To me, humanizing a business symbolizes aligning what it means to be a good human with what it means to be a good business, not just putting a face on an organization or dusting off the creative elements of an old brand, but emphasizing the importance of humanity within the institution.
However, do any of us really know what it means to be a good human? Is there value in being a good human, if so, how does this translate to good business?
Think deep, not wide
Relationships are always fun when they’re new. Most humans can tell you that maintaining relationships starts to feel like work over the long haul. This is true for businesses, too. Long-term social media engagement requires businesses to get real and go deep.
Starting a company blog and building a presence on Twitter is a great way to raise visibility and introduce a new facet of your organization to the masses, but to have any sizable impact, the real work needs to take place inside the organization.
To foster long-term relationships that go beyond skin-deep, channels within the organization must be established to handle unforeseen inquiry and feedback from external platforms — what I’ve heard Amber Naslund refer to as bridge-building. This is where the bulk of the work in social media integration occurs in any business (no, we don’t just get paid to tweet).
Can our business keep up our end of the dialogue?
Listening and establishing a presence on the social web are great first steps… now what?
A little less conversation a little more action
As much as I love to encourage companies to engage in dialogue with the public, sooner or later people will expect you to put your money where your mouth is.
Acknowledging public sentiment and providing a personal point of contact on social networks to address grievances will help curb most negative sentiment, but if the communication stops at the front lines, your love affair with the public will be nothing more than a meaningless fling or worse — a messy, public divorce filled with mutual scorn and regret.
Is our business worthy of public trust?
We make good content, we engage in conversation, we’re establishing trust… but, can we maintain it?
Scale isn’t the only issue
Human relationships are built on our ability to share not only our strengths, but our vulnerabilities. Even if we can scale an organization’s ability to connect across several communication platforms with innumerable consumers/users/fans; most human relationships are fragile — volatile, or at least somewhat transient.
Can a brand forgive, evolve, love, connect? I’m not trying to be difficult or confrontational when it comes to the humanizing issue, I just wonder which human attributes we would like businesses to adopt.
Is our business built to attract new business and nourish old relationships in equal measure?
What does it mean to be human, let alone humanize a business?
An imperfect future?
Looking down the road ahead, I can’t help but think that elevating the human aspects of business will mean more than just a lot of talk.
I’ve raised a number of questions and I’m hoping you will help me begin to formulate some answers.
When all of this social media stuff becomes commonplace, how will business be different? How will we be different as a result?
Photo by ♥ Cishore ♪♫