Think of your social media accounts. Yes, all of them. What type of things are you posting about, talking about, worried about? Now think of when you scroll through your feed. What brands are you following? What makes you follow them? Do you feel connected with these brands?
As our world becomes consumed by screens and robots, what we are beginning to crave most is authentic, human interaction. We want to be treated like people—we are different in our own way, and want to be recognized for that.
Now put the two together. How do you create that human connection from behind a screen? How do you create genuine interaction when you are a large company? There’s not a science to it, but here are a few ways to get you started.
Video on Social
What better way to connect with people than to pre-record something, blast it out to thousands of people, and hope that people feel connected to it. Right? Wrong—and Facebook Live was created to prove this. The social media powerhouse built a video platform to allow users to showcase conversational, authentic video in real time for their entire network to see. Consumers are able to share interactions, live comments, and see everything unfold. Facebook Live isn’t the only video platform, so building video into your strategy as part of a campaign can be done in many ways.
According to YouTube’s official blog, one billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day. Yes, you saw that right, billion with a ‘B.’ That’s a lot of people and a lot of videos—putting video into your social media strategy simply makes sense. Adding videos into your social makes it, well, social. You're putting a human in front of people’s face instead of another stock image that leaves little room for connection.
Relatable content is key—everyone has a story, but if you aren’t telling it right, then it’s not going to be effective. Take the Love Your Melon brand for example. It was a startup company that came from two college students that began with the idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America. To date, they have given over 4.7 million dollars to the fight against pediatric cancer and over 147,000 hats to children battling cancer.
Whether you can connect with having high aspirations in college or with supporting a company that believes in helping with a cause, it’s an inspiring story that gives out positive emotion, creates connection and drives engagement.
Have you ever had a brand favorite your Tweet, like a Facebook or Instagram post, or view your story? If you have, I bet you’ve felt an instant connection with them. They responded! It’s not always what was said, but it’s important to show that the brands you follow are listening.
Take that feeling you had as a consumer and apply it to your brand—you’d be surprised at the feedback you will receive when you break the corporate mold and become human. The easiest way to do that is to take advantage of the content your consumers are already producing about your brand. For example, Lucy & Co’s Instagram does a great job of that. Their consumer’s tag the company in images of their dogs showing off their Lucy & Co style, Lucy & Co then reposts the image, give their consumer credit, and then puts some of the images on the product pages of their website.
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Staying authentic is something that can be incredibly challenging, but the most rewarding. If your brand is swaying between different personalities, standing for different values and constantly changing their voice, how are people supposed to relate to you? Once you have your brand, make sure you are staying consistent across all social channels at all times.
One of the top brands that consistently stays authentic is a brand we all know and love: Disney. Most grew up watching Disney films and continue to have a connection with the brand years later. Why? They’ve stayed authentic. In an interview with Forbes, Tom Boyles, Disney Park's senior vice president, said, “Disney Parks and Resorts exist to make magical experiences come alive.”
With that idea in mind, everything they do, promote and create, they make sure it has an experience tied to it. As Boyles said: “we set the goal to be relevant to every guest, every day, every time they interacted with our brand.”
We were first introduced to Disney through their movies (well, most of us). Keeping to their true selves yet staying with the changes in time, they have been able to create timeless movies over and over again, while staying true to their brand, and staying true to the Disney experience for more than 94 years. From The Lion King to Frozen, they have flawlessly kept their song and dance in true Disney style.
Whether you’re a large brand like Disney, or you’re a small coffee shop down the street, finding your voice and connecting on social media isn’t an option anymore, it’s a necessary part of your branding and marketing strategy. Creating human connections online is a challenge, but has been shown over and over that it’s possible, and extremely effective if done right.