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How Not to Be a Robot

How often have you walked up to a cashier, stepped into a business meeting, or called customer service ready for a fight? If you’re like me, brand interactions without confrontation are pleasant surprises rather than the norm. That’s not great new for you as a customer, but it’s a huge opportunity for you as a business owner, manager, or decision maker.


Time to recognize that their customers are people. You can beat your competitors (and cause more than a few smiles) by treating them like it. Why not start with the most human and direct channel for communicating with your customers— social media?


Nail down these four metrics for success on social media and you’ll grow a following of brand promoters as well profit chart that will look great on a quarterly report.


1. Build trust and know thy customer.

Before you can build a connection with anyone, you have to know them. Facebook Audience Insights is a great tool to learn more about your customers demographically. Social tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social offer analytics to show you which of your posts are resonating with your audiences. And, on a more personal and authentic level, actively engaging with your customers will help you get to know them so that you can better serve them. Formalize these insights in brand standards and audience profiles to engage with them in ways that are more meaningful for them and more profitable for you.


2. Work together to build value. 

Create content that is useful and helpful for your audience, rather than simply promoting your latest product. And to that end, don’t only post about your product and its uses – post lighthearted but relatable content that doesn’t necessarily relate to your brand, but is relevant to your audience.


If you sell insurance, consider yourself a resource for mitigating risk in all areas of your customers’ lives. If you sell CRM implementation solutions, how could your customers look to you to simplify processes and remedy pain-points in other areas of their business? When you solve people’s problems rather than sell them products, they might start to trust you. And we’re all more comfortable spending money with people we trust.


3. Communicate on an emotional level.

We are emotional creatures with logical justifications. You’ve probably heard of the golden circle from Simon Sinek. His point is so applicable to social media—communicate first from “why” you do what you do and your customers will justify their loyalty to you with “what” you do and “how” you do it. On social, this means telling your brand story, celebrating customer successes, sharing your passion for your industry, engage in philanthropy that matters to you, and speak from the core values that guide your business.


4. Consider your brand as a person.

We humans connect with our own kind better than organizations or bureaucracies. What does that mean for your business? Do things a (good) human would do. Be candid with your consumers and interact with them in real time. If your business makes a mistake, own it—quickly and publicly. If your customers include you in their social media lives, celebrate that and engage with them in real time. Recognize the power each customer has to impact your business (positively or negatively) online.


There you have it. Four metrics to start measuring your success on social media. Who knows? You might find they ripple out into other areas of your business as well. Because no matter what your accountants tell you, your customers aren’t metrics, profits, or trends. They’re people. And it’s more profitable, more strategic, and more fun to treat them like it.


It may sound cliché, but authentic communication really does work best in social media. It’s pretty easy to tell when someone’s heart isn’t in what they’re writing – make sure yours is immediately evident!


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