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How Social Media Helps You Humanize Your Brand in the Marketplace

You may have heard the word authentic tossed around in blog posts, articles, workshops, or lectures as an important aspect of social media engagement. To put it another way: Be human.

"Of course, I'm human," you say. "And so is my team. We're all human." we know that you're human; however, you need to be human in social networks. Don't subscribe to a regimented formula, set stringent restrictions, or automate every possible action to avoid investing the time and effort it takes to truly engage — and to be engaging — in social networks with your following.

How social media helps you put faces to names

Being human in social media engagement starts with people, involves people, and ends with people. No social network functions without people who love to use it connecting with other people through it.

For example, the cable television company Charter posts customer service hours on Twitter and shows the people behind the brand. Charter features a photograph of its social media specialist (whose Twitter handle is @CharterAbby) as its Twitter icon and a photograph of its customer service team on its Twitter page to come across as friendly and approachable.

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Your main goal in social media engagement is to be human, real, and responsive so that people want to connect with you and your company in the same networks where they connect with their family and friends.

How to attract and engage people with social media

You're entering people's inner circles when they let you into their content streams. These content streams are the new online spaces where people are paying attention. To stand out to followers and engage them, you need to:

  • Attract their attention.

    News feeds on social networks move quickly, and most people now skim the feeds or reorder them to see only what they want to see from the people they know and like. Use strategic and relevant words and images to get them to notice.

  • Entice them to come to you.

    You want people to click on your links or images to move them away from the main news feed and over to the source — your website, your Facebook Page Wall, or another place that you own where you can provide them with more detailed information.

  • Compel people to take some kind of action.

    After people notice you and click through to the destination of your choice, give them something to do that is measurable — preferably, something that connects them with you for the longer term, such as sign up for your e-newsletter or like your Facebook Page.

  • Give people a reason to return.

    Based on where you've directed them, provide incentive for them to come back to you. If they've signed up for an e-newsletter, draw them in with your messages or invite them to one of your social networks to continue the conversation.

  • Convince people to do business with you.

    Continue providing value, be responsive, and interactive, and prove that they should stay in touch with your brand. Close the sale, but don't look at the sale as the end of the road. Converting a fan to a customer is only the beginning of a longer-term relationship.

In the age of information overload online, social media impressions must be even more attractive and more constant and consistent to make a dent in someone's attention. And it all begins with a human touch and with genuine, human connections made via social networks and other social media tools and platforms.

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