Immersed amongst thousands of languages, digital logic tells the story about the intertwined and complex relationship between binary codes and robots; yet in front of each computer, we find human beings connecting with other human beings and not machines. This concept took a huge boost to surf away by the time the 2.0 wave opened some room for dialogue between clusters of networks.
So, in order to create connecting experiences with our users, we must first “humanize” our corporate speech to make it sound and feel more like a human voice, as explained by Boston-based firm Consulting Group in a study conducted earlier this year. In a nutshell, the story delivers this bottom line:
“It’s no longer about what I “bought” but rather what I “did”.
Today, almost anyone can log into the Internet and peek into the digital world on a 24/7 basis, so to speak, and we can tell our story without the physical hassles of dealing with middle-people and negotiating obstacles in a way that was just not possible before. However, always be mindful of the fact that users’ opinion about the Internet is no longer confined to the borders of a “one to one” communication environment. This is one of the virtues of the digital world: it delivers straightforward, immediate and full duplex.
Let’s briefly go over some reality-checking facts. A recent study conducted by Performics and the Return of Investment Research showed that one-third (33%) of Twitter users will have a virtual say when it comes to a brand at least once a week, while another study presented by Forrester Research revealed an eyebrow-raising 45% of Social Media users reaching out and interacting with a brand at least once a week as well.
This shows that users got tired of being addressed as a group as opposed to individuals, which is what they are at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if there are millions connected to a live stream, as individuals, we relate to one-to-one stories.
Technologies to reach out are good but leave the “Human” element. If you believe brands are not human and therefore can’t interact with users, pay some attention to this: If behind each brand there are people with stories and their followers want to know about those stories, now is the time to share them. To users, knowing there’s another human behind the brand “speaking” won’t impair the reality “feel” involved when the interaction with the brand takes place.
In my opinion, these three tasks will help you achieve a humanized digital communication speech:
- Interact with users: Don’t be a Virtual Potato Couch. Start making comments, reading posts, replying to comments, asking questions and sharing content with both your current followers and would-be followers too.
- So, what’s your story?: Tell your story and show your team – or your coworkers and family if it is a personal brand – because it is key that your followers know those personal details about you and your “story”.
- Come down from your personal heaven: By being close to your followers and “keeping it real”, you’ll let them know you’re there to connect and be reached whenever they feel the need to communicate.
On a recent edition of the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the CEO of an industrial supply company talked about how his company proactively monitors, analyzes and replies all comments coming from their clients. “There is a huge impact when you answer to someone posting a comment through your social media outlets” – he clearly points out in the article. As I mentioned in an earlier article: “Listening is an essential part of understanding what constitutes an effective strategy”
Another quite ingenious case is the “Mano y Mano” between chocolate heavyweights Oreo and Kit-Kat to gain the love of one particular Twitter follower. This virtual love crusade went on like this:
@Laura_ellenxx twitted confessing her love for chocolate:
“Can tell I like chocolate a bit too much when I’m following @kitkat and @oreo hahahahahah”
- @KitKat replied the Tweet by challenging Oreo to earn Laura’s love over a virtual Tic-Tac-Toe match:
“The fight for @Laura_ellenxx’s affections is on. @oreo your move
- As a result of this @Laura_ellenxx felt she was walking on clouds when she tweeted:
“@kitkat @oreo OMG AM I IN HEAVEN”
The Oreo brand handlers could have done anything, even ignore the message, but then this would not have been such a funny story for anyone, including Laura herself. The brand won the match in a rather clever fashion.
- @Oreo answered:
“Sorry @kitkat we couldn’t resist… #GiveOreoABreak”
Well handled Social Media outlets are a huge Focus Group by themselves because, inside them, users speak out from the heart and tell you what they think in a way that wouldn’t be possible in any other context. Needless to say, Brands that understand this reap benefits of their one-to-one personal interactional harvest.
There are millions of ways to profit from interaction with your users. Speak in an open and genuine way, inspire them! Make them laugh or cry with heart-touching stories because behind all great household names there are also human beings. Now go out there, show a bit of human backbone and come tell me about it later.