If I were to visit your website today, would I find your business refreshingly human? Would someone looking at your company’s online presence write you a note that said, “I found your new approach to using social media refreshing”? Because someone actually took the time to write me those exact words this week.
This wonderful surprise arrived in my inbox from someone researching the company I work with. We, as an organization, have gone to great lengths over the last year to “go social” and be more human in our online presence. We blog. We create videos. But there is another important part of our transformation that I hadn’t realized was such a big deal. We make an intentional effort to feature our people. We want you to meet the real people behind the brand. I hadn’t even thought of it as humanizing our brand, but it seems that is what we’ve accomplished.
Here’s the rest of the note that reminded me why this is so important…
“I was impressed with your website that featured photos of your staff, with opportunities to allow each person to really be a person someone would feel comfortable reaching out to. I research prospects all day, every day, and this is the first time I have seen this open company approach greeting visitors to a website. I will be forwarding this information on to our CEO and our Marketing Director who are always looking for new ideas.
I prefer dealing with that type of company that believes in its people”
Just by looking around at our website:
- This person felt greeted
- They could tell we were a company that believed in our people
- Getting to know our people made her feel more comfortable contacting us
Pretty nifty, huh?
Now how about you and your company? If I were visiting your website, would I get to know the people in your organization? Would I get the sense that you are even a business made up of people, not just products, logos and call-to-action buttons? (Don’t worry… I share ideas and examples below to help inspire you!)
What Message Are You Sending
Think about it… either way you are sending a message. If you trust your people enough to be socially active online and part of your web presence (contributing content and growing your brand), then customers pick up on the trustworthiness and confidence in your own team. On the flip side, if you don’t trust your employees to have a voice online then maybe I, a paying customer, should be hesitant to trust them too. Just sayin’.
Flaunt It If Ya Got It
If you are a company with great people, cool culture and a desire to be more “human” online then let your web presence reflect that!
Feature your people. Invest in them and unleash a bunch of dangerously effective humans helping grow your brand online.
Here are a few ways we attempt to make this happen with our own team of awesome people in case you want to copy with your own version (and please share your additions):
1. Staff Photos on Employee Directory Page
We post pictures of all of our staff on our employee directory page. We want you to be able to see who you’re dealing with when you work with our team. Real people. Lots of smiling faces. Much more than a logo and an email address. And we’re thrilled to welcome you to our digital home base.
2. Every Employee Has Their Own Intro Page
Speaking of real people, every employee also has their own web page. We want web visitors to see every person here is much more than an employee and a title. Yes, their gifts, talents and expertise make them wonderful to work with but we also want you to be able to connect with them on a human level too. They have hilarious families, lived in various countries and have passions outside of work like soccer, waffles, Godzilla, Indonesian Batik, penguins and cherry coke. Every person is encouraged to share a little bit about themselves on their own page to let visitors see who they are and how they serve others.
3. Intro Videos
Oh, the power of video. It’s one thing to tell you that we have excellent engineers. But for someone to actually see the joy and pride in our engineer’s face as they talk about the imaging equipment they work on… Priceless. Just check out 0:33 in the video below and tell me that you wouldn’t be delighted to have this be the friendly face that shows up to repair your CT scanner.
My favorite comments are the 10 seconds starting at 0:33
4. Share Your “WHY”
Several people on our team reveal exactly WHY they are so passionate about serving others in our industry (like Emily’s example above). We share our organizational WHY on our About Us page and a few individuals share on a personal level as well. It makes for a much more compelling human connection when people understand your true WHY.
Word of Warning
The funny thing is, none of these examples above were done with the strategic intent of “humanizing the brand”. They were all put in place to help web visitors connect with real people and start building relationships. Your intent matters. Authenticity matters. So when implementing the same, just be sure your humanized brand is a genuine representation and not a campaign. Be a company that believes in its people. Inspire human interaction and trust.
Your turn to share! What other ways do you humanize your brand? And which of the ideas mentioned above are you most excited to make happen?