• Sarah Macpherson

From Social Media Examiner: AI Makes Humanizing Your Brand Imperitive

From Social Media Examiner's 2020 prediction list, this prediction about brand humanization in the context of the AI revolution is particularly insightful.

"12. Artificial intelligence (AI) will be the beginning of the end of marketing as we know it. 2020 will officially mark the start of the next industrial revolution and the social media industry will be affected in a variety of ways.

Data analysis and programming will become the new marketing manager’s role as AI replaces community managers and copywriters. Not even influencers and content creators are safe because it’s possible to use AI to build an entire persona. To illustrate, Lil Miquela is a computer-generated influencer with 1.8 million Instagram followers at the time of this writing.

Humanizing your brand is more than a catchy hook. It’s a real business strategy that every marketer should take seriously to stay in business. Here are five ways to humanize your brand in the next year.

Step 1: Create content as if it’s coming from an individual. When a brand shares content on social media, they’re not just competing with other brands. They’re competing with everyone on social media for users’ attention, including an individuals’ friends and the celebrities they follow. As such, if you simply share salesy messages that sound like they came from a press release, social media users will scroll right past your content until they find something more social or entertaining to engage with.

Brands should try to create content that sounds more like it came from an individual than a corporate entity. Don’t be afraid to adopt a more personal, casual tone, and aim to create content that you would want to engage with yourself.

Step 2: Engage in actual conversations. If someone comments on your content, don’t send them a copy-and-paste response. Instead, treat that message more like a note from a friend and respond in a personal way. 

Similarly, you can jump into conversations others are having online. To visualize this, if you’re a real estate agent and you see someone talking about things to do in your city, chime in with a personalized response about what you think that person might like to do, rather than pitching your real estate services.

Give those conversations room to naturally evolve, and eventually, a personal conversation can turn to a more business-focused conversation initiated by the customer.

Step 3: Highlight the employees behind your brand. Try showcasing what a day in the life of different employees at your company is like by letting them do a Snapchat or Instagram Stories takeover for the day or week. You can also share more content about company events and employee initiatives to help consumers connect with your brand on a personal level.

Today’s consumers don’t simply want to purchase from a logo. They want to purchase from companies they feel a connection to, and highlighting your employees can help in that regard.

Step 4: Give a voice to the customers who help make your brand what it is. Encourage customers to submit content as part of a contest you’re running. A restaurant, for instance, could ask customers to share their favorite holiday foods and holiday memories, and the restaurant could then choose a winner to receive a free meal and share their story on social media.

In doing so, you not only provide a more human element to your marketing but you can also expand your reach by leveraging the individual networks that your customers each have when they share content related to your brand on their own channels.

Step 5: Don’t try to be all things to all people. Accept this as part of being human and it will also make you a better marketer. While you may be tempted to hop on every social media platform and try to amplify your message as much as possible, you likely won’t be very effective. Just as it’s difficult for a person to be everywhere at once, your brand marketing will likely be diluted if you try to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok all at the same time.

Similarly, you can’t always comment on every trending topic or be funny, informative, inspirational, and more, all at the same time. Focus on the platforms and content you excel at.

By following these steps, you can form more genuine connections online, which tends to translate to more marketing success. The online landscape is too crowded for most brand messaging to stand out. Instead, organizations need to adapt by being more human to form connections that make a lasting impact."

2020 Prediction from: Carlos Gil, author of The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI, is an international keynote speaker and award-winning digital storyteller. He has over a decade of experience leading social media strategy for global brands including LinkedIn, Winn-Dixie, Save-A-Lot, and BMC Software.

Read the full 2020 Social Media Marketing Predictions list here.