When we tell brands to be “more human” it’s rare that they immediately understand how it translates on social media. Tim Howell set the stage for this blog when he asked businesses to ask themselves why it was important to “be human” on social media. In this blog, I’ll look at how businesses can effectively be “more human” while still meeting their social media goals.
I believe that part of the answer can be found by looking to Humans of New York (HONY).
More specifically, HONY is a website that gives people everywhere “daily glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City”.
These people aren’t famous. They are normal, everyday people walking the streets of New York. And their photos and stories have transformed into something almost magical – creating news, inspiring imitators, and serving as great platforms for calls to action.
It is visual. It is storytelling. It is measurable. And at its core, it is undeniably human.
So how can companies use the magic of HONY’s humanness to inspire their brand’s social media content?
Step 1. Highlight the Human Side.
Every business has a story to tell. There may be a single person who embodies the spirit of your brand, or an entire department that spends everyday living up to your brand promise. You are a company made up of people. Embrace it – your audience will.
Step 2. Write Well. Write Often.
You are as strong as your content. If you go to a party and tell the same story over and over, eventually people will stop paying attention to you. Social media is the same way. Part of the appeal of HONY is the stories behind the photos, told through short, platform appropriate captions. New content is posted daily to multiple platforms, which brings me to the next point…
Step 3. Know Your Platforms.
You wouldn’t use YouTube to post photos and you wouldn’t ask someone on Tumblr to “Like this post!” Great content will go nowhere if it was posted to the wrong platform. The visual nature of Tumblr and the ease of sharing across the network made it ideal for HONY. Adding in the virality and reach of Facebook enhanced the reach and awareness of the brand. Before you post, ask yourself: are the capabilities of the platform aligned with the needs of my brand?
Remember: the “Robot Revolution” hasn’t happened yet. If you want to successfully communicate with humans, you need to be human.
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman drinks a lot of tea. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.