Imagine, if you will, an office where everything is gray; the chairs, the walls, the floor. The employees are all similarly dressed in gray tones as well. There are no expressions on their faces and their voices are monotone. It’s cold and robotic.
Now think about the last time you were on a business’s social media page or reading their content. Was it fun and personable or was it drab and gray? It is surprising how many businesses are still following this no-personality, all-business persona. Maybe it's because they are afraid they'll be perceived as unprofessional, or maybe they just don't have the right person managing their web marketing and social media accounts, either way, they are failing to engage their audience.
If you are one of these businesses, then it is definitely time to rethink your company’s image.
The Times, They are A-Changing
Millennials have stated that they are less like to respond to advertising and more likely to respond to a friend’s recommendation. And the reality is that today's recommendations happen online--on social media or review sites like Yelp. This should not come as a surprise since people have always been more likely to buy from someone they know and trust. Thankfully, several businesses are catching on.
Obviously, this is easier said than done. One of the most important elements of gaining people's trust online is having a human presence and giving your company a voice. By humanizing your company and becoming your target market’s trusted go-to, you are not only earning their loyalty and business, but you are breaking away from that sea of gray and standing out like a bright shining beacon.
Let's look at a couple examples of companies that are revolutionizing their brand by adding a human presence to their web marketing.
Sonic the Hedgehog
You probably have, at one point in your life, played a Sonic the Hedgehog video game. If not, you have at least heard of him. Unfortunately, this speedy blue pincushion has been having a rough decade. Lackluster games, poor media and merchandising, and boring marketing campaigns have forced a brand, that once stood toe to toe with the likes of Super Mario, into the proverbial gutters.
In 2015, after seven years, Sonic the Hedgehog’s social media marketer left the company. The next day a new trend of Facebook posts and tweets hit the internet. They were edgy, funny, relevant to current internet trends--including memes. The company started responding to people’s comments and re-tweets. The results have been astronomical. It appears Sonic's new social media strategy made an effort to understand their buyer personas and start building trust with their audience. Granted they did this by trolling their audience most of the time, but hey, it worked!
Another example is the fast food company, Chick-fil-A. It may surprise you to learn that this fast food chain, with their simple slogan of "Eat mor chikin", is ranked higher in social media success, above companies like Netflix and Amazon. Experts say that one of the keys to their social media success is staying actively involved in their communities. Local restaurants often post messages cheering for their local sports team or celebrating the birthday of one of their regular customers. It’s amazing how such simple things have boosted them to the top. What’s more amazing is this tactic is not utilized by more companies!
Staying involved in their communities not only builds loyalty, but also keeps them relevant and in the public’s eye. Another key to their success is their willingness to push boundaries. They are taking a risk by trying new and unconventional tactics and by being a little weird. These risks are obviously paying off though. By being different, they are standing out.
You can too!
Rise Against the Machine
You would be wise to follow the example of these businesses who are standing out against robotic-like marketing tactics. It’s a simple truth that people want to do business with other people. Even scientists are working around the clock to make robots more like people. Human-to-human communication will always win. What are you doing to maintain human-to-human communication?
Corey Smith is the founder of Tribute Media and serves as the Digital Marketing Strategist. He is also the author of "Do It Right: A CEO's Guide to Web Strategy" and "Tweet It Right: A CEO's Guide to Twitter."