Humanizing your brand is an essential part of building awareness and loyalty. Giving your brand personality makes it easier for people to relate to you – and they are easier to remember and identify. Customers are more loyal and feel they trust a brand with a personality.
Brand personalities teach customers how they should use your products or services and how your company fits into their lifestyle. Though it doesn’t take a lot of work to build your brand’s personality, keeping the personality on-message can prove challenging.
Your brand’s personality needs to shine through all its assets – and that includes your Instagram account. Let’s take a look at four ways to humanize your Instagram account so it helps your personality shine through while keeping the message on the right track.
Add Personality to Your Instagram Copy
Instagram is primarily a visual network, and many businesses focus their marketing efforts on the visual aspect of their brand. While this is important, it often means the copy is neglected. Text included with your Instagram posts is part of your brand’s communication style, which reflects your brand personality. The second someone reads your copy; they should know who you are.
The goal is for your followers to approach your Instagram the same way they would if someone were inviting them into their home or office. Give them a look at who you are and what’s hiding below the surface.
If you’re successful, your followers will get to know your brand on a human level that makes it easy for them to relate to you. If they feel like they know you, they will gladly engage with your brand through comments, likes, shares, and reposts.
How do you accomplish this? With an Instagram style guide, of course. Your style guide must convey your brand’s personality and communication style, so all content creators and community managers on your team are on the same page.
Your persona forms the tone of voice and the wording you use in your content. In casual communication, a 40-something movie buff won’t necessarily sound like a young tech enthusiast. The same should be true for their Instagram captions.
Take time to craft a few examples for your team, and have people look them over. If you’ve developed buyer personas for other areas of your marketing, you can use these to help you set the tone for your Instagram account.
Tone of Voice
Think about what you want your audience to hear in your captions. Do you want them to hear positivity? Innovation? Clearly define what you are trying to convey and use examples to make your approach easier to understand.
How and Where You’ll Use Copy on Instagram
Some brands prefer to keep the text short and limited to the photo caption. Others, however, include text in their imagery, as well. Some travel bloggers write long descriptions of the places they visited in their Instagram stories, and their followers gladly read it because they are interested in that kind of content.
Crafting the perfect persona doesn’t mean that you and your team will be able to execute it flawlessly from the beginning. Whether you’re working solo or as part of a larger group, there will be some trial and error. You may even need to get outside help to give your Instagram account the time and attention it deserves.
If your content isn’t doing well at first, don’t assume that all the planning and research that went into creating your persona is wasted. Give it time, and don’t give up.
If you want an idea of where to start, take a look at your competition. Pay attention to the competitors that have the highest engagement rates and mimic what they are doing because this is obviously working with their audience.
Develop Guidelines for Your Instagram Comment Moderators
After you’ve developed your brand’s persona, make sure you stay on brand even when engaging with followers’ comments. Staying true to your brand personality here is crucial because it’s more memorable to your followers. All of the standard advice about responding to comments on social media still applies.
Put together a frequently asked questions sheet, so all of your comment moderators know what to expect and how to respond. Make sure you understand what the user is really asking and adjust the message accordingly. Doing this prevents you from being accused of copying and pasting messages or responding through automation and coming across as robotic.
Writing your initials with the end of your responses is not the only way to show a human side to a brand. Communicate from a first-person perspective using a relatable voice. If there’s an issue, don’t default to the standard business language. Make sure you’re communicating with empathy and care in your responses.
Remain True to Your Company’s Values
Social media managers all have a calendar somewhere with relevant dates for planning our content. You know, when it’s National Taco Day, or Talk Like a Pirate Day, brands create content related to those “holidays” that fit with their brand.
Occasions like this can help us do more than generate ideas for new content. Next time you start preparing material for a specific event, take time to answer these questions:
- How is this connected to our brand?
- What is this post saying about our company?
- What values are we communicating?
Small gestures and these “unimportant” type posts can say a lot about a company. You can make them work to reflect your company’s culture and work environment.
It’s crucial to do more than follow a pre-filled calendar of fun dates. Stay in touch with what’s happening in the world around you and know where your company stands on important issues. Take part in the conversation. Even if you don’t state your position, the way you discuss current events is used to communicate your values.
In today’s climate, younger generations are appreciating brands who take a stand on important issues facing the world. Though they are not known for their brand loyalty, 89% of Generation Z buyers prefer to purchase products and services from businesses that support social and cultural issues.
Though I have written in the past about how Lush Cosmetics has chosen to abandon social media, the company was built on fighting animal testing and using all-natural ingredients in their products. As such, the US division that still uses social media uses this to play to the strengths of their values.
Use Instagram DMs to Personalize Your Outreach
The majority of companies out there make their best effort to answer comments in a timely fashion and quickly resolve issues. However, being reactive with your Instagram will only take you so far. When developing your next Instagram strategy, consider ways to be more proactive.
Instead of spending all of your time fixating on views and engagement, venture into the unexplored and take a look at what’s out there. Chances are the people who follow you are already potential users of your product or service.
Watch for people who are posting your product or services and sharing their experience with it, even if it’s not yours.
If you notice there is a way for you to help, such as in the case of a furniture store who decided to respond to an Instagrammer who was struggling with unpacking boxes with suggestions about how to best furnish her living room to take care of the mess faster, make it a point to try.
This, of course, doesn’t mean spamming everyone you follow with your products. Provide real value and help people in a completely non-intrusive manner. Offering a helping hand will go a long way toward humanizing your brand and creating positive experiences.
Ultimately, while these tips and tricks relate directly to Instagram, the underlying philosophy of keeping things simple, making your brand more relatable, and focusing on good ideas works for any social media channel.
The most challenging part is letting go of the pre-existing idea of what business communication is in the first place. To be professional does not mean you have to be formal. Embracing the imperfections means your brand only becomes more appealing and more human.
After you have that conversation with your team, you’ll be able to move forward in finding your voice and engaging with your target audience in more meaningful ways.