Justin Kline is the Co-Founder of the influencer marketing firm, Markerly
It’s hard to pinpoint when it started, but sometime in the last decade, people started to notice a shift in how brands were behaving online.
There were never any rules about what kind of tone a brand needed to maintain on social media, but for a long, long time, most brands behaved the way they thought was expected of them: cold, distant, advertorial and, most importantly, inhuman. At some point, this started to shift. As social media became more integral to a brand’s business, some of the savvier brands began to unlock a new way to use these new platforms.
Instead of the traditional, one-way communication brands were used to, some started to open up a dialogue with consumers. From there, brands became more human, and the possibilities became endless. Many brands started to realize the best way to connect with audiences was by behaving the way they do on social media: by having fun.
Here are just a couple of ways brands, both big and small, can boost their connection with their audience on social media:
Take Part In Trends
TikTok may be seen by some as a silly app for high schoolers to lip-sync to their favorite songs, but at this point, there are people of all generations on the platform. A brand that is still thumbing its nose at TikTok is leaving a lot on the table.
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The app has been an incredible way for brands to connect with audiences. Look no further than the use of trending sounds and videos. It might sound odd at first, but brands have received a lot of attention and audience goodwill by participating in popular trends or just acting downright silly on the app.
Chipotle, for example, has a remarkable presence on TikTok. Why bother putting so much effort into a fast-food chain’s social media presence? Everyone knows what they do, so who would feel compelled to follow them?
Yet, they have a whopping 1.7 million followers on TikTok. That doesn’t come from uploading traditional ads; that comes from embracing TikTok for what it is. They participate in trends. They make videos that look just like the ones everyone else posts. They don’t go above and beyond to have a glossy presence on the platform. They want their page to look like everyone else’s, and it works.
Now, there is Chipotle content being served to millions of people all day, every day. And it doesn’t feel like advertising; it feels like fun TikTok antics. Their brand awareness continually grows because of it, and their brand name seeps into the heads of users on a regular basis, which will ultimately prompt more people to think to themselves, “I could go for some Chipotle right now!”
Talk To Individuals
One of the great advantages of social media is its interactivity. Comments, tags and replies are all great ways for users and brands to actually speak to one another. Brands would be wise to take advantage of this opportunity, which traditional advertising does not provide.
What’s great about engaging with users on this level is that it does not need to be anything high-effort or over-the-top. You don’t need to surprise people with free giveaways or anything like that; all you need to do is reply to someone. That alone is often enough to get people on social media excited because the brand now feels like a person, not a faceless entity.
So, tweet back at someone. Answer someone’s question in the comments. Comment on a trending video. Do whatever you can to show there is a real human on the other side of the account having just as much fun on social media as everyone else is.
The more you engage with people in this fashion, the more likely they are to want to engage with you. Everyone wants a little shoutout from a popular brand, so they’ll be more likely to comment and engage with your brand’s content if you establish yourself as a brand that actively talks to its followers.
Wrapping It Up
Humanization is key. We are living at a time when brands and people are more connected than ever and all having fun in the same place: social media.
Brands would be wise to take advantage of this opportunity to not only increase their number of followers but also spread brand awareness and positive word of mouth. A few trendy videos and responses to user comments can go a long way toward increasing your brand’s reputation as a more human entity, rather than a cold, distant corporation.
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Author: Justin Kline, Forbes Councils Member