We see this phrase thrown around all the time like its meaning is obvious. It's obviously not. Businesses still keep hiding behind big words and robotic language. It only pushes their audience further away from them.
So let's break down what it means to "be human" especially on social media.
Use Easy Lingo
Wearing masks is great when you're going out. But as a business-owner or marketer, the corporate, legal, businesslike mask you wear when writing something makes you seem distant.
Take that mask off and start using words you actually say. Your text should be easy enough for a 5th grader to read without any issues. Using the super handy Grammarly extension makes your writing ten times more readable. (Don't worry, nobody's doubting your grammar skills).
Do you use slang when you talk? Some B2B business-owners (read Gary Vaynerchuck) don't shy away from curse words either. It could and it couldn't work for you. That depends completely on your brand.
To Err is Human
Yes, the urge to be perfect haunts us all. But humans aren't without flaws. People make mistakes, people learn from their mistakes. That's what audiences want to see.
That's not to say you should make mistakes on purpose. But that you should try to be more transparent. Some business-owners have made it their content strategy to regularly talk about the experiments that failed. For example:
The end goal is to learn from it yourself, and teach your audience to avoid those mistakes.
OR. Embrace your failures, like Patreon's CEO did in this video.
At the end of it, you want people to know that you're one of them, and will help them get to a better place with your brand.
Don't Overcook it
Don't try too hard. So many times, brands take forever looking at data, losing their minds over 3 words in a social media post only to come up with a sentence that falls flat, and a CTA that doesn't make sense.
Being human means taking a risk with creativity in your social media posts. You're not going to stand out or sound human by overthinking your copy.
But we've all been there. So what do you do? You take a step back. Take a walk. Distract yourself. Come back and take a look at what you've written. This time try to be yourself. Put your message into common words.
Talking to rather than at
Lets recall the infamous line: Social media is all about the social. But what does that even mean? It means it is a conversation between you and your target audience.
That means you should
- Start conversations that interest people you're talking to:
Post status updates, tweets, and content that interests them and also coincides with your business. Eg. If you're a business that sells comics, people who are interested in talking about who the best Batman was (Christian Bale) would like to hear your take.
- Give people space to respond to what you're saying:
Allow them to respond. They might have a different preference for the best Dark Knight than you. Read their comments and respond to them.
- Join conversations:
There are forums, Linkedin/Facebook groups, Twitter threads where your target audience might already be having conversations that also coincide with your business. Join these conversations from your personal or business profiles. Add value to the conversation by posting your content or linking to relevant content and sharing your opinion.
You might also find it useful to read our short guide on how to write captions.
Stock Images are Great. Your face is better.
People connect to people, not businesses. They buy your product because they trust the people running the business. Which is why it is important to put your face on graphics that you put out on social media.
A lot of employees might be camera shy or wouldn't want their face plastered on a social media post. But as a business owner, showing your face in social media posts such as quotes, giving video interviews, sharing your expertise at conferences only builds trust and shows transparency.
Btw stock images are...not that great. I've come across at least 3 websites and ads just in the last month, using the same stock image of a guy standing in front of a whiteboard. And trust me, people notice that it isn't you. Is it wrong? Of course not. But it affects the trust you've built with people.
Start there. People will soon start responding more positively to the human side of your brand.