Business is becoming increasingly driven by technology and in many cases – automated. Whether its an email auto response we receive, or a call centre we need to deal with, or even systems that check whether we’re due for a credit increase at the bank – we’re engaging with each other through technology far more than we are personally.

Is that really a problem?

Only if we let it become one. Advances in technology have the potential to obliterate that all important human touch, so it’s important to remember that people ultimately want to communicate with other people.

In business, we can use social media to personalise the way we come across to our customers. We can help them ‘get to know us’ by creating conversation points and a healthy level of familiarity and comfort with them.

Solid relationships translate to solid reputations

We all know that business success is based upon our ability to form and nurture solid relationships.

For example: In our social circles, popular people are generally the ones that make an effort to pick up the phone, pop in for coffee or invite their mates to a braai every other weekend. They’re engaging and fun and are concerned about others. In sales, a top sales person is the one who makes an effort to get to know his or her customers really well – to the extent that their customers usually look forward to seeing them!

That is the conversation and level of humanity and familiarity that we are referring to. Technology has its place in enabling us to be more efficient, but we should never rely on technology alone to get the job done. That human touch remains imperative.

Here is an interesting story about how a relationship that may have been solid on a personal or even community level, was severely damaged in part, through the incorrect use of social media.

Read through these lessons from Amy’s Baking Company – which uncovers how not to conduct yourself on social media (and these points are relevant) and judge the real story for yourself when you visit their Facebook page. The story with Amy’s is current and they are still trying to salvage the damage to their reputation – so this is a great example we can all track and learn from!

Using social media to reach out

The foundation of your engagement on social media should be personalised and emotive. Think again about that popular friend or sales person whose company you really enjoy. They connect with you. They make you laugh. They stir your emotions. Your communication on social media should be similar and have an emotional impact.

Here are our top 5 tactics to ensuring your social media messages help you engage on a more personal, human level with your customers:-

1. Personal Tone

When writing and creating posts, tweets or other content – keep your tone light and personal. Write in the way that you would speak to someone. Aim to initiate a conversation rather than speak ‘at’ your audience.

2. Avoid Jargon

Customers won’t think of you as more clever or knowledgeable based on the amount of jargon you weave into your content. Speak to your audience as you would when explaining what you do and how you do it to a friend.

3. Develop a Style

Within the network of people you work and socialize with – there are probably a few personalities that stand out in your mind. Aim as a brand to be a personality. Be consistent in this and you’ll be more ‘likeable’ and will help your customers remember you.

4. Be Interesting

What sort of information would you want to see? Apart from knowing what is important to your customers and creating content around that – prepare your posts, tweets and other content in a way that is interesting, thought provoking or humorous.

5. Respond to Messages

Be prompt and personal – but professional when your audience engages with you on your social media pages.

For example if someone follows you on Twitter – thank them for the follow and say something nice along the lines perhaps of the fact that you will chat to them soon. When a Twitter follower DM’s (Direct Messages) you, be sure to reply promptly. When you receive a ‘like’ on Facebook, a share, a comment or a direct message – respond to that person in a timely manner and again say something uplifting or encouraging.

The advantages of a personalised approach in social media

By positioning yourself as an approachable company, where the client really does matter, you have the opportunity to develop a far greater level of trust within your audience. In addition, you are able to keep up-to-date with the perceptions of your customers, as well as their needs and wants as you engage with them more openly and frequently.

In addition to really entrenching loyalty to your brand – using a personalized approach in social media will boost word-of-mouth advertising and this will go a long way in building a solid online and offline reputation for your company, which in turn will result in longer term success for your business.

If you’re still not convinced, read this post on HubSpot which shows us what a relationship should look like on social media.

Have your say!

We would love to hear your opinion and learn about your experiences with taking the personalised approach to social media – please share your comments with us!

Do you need some help to develop  your social media marketing strategy, or perhaps an expert to evaluate your online reputation? Contact Garth Dahl or Shiraz Khatib on 021 556 5661 or email us at – we’d love to chat to you.

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