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Digital Marketing: It's Not Just Business, It's Personal Forging strong connections with your customer requires not just skill but a human touch. Our Team Digital, a group of marketing experts, explains how to strike the right balance.

By Linda Lacina

Be human. It's a simple idea, but what does that mean for online marketing? Our Team Digital, a group of experts in social media and public relations, weighed in on just this question in our debut Google Hangout, a regular series designed to help you better build your online brand. Today's hangout, hosted by our technology editor Jason Fell, focused on making digital marketing relatable, and covered everything from creating customer loyalty to engaging through social media. We've collected four of the most important takeaways below, but there were gems throughout so don't forget to watch the full video of the hangout online.

Tip 1. Ditch the corporate speak. Never forget that your messages are being read by a real person just like you. When you write your e-newsletters or post to social media keep that dynamic in mind. Make your readers laugh. Say you're sorry when things go wrong. Be mindful of people's time and tell them what they want and need to know. In other words, do all the things you'd appreciate in any offline one-on-one communication. This method will make anything, whether it's an email or a tweet, valuable to your users and increase traffic and open rates. Says DJ Waldow, founder & CEO of Waldow Social, an email marketing firm, "You have to earn that trust."

Tip 2. Be reachable. Find an easy way for your consumer to give you feedback. Make sure readers with a question don't find the words "Do not reply to this email" when they scroll through your email newsletters. Similarly, if customers have a suggestion, make it easy for them to share their ideas. If you happen to put that idea into practice, don't forget to let them know, says Peter Shankman, the CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Social Media, Marketing and PR Strategy firm. "You want to turn readers into loyalists," he adds, "and loyalists into someone who would take a bullet for you."

Tip 3. Tell your story. According to our experts, your "About Us" page is one of the most visited pages on your web site and probably the most underutilized. Don't neglect this opportunity to reflect on all the reasons people should connect with your business, says Rick Mulready, creator of The Inside Social Media Podcast. Make sure it tells people who you are and what you can do for them, he suggests. It should also reflect their needs, adds Shankman. If they've arrived from Twitter, keep the content short and sweet.

Tip 4. Further the conversation. If you're using social media, know your goals, says Mulready. Determine why you want to have a public conversation with your readers and then identify the three top platforms that can help you have that conversation. And be where your users are. A great Pinterest profile won't help you if you users are on Twitter. "Too many business owners focus on too many platforms and they go too thin," says Mulready. "You have to pick one that aligns with your objective."

Linda Lacina

Entrepreneur Staff

Linda Lacina is the former managing editor at Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Family Circle. Email her at Follow her at @lindalacina on Twitter. 

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