Communications from branded properties, celebrities, or anyone with a “following” can often come of as false, contrived, and sometimes insensitive, even if they have the best intentions. This article was inspired by a recent email campaign I received, where the “reply” email address was “firstname.lastname@example.org.” This gave me pause. I don’t know why this particular email campaign set me off, but I was genuinely irritated that they would really prevent me from interacting with their brand. Who wants to be told they actively can’t reach out to someone who is proactively talking to them. That’s basically a brand saying “you don’t matter and we don’t want to talk to you.”
Communications which don’t fall into this convention, however, are immediately noticeable, from a personal and a professional standpoint. Of course, warm-fuzzies because a brand responded to my tweet on Twitter are great, but more to the point, email clients decide whether you are spam or not by the semantics in your email, such as Email Subjects With Random Capitalized Letters, and words like FREE OFFER, among other things. No one actually writes like that in real life! As content creators and passers, we’ve gotten into a habit and style of communication that is not genuine.
Here are 5 ways to engage your audience through authentic communication
1. Social media: This one’s a no-brainer. Of course you want meaningful person-to-person interactions via social (and if you didn’t know that.. yes, you want meaningful person-to-person interactions on social) but consider having a sign-off on your social posts if multiple team members are answering inquiries on accounts, or use a new tech (like Vine) to provide a real-life personal experience. This touches go a long way to developing trust within your audience. No one likes faceless corporations.
2. Email marketing: Don’t capitalize every word in your subject. Just don’t. Communicate in the same way you would to your best friend, within reason. Grammar and spelling are still important — just be more real about how you position yourself. Don’t be afraid to have a little personality.
3. Blog posts: Be yourself. Be true to an authentic brand voice, and use author’s names instead of the company’s name. Don’t be afraid to raise a little cane, or to get in trouble with some people. These charged interactions are invaluable — they encourage engagement with your brand, with fellow brand members, and they offer the priceless opportunity to correctly serve and understand your customer or community member.
4. Support: Don’t automate. Keep it personal. Everyone hates those stupid automated phone call systems. No one wants to talk to a robot (unless her name is Siri, but even then it’s questionable). If you don’t have the bandwidth to handle a multi-channel support scheme, then don’t have it! People would much rather have limited support options, but awesome customer service, than a bunch of options with little, unhelpful, or no response.
5. Product/Service copy: Jargon sucks. Remember that you and your peers, personally, are so deep in your industry and product, that sometimes jargon-ey words roll off your tongue before real life words do. Even though every person on Earth may truly need your “SaaS Marketing Synergies Automation Accelerator,” try to translate your jargon into something a bit more.. down to earth. Make your message digestible by a wide audience — not just industry professionals.