Humanizing Your Brand: Doing It Right
Personal branding keeps your business from being a cut-and-dried entity, so to do it successfully, you need just the right amounts of humor and humanness. However, there’s a wrong way and a right way to approach humanizing your brand. Visitors may be offended, confused, or just plain bored because of your website. The last thing you want is for your company to be associated with anything bad, so to help you with your personal branding, we’ve listed some of the main pitfalls below.
Watch Your Language
Be careful when you’re toeing the line between casual and formal writing. Of course, it’s always a good practice to use a person’s first name when you’re sending something from your email marketing. However, you don’t want to be so casual you take things too far. That’s what turned off Elaine Rogers of Tweak Your Biz from one email list. At the end of the email, the author had written “And if you decide not to sign up [for content], it’s no big deal… I’ll be back with more free content, and you can leech off of me for as long as you like.” Being called a “leech” was an issue for Rogers, so she unsubscribed. To avoid losing email contacts, don’t use any language that could be taken the wrong way.
Focus on the Specific
You’ll waste a lot of time and energy if you try to appeal to everyone. Don’t try to appeal to different audiences by changing your voice or writing style. Instead, be yourself. Whether you’re drafting a blog post or posting a Facebook status, be honest and genuine. This will help you connect better with your audience, and it will give your brand a distinct personality—yours. On the other side of the coin is your buyer personas. Prospects may not want to use your services if you don’t clearly map how you can solve their problems. Trying to attract everyone will result in appealing to no one.
Don't Stay Silent on Social Media
For small business owners, being present on social media is an ongoing effort. It isn’t enough to just have a Twitter account that you update every now and then. Instead, post content that will help your followers with their problems and questions. Even if you’re just starting out and you don’t have a ton of followers, be patient and keep posting. As you gain more customers, more and more people who visit your website will want to know about the issues that brought them to your site in the first place. You can help them by making your Twitter account a collection of helpful resources.
You can also help customers get to know you better by posting more personal things, such as which sports team you’re rooting for or what new things are happening at the office. A mix of personal and professional Tweets will make your company that much more interesting.
Write a Good “About Us” Page
If your product isn’t completely clear from the home page of your site, then you have to have a good “About Us” page. What does that mean? It means writing copy that’s human, engaging, and easy to understand. A page that spouts multi-syllable industry lingo is your enemy. Write a description that clearly tells visitors who you are and what you do. After all, if they understood all that language, they wouldn’t have to turn to you for answers. Keeping your audience in mind not only means that you target your buyer persona, but also that you write in a way that any person can understand, regardless of what their industry is.
Don’t Use Stock Photography
Humanizing your brand is about showing your face to your visitors. Quite literally, in fact. Instead of using pictures of happy business people framed by white backgrounds, use your own original images on places like the “About Us” page. Stock photos can be a great thing for blogging, but when it comes to representing your business, you want photos that will reflect your office, your customers, and your coworkers (white background optional).
Personal branding can just as easily scare people away as it can draw them in. Make sure that the message you’re sending isn’t offensive or confusing. Your goal in humanizing your brand is to come across as just that—human. You may be tempted to look over your website now to check if there’s anything to change. This is a good idea, but don’t stop there. Recruit a second pair of eyes to look at your site, too. Choose someone who is not involved in your business. This will help you nail down anything that’s not clear or subpar. Even better, you may ask them if anything about you or the business is missing on the website. With a helping hand, you can see both the forest and the trees.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Suwit Ritjaroon