Social media allows businesses to share and connect with audiences based on interest, not geography. With daily refresh and a variety of audiences, social media is a platform that allows brands some flexibility in talking about more than just the nuts and bolts of their products or services; it’s a venue where businesses can humanize themselves—an increasingly important factor in marketing.
Just as individual users try to show off their best sides on social media, businesses have traits that show them off in the best fashion. So what are the most important traits brands should show off when marketing on social media? Below, experts from Forbes Agency Council share some of the characteristics they believe help brands stand out among the enormous social media crowd.
1. Authenticity And Personality
Brands should display their “authentic selves” through social media, which means conveying the personality and values of the brand. This can include posts that showcase a great company culture and the team behind the brand, customer success stories demonstrating the true value the customer experienced, and the broader impact and social good the brand is driving. – Elissa Liu, Influential Executive
Individuals show off in an effort to elicit “peer envy.” Brands have to be mindful of the “push” instead of “pull” in their marketing. The best way for brands to show off is to show they care about their customers. If you are a marketing agency, show off your clients’ wins. If you are a hospitality company, highlight great vacationers. Also, think of your brand persona and show off your team. – Jennifer Barbee, Destination Innovate
3. Benefits And Results
We review hundreds of sites each month, and most companies fall short on highlighting the results their customers have had with the product. Reinforcing the key benefits is crucial, especially on social media. Allowing visitors to be involved in the process and be recognized also helps. – Justin Christianson, Conversion Fanatics
4. Vulnerability And Humor
Create a persona for your brand. Honesty, vulnerability and humor are great traits. Be honest and vulnerable about lessons learned (or, to paraphrase Sandra Bullock, better to be the student in life than the teacher!). Don’t take yourself too seriously, and use humor, especially the self-deprecating kind, to make you appealing and accessible. Match the persona to your people and it will work! – Beth Noymer Levine, SmartMouth Communications
5. The Human Side
Any business is made of people, and others want to see and feel it. No matter what the nature of the business is, they need to showcase the process, the employees and the culture. Personalization wins over consumers. This is the reason why influencer marketing is so successful—they make it personal. Businesses can take the same approach by promoting from selling-persona to buying-persona. – Ally Spinu, USA Link System
Whether you received a bad product review or missed the mark on a new tech update, making mistakes as a business makes you human! Being open and honest about everything, from your supply chain to the results you promise customers, will build rapport with your audience and generate greater customer loyalty. Transparency makes you relatable. – Darian Kovacs, Jelly Digital Marketing & PR
7. Attributes That Build Trust
Stories, case studies or other examples that build trust in a brand are the most effective ways to show off. Savvy marketers need to communicate and demonstrate brand attributes—through their customers’ eyes—to build loyalty. If you’re a business-to-business brand, any time that you can “pair” your brand with another B2B is a win-win. If business-to-consumer, stories from ideal customers are best. – Francine Carb, Markitects, Inc.
8. Traits That Match Audience Values
The most important brand traits match your target audience’s values, interests and expectations. Don’t sell me features and benefits of your shoe, soda or tires. Show how your brand fits in and enhances my life and the people I care about. The old Michelin tire ad is a great example: a baby in a sideways tire moving down the middle of the road with the headline, “Because So Much Is Riding On Your Tires.” – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing
9. Social Corporate Responsibility
Showing social corporate responsibility and demonstrating why a product or service matters to its particular ecosystem are increasingly important for marketing and social media. Today’s consumers want to know how what they buy is part of a bigger picture. “Doing good and doing well” is always a good message to incentivize consumer spending. – Susan Akbarpour, MAVATAR TECHNOLOGIES INC.
10. Client Impact
I believe in keeping client impact at the center of everything you do, whether on your website, in content marketing or social media. When you focus on clients first and on trying to help them achieve their goals, you develop real brand affinity. This is where case studies, testimonials and video-based documonials cannot be beat. They really work. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
11. Willingness To Set Things Right Quickly
In America, people will tolerate mistakes made by businesses. What they won’t tolerate is an inability to fix those mistakes. Typically, they’ll head to social media to remedy the situation, in which case your social media managers should be empowered to immediately offer some sort of compensation proportionate to the inconvenience, be it a refund, a discount or free product. – Jess Cook, TMV Group
12. Culture And Staff
Customers want to see the real people behind a business. Showing off company events and promoting the culture of your organization makes your business more authentic and relatable. Just like you would take a nice pic of yourself and post it online, you want to do the same to showcase the camaraderie of your team. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com