Thursday, December 13, 2012

Branding Your Business with a Human Face

Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 by International Coach Federation

Should a corporation have the same rights as a human being? Let’s leave that argument to the politicians. As any smart marketer knows, people like to relate with people. When we feel like we're being directly advertised to, we automatically put up a subconscious block. If it's a person making a suggestion to us about a product, we're far more likely to give them a listen.

The transition from print and television advertising to internet marketing presents both challenges and opportunities for a business trying to maintain a human element to its outreach. To close the gap between impersonal direct marketing and subtle yet effective person-to-person influencing on the web, follow these simple guidelines:

1. Write a Guest Post

That's why I'm here, right? I love studying social media and business trends, and sharing the knowledge I've picked up over the years is honestly a real pleasure and one of my favorite parts of my job. The fringe benefit is that by guest posting, you also help to establish your company's reputation as a trusted, knowledgeable source of information. Find a blog that you enjoy reading and offer them your services -- before you know it, you may be a published author!

2. Converse on Social Media

The reasons to market your company through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and so forth are the subject of thousands of blog posts around the web. But Tweets and Facebook posts from a company should have the same human feel that a post from a friend would have. Instead of putting "Tax services, 20 percent off" for your tax preparation company, try a post like "What do you hate most about tax season?" that sparks a conversation.

3. Be a Style Maker

Don't be afraid to get personal with your company posts online. If your business is big enough or you have a trusted employee (or employees), give them access to the company account and ask them to post, pin and tweet freely to it, from photographs to links. Set guidelines, but remember that you're trying to portray your brand as a collection of living and breathing individuals who have a variety of interests and personalities, just like the people reading your messages.

4. Send Newsletters With Personal Messages

Even more personal than guest posting, a monthly email newsletter allows a business to directly reach customers who have given permission for you to send them content. Don't squander this opportunity with worthless drivel and boring marketing. Instead, make your message a personal one.

Not long ago, the foundation of business was human relationships. In small town America, some people still know their barber, postman, and grocer by name. Take that idea and apply it to your business on the web, and you'll find that customers become more loyal as they form a relationship with you and your brand.

Christopher Wallace

Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, one of the nation's largest providers of promotional products for businesses large and small. Amsterdam specializes in custom pens and other promotional items such as calendars, laptop bags and T-shirts. Christopher regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.

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