Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

How to Humanize Your Brand to Win on Social Media

It doesn't matter how big your reach is if your audience won't engage with your content.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Is your brand putting significant resources into posting every day on Facebook, yet no one’s engaging with your posts? Are you tweeting out links to your website on Twitter, yet no one’s clicking through, even when you offer sales or other incentives? If any of this sounds like challenges you and your brand face, there’s a clear solution: Humanize your brand.

In today’s hectic and crowded social media landscape, companies that want to break through need to focus on forming genuine connections with their audiences by communicating with them like a human, not like a brand. That starts with marketers thinking less like marketers and more like consumers.

Don’t believe me? Consider this: When using social media in your personal life, do you wake up each morning to check what your favorite brand is selling on social media? Or do you open Facebook or Instagram to see what your friends are up to, to be entertained, to learn about what’s going on in the world that day? Consumers don’t want to be sold to, and if your brand is pushing your sales agenda online, you’ll get tuned out. Instead, you need to tune into what matters to your audience and start engaging with them like a human, not like a brand.

Brands need faces

As I explained in my new book, The End of Marketing, being successful on social media now requires being open and real with your audience, like the way DJ Khaled has built up a social media empire by letting people get a closer look at his lifestyle. Any celebrity could theoretically do the same, but DJ Khaled stands out in the social media world by being refreshingly candid in his posts. In other words, he seems human, rather than having every post look like a finely polished PR piece.

Some brands have been able to leverage DJ Khaled’s influence by partnering with him to promote their products in a similarly entertaining, human way, and doing so puts a relatable face to what they’re trying to sell. While most companies don’t have the budget to work with mega-influencers like DJ Khaled, there’s no reason why you can't put a face to your brand by either working with smaller influencers to show how your products and services affect real people’s lives, or leveraging your own community of customers and employees.

Far too often, brands miss opportunities by not engaging with customers who are already interacting with them online. Instead of always trying to expand your reach, start by responding to the comments others leave on your posts, and search within social media platforms for customers mentioning your brand. When you find with them, engage with them like you would a friend — say thanks, ask them questions about what they’re working on or doing for fun, congratulate them on milestones, etc. If you do that, there’s a good chance you can find customers who want to organically promote your brand on social.

Companies can also recruit their own employees to humanize their brands. Showcase what a day-in-the-life is like at your company in various departments, have different employees take over your social media channels for a day, or have your community manager introduce themselves to your audience and communicate on a more personal level. With my own brand, for instance, I leverage my own social media presence as Carlos Gil, rather than trying to build up a corporate persona under the Gil Media name. Doing so helps me form deeper connections with my clients and partners, which in turn helps me grow my brand.

Entertain or educate

In addition to putting a face to your brand, you also need to change what you post. Rather than being salesy, which would look even more unnatural coming from the real people that comprise your brand, focus on creating content that will either entertain or educate your audience. Not every company can be entertaining like DJ Khaled, but any brand can connect with customers by being educational.

For example, if you’re an accounting company, you can provide tax tips rather than directly pitching your services. If you’re a food company, you can provide recipes. If you’re a pest control company, you can provide home care tips. Whatever you do, there’s a way you can educate your audience in a way that provides value to them and causes them to engage with your posts, rather than scrolling past them.

These are just some of the many ways you can humanize your brand, but the key is to remember that gaining traction on social media today requires giving customers the content they want, not what you think promotes your company in the best light. If you think like a customer instead of a marketer, you’ll have a better chance of figuring out how to make this shift and start forming deeper connections that help grow your brand.

Watch a preview above, or check out the full keynote on Carlos Gil's YouTube channel here

Watch more videos from Carlos Gil on his YouTube channel hereFollow Carlos Gil on Instagram @CarlosGil83.

Latest

Why This Mom Entrepreneur Is All About Quarterly Planning

The founder of Hustle Like a Mom shares her tips for working moms trying to run a business between drop-off and pick-up.

Build A YouTube Following With Authentic Content

Interview with YouTube Star Sam Zien The Cooking Guy about growing his popular YouTube channel and restaurant empire.

This Celebrity Talent Manager Is Offering a 12-Step Online Course on the Business of Acting

Jamie Freed is known for discovering Selena Gomez and managing celebrities like Paris Hilton. Now he's helping actors learn about the business of acting through his 12-step online course.

Video: Random Act of Kindness at Dollar General Store Goes Viral

Cashier wins hearts with her display of compassion at an Illinois store.

This Entrepreneur's Charity-Driven Startup Was Acquired in Less Than 2 Months

The founder and CEO of CharityPops NFT talks about how his company gives back to charities and how his platform got acquired in under 60 days.

This Company Just Launched a Comprehensive Label for Measuring a Fashion Product's Impact on People and the Planet

While we're used to seeing nutrition labels on food, the founder and CEO of Nisolo says he created the sustainability facts label to protect people and the planet.

She Brought a Baby to the Boardroom While Asking for $1 Million. There's No Way That Worked...Right?

Would you dare to try the high-risk, high-reward strategy of bringing a small child to your investment pitch?

Want to Sell Better Through Your Online Store? You Might Be Overlooking This Important Aspect of Digital Marketing.

The founder and CEO of QMocha explains how his Shopify app will work with your existing product images.

This Mother and Entrepreneur Wrote a Book to Help Adults and Kids Learn About Their Microbiome

The founder of Seed Health and author of 'A Kids Book About Your Microbiome' shares why she's empowering each of us to see ourselves as superorganisms.

You've Got a Great Invention. Now How Do You Get People to Buy It?

It's a good idea to start a business by solving a problem, but make sure to consider who is actually paying for your solution.

How to Create Video Content People Will Actually Watch

The founder of Patrice Poltzer Creative shares video tips that will help you attract your audience and keep them engaged.

This Entrepreneur Maxed Out His Credit Cards to Build a Business That Helps Companies Protect their Data

The president and CEO of Data443 shares how his company secures and manages organizational data wherever it exists.

How This Doctor-Turned-Entrepreneur is Trying to Change the World Through Play

The CEO of In KidZ shares how she's trying to make inclusion a daily part of family life with her culture-focused company.

How to Lead Calmly and Effectively While Your Business Experiences Growth

The co-founder and CEO of Komodor discusses his company's journey and his advice for entrepreneurs who find themselves in the spotlight overnight.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.
  • Watch our staff interview top entrepreneurs and report on location in these Entrepreneur.com exclusive videos.