I’ve been creating social media strategies for businesses and organisations for almost four years now, helping them reach tens of thousands of new customers and re-engage past customers too. In that time I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter how small, big, new or old a company is (or even what it is they’re selling) successful social media all hinges on one thing.
This one thing is often the vital missing ingredient. And if you’re struggling to gain traction on social media, it could be what’s missing for you.
Despite social media being designed to bring us together, it so often creates barriers and makes us lose connection with people. And I believe businesses need to relate and connect to their audience and customers in order to build affinity, likability and trust. These three things lead to sales, repeat customers and advocates - the lifeblood of any business or organisation.
So how do you create more human connection on social media? Here are some of my top ways you can start using today:
1. Put people first
Whether you’re a sole trader working alone, or have a large team of people working for you, one of the best ways to create more human connection with your audience is to showcase the people in the business and let your audience see who they’re working with or buying from.
We read a lot of information from fellow human faces and can create a positive bias toward faces we come to recognise, even online. The more your audience see your face, the more positive connection, and trust, you’re building.
2. Find Common Values
Companies that champion a cause, or hold strong to values which they share with their customers are the ones that stand out on social media. Even if you’re not a social enterprise you can still create a connection on social media with potential customers by sharing and talking about the things you care about as a business. I’m personally much more likely to respond to a company who is taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and I follow, engage and buy from businesses who talk about this on social media.
If you take the time to get to know your audience and what values you share with them, you can steer your online content towards those things to build connection, even in a small way. For example, my audience of small business owners and sole traders love stationery and despite embracing the digital world, still love the beauty of writing things on paper. So I sometimes share content about pens or writing a to-do list manually. You don’t have to be saving the world to build connection on social media through common values.
3. Share Behind The Scenes
Whilst branding is important and the image you portray of your business online is crucial, I have seen countless companies who embrace sharing 'behind the scenes' content on social media skyrocket their engagement. Just think about the nature of social media - it’s designed to play to our nosiness.
What better way to build trust and connection with a business than by seeing what goes on behind closed doors or day to day - not just the advertising we see? Transparency with your audience online will build strong human connection and trust. Open the doors to your business online and let your audience peer in (and maybe even get involved?)
4. Have conversations
I see far too many businesses just broadcasting news and information and chucking it out on their social media channels hoping that some of it will stick. One of the best ways to build the vital human connection for a successful social media strategy is to talk to your audience and customers on social media.
Put simply: have conversations.
That might be market research and getting their opinion on research and development. It might be just asking fun questions and getting their input in a light-hearted way. It might be customer service and responding to comments and queries on social media.
If you’re not talking to your audience, you’re not engaging them fully.
How can you and your business build human connection more with your audience? Which step can you adopt today and commit to? I promise not only will you enjoy social media more, but your audience will too and you’ll be seeing your results improve as you get to know, talk and engage with your online customer base.
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