Faces Your Customers

On social media, people follow people, not brands. On all platforms, users are there to interact with other humans, not to be advertised to as consumers. If you are like most businesses, your social media strategy is aimed at:
  • Raising brand awareness
  • Engaging with your audience
  • Building a loyal fanbase
Achieving these results can be tricky, because people are not spending hours every day browsing Facebook or flicking through Instagram in order to socialise with corporations. In order to connect with your audience, you need to understand their needs, wants and motivations, and communicate with users on a human level.

Many businesses have personified their brand for this very reason. We see toilet paper commenting on pop culture gossip, outdoor retailers cracking jokes about their death wish and burger restaurants flirting with biscuits.

However, recent criticism of "brand Twitter" and the humanizing of companies on social media shows that people are reaching their limit of brands pretending to be their friends. Users are starting to feel more and more manipulated by businesses encroaching on their personal online space and filling their feeds with content outside of their role. Sunny D’s “I can’t take this anymore” during the 2019 Superbowl probably got a laugh from most of their audience, but it is telling that it was picked up on by so many as going too far. 

As Generation Z take over from millennials as the majority of social media users - a generation who has been online from a very young age and has much more awareness of their privacy rights - we can expect even less tolerance of intrusive brands in the future.

The good news is that you already have the solution. What social media users want to see is real people - not a personification - and there are real people in your business every step of the way. Here are the top 5 faces which will help you connect with your audience and earn their trust with genuine content.

1. The people on the front line

These are the people you have hired to represent your business - the people who customers will see when they walk into your store, or order their food from in your restaurant. No matter what your business, your front-line staff are often the only real human interaction that your clients will have with your brand. Posting about them on social media, therefore, is allowing your audience to see the real experience they will have with your business and to imagine themselves in a scenario where they are your customer. You can fit your front-line team into content about your products or services, showing them as part of the everyday life of your business alongside a key feature. 

Or you can make them the focus of a regular theme in your content strategy, such as “staff picks” where they talk about their personal favourite products. Telling their stories and opinions also lets your staff know that they are valued, making them even more confident when interacting with customers as the face of your brand. Win-win.

2. The people behind-the-scenes

Social media audiences love being given a glimpse of what really goes on behind the outward appearance of a brand. Showing users the cogs in your machine, the people working hard in the background to make your business run, tells them how much effort is put into making quality products and services for them to enjoy.

 Meanwhile, it is giving your audience exclusive content which makes them feel trusted and valued, communicating honesty, transparency and a sense of community with your followers. Show your finance team hard at work (or enjoying donuts on a Friday afternoon), post about the dreams of your sous-chef, tell the story of your HR manager and why they care about what they do. These anecdotes also demonstrate a positive company culture, showing that all your workers are appreciated for what they do and get the shout-outs they deserve.

3. The person with the vision

All businesses have people behind them with a dream - people with a vision, who are usually in charge of the everyday mission to see it through. Companies are not built by passive entrepreneurs with halfhearted ideas. The energy it takes to get an enterprise up and running requires dedication to the concept and passion for its cause; without those things it wouldn’t stand a chance of getting off the ground, let alone surviving the rat race. 

Telling stories on social media of that person, or people, who invented your brand allows your online audience to feel the enthusiasm and excitement of what your business is trying to achieve. 

Talk about the legacy of your brand, what mark they set out to make on the world and what they want to leave behind. Share their tales from the early days of your business and do so with transparency - tell your followers about the pitfalls as well as the successes, and what they learned from them. Post about the new ideas and concepts that they are still having now in order to reach their goal. The founder of your business is the spirit behind it and their experiences can provide priceless content.

4. The people in your supply chain

These days, people want to know about exactly what goes into the products they are buying. They want to know where they were made, when they were made, what they were made with and where these ingredients or materials come from. There are so many brands for consumers to choose from that it makes sense to give their business to those which they trust is providing quality, and the answers to these questions go a long way in reassuring them of that. It is also becoming more and more important for brands to align their supply chain with the ethics of their target audience, be it local sourcing, fairtrade, recyclable packaging or providing decent wages and working environments for their staff. The people in your supply chain represent these values and can show your followers first-hand, on a human level, that your business takes them seriously. Share pictures, videos and stories of the characters working at your farms and factories - how they do what they do and why they care. 

5. Your customers

Perhaps the most important group of people on this list: your customers! Showing your audience the experiences of your customers gives them an authentic account of the experiences that they could have themselves as your customer. Particularly if you are posting user-generated content created by your customers, this helps users see the in-the-moment reality of your business as well as the planned, posed content which most brands curate for social media. 

The confidence in your brand that this genuinity gives your audience is strengthened even more by the fact that you are demonstrating how important your customers are to you by giving them shout-outs. Share their faces, their wants, likes and interactions with your business, and let your followers know that their stories are just as powerful as yours.