Social Media Marketing With a Human Touch? Yes, Please!

Each year, SXSW overflows with innovative technologies. And when you get to play with a robotic dog that does tricks and has mannerisms that mirror a live dog, it’s easy to see how Artificial Intelligence is changing the way the world works. But while the robotic dog was fun to interact with, there is no way I’d ever replace my energetic, sometimes neurotic, Australian shepherd.

The same thing can be said for marketing campaigns. Technological advances and the growth of the digital world have made it easier for brands to reach a significantly larger audience than ever before. However, brands should look at technology as a way to boost their marketing efforts without completely removing the human element.

This is especially true for social media marketing. Social media platforms got their start as a way to connect with friends and family members, and, while branded marketing has grown rapidly on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the past decade or so, brands that incorporate a human touch are seeing much more interaction and engagement than those who aren’t.

Need an example? Hop on over to Wendy’s Twitter page for a bucket full of sass and genius, or take a look at how Wag! is incorporating personalized content from its furry, four-legged clients. Wendy’s does a great job of integrating responses in its Twitter feed that reflect how someone might respond to criticism or disrespect. Wag!, on the other hand, uses its own clients to cultivate marketing elements that are the very foundation on which the company operates. Customers use the Wag! app to schedule dog walkers while they’re busy at work. While doing so, the walker creates videos and walk graphics of the route and then sends them through the app to the owner as a progress report. The brand also reuses this content in its social media marketing.

While these are extreme examples of how brands can incorporate a human element to their marketing campaign, companies should ultimately do what makes the most sense for them and their audience. I’ve included a few helpful hints to get you started.

Be authentic – First and foremost, companies should stay true to their voice and brand when creating content on social media. This includes both organic and paid content. In addition, companies should not promote controversial topics if their C-suite executives do not adhere to the same beliefs.

Tell a story – One of the most important ways to incorporate personalized content into your marketing plans is to have your ads tell a story. One classic example is Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad.  If you watch the big football game that happens in February every year – you know which game I’m referring to – you’ve seen these ads. Not only do they promote the brand, but they do a great job of taking you through a tale of two unlikely friends. While this specific story may not be applicable to all brands, it’s a great example of the type of marketing that hits the ball out of the park – and yes, I know that is a baseball reference.

Test your platforms and pick which one works best for your message – Not all social platforms are created equal. As such, specific audiences are more active on different platforms, so it can take some experimentation to see where your message might reach the most people within your target demographic. A great way to make sure your content is reaching the right people is to run multiple ads at once on the same platform. Once you’ve allowed each of the ads to run for a short time, review your metrics and adjust based on which ad performs better. Some platforms, like Facebook, even allow you to set up a campaign with multiple creative elements and will automatically adjust placements of each ad to get the most for your money.

Use Facebook and Instagram stories appropriately – Using Facebook and Instagram stories may make your brand seem like it is staying “hip” with the times, but if you are going to push branding or ad elements on these platforms, it needs to be done the right way. These platforms are meant to be used to share in-the-moment pictures or videos with friends and followers so they can keep up with the poster’s day-to-day activities. Branded elements from companies should match that same aesthetic. Ads on this type of social media platform should incorporate movement and tell a story to avoid the interruptive nature of static ads.

Work with an influencer – Working with an influencer who already has a built-in audience is a great way to add a more human touch to marketing campaigns and is growing in popularity every day. Adding influencer marketing to your marketing strategy can significantly increase your brand’s reach and puts your products and services in front of a broader audience. Content cultivated by the influencer can be shared on the brand’s social platforms in addition to the influencer’s pages and is a great way to present content that has a more personal touch.

Incorporate a few of these tips to add a more human feel to your marketing efforts, but remember to stay true to your company’s voice and image. Whether your brand is large or small, a little bit of personalization can go a long way with your followers.

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As Sr. PR & Social Media Strategist, Elizabeth works as part of the PR team to create and implement social media strategies and plans for clients. She helps manage project development, works with key influencers across different trade and industry publications to promote clients’ expertise and growth through byline articles, press releases and op-eds, and helps facilitate opportunities for MCC and its clients. Prior to joining MCC, Elizabeth worked at Saxum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her experience includes social media, media relations, research, event planning and client relations. Born and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas, Elizabeth attended the University of Oklahoma, from which she earned a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Enterprise Studies. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the outdoors and playing with her Australian shepherd, Maisey.

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