Five Ways to Give Your Business a Human Face Online

by Ken Mueller on February 6, 2013 · 12 comments

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Businesses are businesses, and people are people. But its the people in your business that affect how others view you. When creating a digital presence for your business or brand online, it might seem rather impersonal; it might seem difficult to bring in the human side.

But actually, nothing could be further from the truth. It is possible to humanize your brand online and create a personal touch. In fact, your online presence, from your blog and website to your social properties, is the perfect place for putting a face to your small business name.

Here are 5 ways you can use the Internet and your digital presence to become more human and show off your face(s):

1) Show off your staff on Facebook – On Facebook you have two main images you can control: your profile picture and your cover photo. Both of them can be used to highlight photos of your staff, but the cover photo is especially a nice piece of real estate to show off your staff. Whether it’s a group shot, or a collage of your staff working with customers, this helps to put a human face on your business. Consider using Instagram and Pinterest for these same reasons. Here’s a cover photo example form my clients at Water Street Ministries:

Water street cover image Five Ways to Give Your Business a Human Face Online

2) Talk about your staff – Additionally, you can randomly post updates about your staff with photos of them at work. This can be done on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social platform. Maybe even feature an employee of the week or month. And don’t just talk about their work; feel free to talk about them on birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, or even when they have achieved something either professionally or personally. My clients at Plum Salon & Spa will often profile their stylists while promoting the services they offer, or their available appointment slots:

plum photo Five Ways to Give Your Business a Human Face Online

 

3) Give your staff a voice – Find ways to let your staff contribute to your online content. Each of them was hired for a specific reason or role, and presumably has a specific area of expertise. Let them show off their perspective and specialized knowledge by being a part of your blogging team. If you use Pinterest, give each of your employees a board of their own for pinning things related to their work, ideas, and interests.

4) Let them be themselves – If they are on Twitter, don’t make them hide behind your brand. If they are tweeting for your business, let them put their name in the Twitter bio. If multiple people are on Twitter, rather than using the name @salesatyourbusiness let them be @Tomatyourusiness. That personal touch is good for both them and your customers. And on their individual business accounts, consider letting them use their photo as their avatar, rather than your logo.

5) Show the world your team – One of the most important parts of your website is the “about us” page. Don’t just talk about your company, but feature you staff. Show their pictures and include a bio. In fact, don’t just focus on the professional bio, but let your staff have a little fun by sharing some personal information about themselves, their family, and their interests. And, in addition to their professional head shot, let them add a more whimsical photo or two to the bio.

In short, put a face on the name of your business. A human face, not just a logo. Be human. Let the world know who they will be dealing with if they will be doing business with you. Give your staff the credit they deserve for being integral to your success. Not only will your staff appreciate this, but your it will give your customers a way to connect with your business on a deeper and more personal level.

Oh, and one more thing: use pictures of your real staff. I’ve seen websites where businesses use stock photos to represent their staff. I don’t know about you, but stock photos are pretty obviously just that: stock photos. Show the people that your customers will meet when they visit their business, not just cosmetically perfect models. They’ll know the difference. Trust me.

How are you making your business more personal and human? What have you seen other businesses do that works?

 Five Ways to Give Your Business a Human Face Online
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9 comments
3HatsComm
3HatsComm

What's the popular saying - more than B2B or B2C, it's P2P - people to people. We prefer - esp. when we need help, support - to deal w/ people, not machines, not logos. 

I laugh at #3 a little - b/c the flip side is the 'how will we get content, how to encourage participation' argument. If you've got a good brand, strong company, happy employees - then it's kinda a no-brainer that they'll not only be willing to participate but happy to speak, write, share. Oh, and the About Us - the bigger you are, you can't forget who actually deals w/ the customer; so many brands highlight leadership on these pages, these social accounts - but they haven't seen a front line in ages. So as you talk about staff, remember it takes the whole team to make it work. FWIW.

Andrew Steeley
Andrew Steeley like.author.displayName 1 Like

Terrific read as always, Ken.  I think it's also important to recognize your "customers" and "fans" as huge components to the human side of your business.  Along the lines of the Employee of the Week, businesses can just as easily showcase a Fan of the Week on Facebook, etc.  I help produce a pub trivia night, and we've started using the Facebook cover photo as a great opportunity to show our host with the winning team of the week.  So many possibilities exist to showcase employees, customers, and the interactions between the two parties...businesses just need to see them, and I'm glad you're showing them the way!   

Latest blog post: SpotiFriday - August 24, 2012

C_Pappas
C_Pappas like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

These are all great ideas (I love the salon that is promoting the stylist's open slot - awesome!). When I first joined the company I am currently with, they immediately asked me to include the fact that I worked there in all my profiles. They wanted that connection between me being an employee of the biz and me being a person out here interacting with communities. It was actually the first time a company ever asked me to do that and I thought it was great. We also struggled to figure out how to use sites like Pinterest and even Facebook but gained some traction when we started posted pics of our offices and our employees, events we were at and just fun things in general.

Vincent H. Clarke
Vincent H. Clarke like.author.displayName 1 Like

Thanks Ken! I really enjoyed the point you made about giving your staff a voice, or finding different ways to let your staff contribute to the company content. This is not only an excellent opportunity to improve brand integrity and trust with your market, but it also motivates your staff, boosts their overall morale, and gives them feeling of importance within the company. In the long run, this could help improve employee productivity and loyalty alongside a positive brand reputation.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Vincent H. Clarke I think you're right, it can help in both areas with your customers and your employees. Happy employees who feel that they are really a part of your company, and who get some recognition, will most likely be more productive for you.

Shonali
Shonali like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Perhaps #6 could be "talk about others." As people, of course we love to talk about ourselves but we also LOVE to talk about other people. @_vhclarke wrote about this just the other day over at #WUL, citing ways to grow your Facebook community (especially for B2B companies). Sharing other folks'/companies' info, commenting on other Pages, etc. I thought the latter especially was a great idea, and something I will be trying to do more of with my own Page.

Latest blog post: Just Write

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@Shonali @_vhclarke Very true. When I first started this blog a few years back, I read a lot of things about the importance of commenting on other blogs. At first, I didn't listen, and I didn't believe it. But once I started commenting, I noticed more traffic to my site, AND I became part of some cool communities and got to know people like you! It certainly seems that doing the same thing on Facebook would have the same result.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] to those that focus on employees and the company’s journey. Updates that are centered around a staff member or milestone can prompt the public to be intrigued about who your company is, what it values [...]

  2. [...] may end up sharing your business blog to their networks. Internal attribution on the other hand adds a human face to your business blog. It allows readers to associate with various writers and employees mentioned; something easier than [...]

  3. […] much more important that your small business finds innovative ways to capture consumer interest.  Give your business a human face online so your consumers will get to know […]

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