottom line is the same: be human. Your customers are people, yes – but you and your employees are people, too. And your customers need to know it.
- What other strategies are you using to build relationships with your customers?
- What companies do you see excelling at building relationships? How are they accomplishing it?