Six Ways to Humanize Your Social Network Pages
Say you follow your favorite local coffee shop on Twitter. You probably do it because you feel a personal connection. There’s a person behind the account, and you enjoy hearing what he or she has to say. The coffee shop likely has made a deliberate effort to engage you so that you stick around.
Establishing a personal presence on social networking sites takes some finesse if you’re ultimate goal is to generate business. You don’t want to seem like an automated Twittering robot, but you don’t want to come across as overly casual, either.
Below, find a few tips to put a human face on your various social networking accounts.
1. Company Logo or Human Face for Avatar?
Businesses often debate whether a Twitter avatar should be a simple company logo or if it should be a photo of actual people. Currently, the consensus seems to favor logos, although that option sacrifices easy opportunities for putting a face on your company. If you are the proprietor of a business, you can do both. Have an official company Twitter page, and host a separate one for yourself. You can post relevant business information, but you can afford to be much more personal, if you choose.
2. Background Images
If you use a company logo for your avatar, you can still personalize the appearance of your social media accounts with photos placed elsewhere. Twitter and Google+, for example, let you customize your background with uploaded images. You can preserve the professional appearance of your account, but visitors can still get a glimpse at the people behind the company. Google+ and Facebook let you post entire albums, and there’s no harm in letting your followers take a look around the office or see how things went at the company cookout.
3. Employee Bios
Individual employees can be an asset to your social networking efforts. They come with personalities built right in, so give them a profile and an avatar and let them speak for your company. They can share bits of expertise related to the work they do – whether it’s at a plastic molding company or a contract food manufacturing and packaging plant – or they can discuss topics that interest them. Obviously, you’ll want to keep an eye on what they post so that your company doesn’t land in hot water, but generally, this is a safe approach to humanizing your company.
4. Personalized Blogs
Social media give you a unique opportunity to communicate directly with the people who would most benefit from your business. On Facebook, for example, you might post regular notes written in a personal voice. Or you could maintain a separate blog and post links to any of your existing social networking accounts. Write about information relevant to your business, sure, but drop in a few light-hearted posts, as well.
5. Watch Your Words
It’s important not to use language that only you can understand. For that matter, limit industry-specific language, even if you’re hoping to appeal to like-minded Twitterers. Social networks are a place to cast wider nets. Demonstrate authority within your industry, but don’t alienate the casual follower. You might need him later, especially if your goal is to grow.
It seems obvious that you’d interact on a social network, but you’d be surprised how many businesses are happy with simply posting items without any attempt at engaging an audience. Use your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts for two-way communication. Ask questions. Greet new followers with a note of thanks. Respond to users who engage you.
Forming a working relationship with the people in your social networks takes some effort, but it will pay off. Follow our advice for humanizing your accounts, and feel free to leave some tips of your own below.
Bio: Chris Peterson is a copywriter for Straight North, a firm offering web design and Chicago SEO services. He specializes in B2B and B2C marketing, with experience in informational blog posts, press releases, and website content that emphasizes Search Engine Optimization.