Businesses Are People, Too: How To Humanize Business Online

These days, the name of the game for online marketers is “engagement,” rather than ROI. Many social media pros advise everyone involved with a company’s online activities – whether they are the business owner, in the C-Suite, a part-time community manager, or somewhere in between – to be human in their interactions when posting on social media or otherwise representing the company online.

Indeed, doing so contributes to developing relationships with potential clients online, which proves to be a huge way to humanize business. Without a doubt, buyers who perceive a company as “human,” are more comfortable in doing business with them in the short run, as well as continuing to do business with them in the long run.

Being human as a business really isn’t such a new thing when you think about it.

Face-to-face meetings and telephone calls used to be the norm for company representatives, but email and social media have contributed to a decline in human interactions during the past decade or so.

The ability to humanize business online can help your company stand out from the rest in the long run. Human nature dictates that people prefer to do business with people rather than logos.

So, how can you humanize business and maximize your social results?

Rule #1 is to be yourself and be honest about how you do business. Companies sometimes position themselves in a particular way on social media which may be completely different to how they do business as an effort to be taken seriously. It reminds me a lot of how a person puts his or her best foot forward when interviewing for a job, or going on a date.

As a business though, you can ruin your reputation both online and off if you mislead potential clients. Leads need to know who you are up front in order to develop a sense of trust and to continue doing business with you. Be honest and transparent on social media so people know exactly what your company represents.

Another way to humanize business is by avoiding hard sales tactics…or even soft sales tactics.

Social media has increasingly become more about developing relationships than generating sales. Let the sales department handle the selling – that’s their job.

Humanizing your business online means having conversations through social media channels with people who share your business’ interests. It also means speaking their language, rather than bombarding them with industry jargon. If these people happen to be “shopping” for what your business offers, then you are less likely to run them off if you avoid selling to them.Be available to your audience and provide them the value they deserve by being as informative and engaging as possible without a sales pitch.

Still another way to humanize business is by allowing your employees to be social, too.

Who else is able to convey the human side of a business better than those who are living it?

Depending on your industry, employees could represent your company through blogging, sharing pictures of day-to-day office activities on Instagram, live tweeting from company events on Twitter, and so on.

This introduces your business’ audience to the real people behind the company and may help them feel more engaged as a result.

 

Over to you

Are you convinced that businesses are people, too? In what ways are you seeing companies taking steps to humanize business online?

 

Resources:

Hubspot http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33525/12-Simple-Ways-Marketers-Can-Humanize-Their-Brand.aspx

Business 2 Community http://www.business2community.com/b2b-marketing/being-human-the-best-b2b-marketing-strategy-0456672

 

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Jennifer Hanford

Jennifer G. Hanford is the owner and managing director of j+ Media Solutions, helping small businesses and professionals grow through social, content and data solutions. She is a member of the editorial team for San-Francisco based Social Media Club and writes about social media for B2B's as a monthly contributor to their website. Follow her on Twitter at @jennghanford.

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