We often hear that digitalization distances us from the 'real world'. Social media is bad and unhealthy, preventing us from creating real relationships with real people.
Constantly staring at our smartphones may also be keeping us from experiencing the real world around us. These are common negative statements about current and new technology.
But can technology inspire us to become more human?
Technology and personalization of communications is an interesting equation. Technological advances, communication mediums, and its challanges have been debated throughout human history.
New content, new uses of media, new distribution methods, new 'anything' for that matter, are considered alarming for some people. But instead of fearing technology, what if we could use it to restore our humanity?
Our digital environment has the potential to be restorative. We are able to, through all our technical tools and 'newness', make our audiences and communities come alive. For brands, this digital era means that they can no longer control their brand image.
For a brand to be successful in this digital era, there are four basic, essential behaviors to adapt.
- Be genuine. Give something back to your audience whenever you are asking them for something. And be careful of your 'tone' and 'sentiment'.
- Practice transparency. This also relates to being genuine, in that all of these concepts are measures of honesty. While “being genuine” refers to how you communicate, “transparency” on the other hand is more about what specifically is communicated and to what depth of detail. A brand should apply the right amount of transparency in all of their communication with their audience.
- Repond frequently. This is a must. The demands are high, but so is the payoff for brands who are practicing it. The benefits are clear; consumers feel a stronger connection with the brand and are more likely to buy from a brand they can contact on social media. Happy customers typically share experiences in their own social media platforms, creating a viral effect.
- Embrace ratings and reviews. Social media should be about interaction with other users, not just attention to buying opportunities. Today, people talk online, and there's no way to control what they say about your brand. The best defense, to reduce the likelihood of an attack, is to implement the behaviors explained above. Respond to ratings and reviews, in a genuine and transparent way.
Digitalization offers great potential of humanization for brands. But true humanization can happen only if you know what is being discussed about your brand in social media. Since it's impossible for any brand to keep track of everything that's being said about them, high-quality analytics is needed to stay alert and engaged with your audience on social media. By understanding how your brand is perceived, what the earned media value is, and reacting fast whenever there is an incident to react on, you may just be able to humanize your brand.