originally posted by April 9, 2014 | Juliana Nicholson on bn.co

Image courtesy of Sebastien Wiertz, Flickr.

Image courtesy of Sebastien Wiertz, Flickr.

Marketers are constantly fighting for attention in the feed, and the competition is nothing short of fierce. Friends and brands alike push to be seen, striving to rise above the clutter of what others have to say. To make matters worse, consumers are increasingly frustrated when ads do break through, but provide little to no value.

 

Advertisers need to shift their thinking. Gone are the days of billboards and magazines, designed to appeal to the masses. To successfully sell on social, marketers must now forego traditional, broad advertising approaches, and instead leverage personalization and precision targeting.

 

Social networks house a wealth of data about individual users’ interests, preferences, demographics and more. Analyzing this information, marketers can “get to know” users like never before, building more human relationships and advertising campaigns between brands and consumer. Hyper targeted ads are nothing however, if the accompanying  content isn’t hyper-personalized as well.

 

This new form of advertising is about appealing to basic human emotions and building a long-lasting relationships, rather than driving a single transactional experience – and it resonates much better with today’s hyper-social audience.  

 

To help you craft more human messaging, we’ve outlined 8 tips for your ads and content:

 

1. Be there – Social networks provide a variety of touchpoints for real-time consumer engagement. Don’t ignore requests, questions, or complaints that come through these portals. In fact, according to IAB 90 percent of consumers will back a brand after interacting with them on social. This is especially true for promoted content. With the elevated interactions that come with promoting a post, brand must moderate, moderate, and moderate!

 

2. Create a community – To be human, brands must participate in, and encourage, two-way conversations. More than just consumer-to-brand relationships, your social media channels should foster broader conversations between customers, employees and band advocates. Provide a place for these audiences to provide feedback, post reviews, and socialize with each other. Ignite these conversations, but don’t try too hard to steer them one way or another.

 

3. Get over yourself – No one wants to hear about you, and only you, 24/7. Instead, provide useful content that people actually want to read — whether it’s about your industry as a whole, or current topics that are relevant to your brand and company vision. Followers don’t want to read thousands of tweets hawking your company’s insurance policies. Instead consider tweets with practical tips on how to protect your home from disaster — or your car from theft — valuable, useful information for followers.

 

4. Have a sense of humor – Don’t be a robot. Having a personality and learning to laugh at yourself will keep you grounded and approachable. Start by establishing a consistent tone and voice for your brand, then run all content, ads, and moderation responses through this lens.

 

5. Change with the times – Just as people grow and evolve, so should your brand. Platforms release new features daily. Stay in the know and take advantage of what is being offered, as most help to foster new connections between brands and users. Take for example Facebook’s reply feature – an opportunity to provide personalized responses, directed to specific individuals. Along similar lines, Twitter’s new profile page layout lets brands to craft a more visual identity. Be an early adopter, and make the most of these changes.

 

6. Show you care – Share how much you care. A recent study found that 30% of consumers expect to increase the amount of goods and services they buy from socially-responsible companies. Don’t be shy when it comes to your charitable efforts. Brands who adopt a strong socially-conscious platform resonate with today’s buyers who are eager to be part of a movement bigger than the brand itself.

 

7. Nobody’s perfect – Strive for authenticity over perfection. If you make a mistake, own up to it and be transparent about the problem, it’s impact, and what your company is doing to solve it. Sometimes the best offense really is a good defence. Have a crisis management plan in place, along with a quick-turnaround system with any legal departments who may need to sign off on your content.

8. Target for relevance – To be truly personalized in your advertising efforts, advertisers must turn off the “spray and pray” mentality. Use in-depth targeting and real-time data triggers to to ensure your ads are being seen by the right people, at the right time.

 

Social networks are all about making personal connections. On social, brands have the opportunity to approach customers as people with unique interests and preferences, instead of treating them like cold leads. It’s the brands who leverage social platforms to create these human connections that will ultimately build lasting relationships and drive loyalty.