Being More Human on Twitter

Being more human on Twitter - #TwitterSmarter chat with Christine Gritmon - November 5, 2020

When you tweet to a brand, who do you think responds to you? Do you imagine a business logo or a person you know? Ideally, the latter. However, we also see countless brands everyday that feel distant and rigid towards their community. That’s what we wanted to address on ur chat this week. We invited social media trainer, Christine Gritmon, to talk about how to be more human on social media, and Twitter specifically. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Christine Gritmon
Topic: Being more human on Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

A1: What does it mean to be “more human” on social media?

To be human is to be yourself. It means you’re constantly having meaningful conversations and showcasing your personality.

To put it another way, don’t be a bot that does what your business needs doing. Be a person who happens to manage a business account.

As Holly explained, with most of the world going online and working from home, we miss the small, everyday human interactions. That’s why it’s become even more important to be yourself on social media—talk about who you are as a person and what’s going on with you. These tiny snippets make you more relatable—everyone’s having issues with work-life balance, and your story can help validate theirs.

Q2: Why is it important to express your human side on social media?

Reflecting Holly’s response, our guest also emphasized that it’s important to show your human side because that’s what makes people resonate with a brand. If you only share promotional posts and reply to notifications as a perfectly rigid brand, no one will engage with you on a daily, conversational basis. Instead, they’ll only come to you when they have a problem. The core of community is human-to-human interaction.

Rachel from Express Writers mentioned how essential it is to build trust within your audience. The only way to achieve that credibility is to be approachable. And an approachable brand is one that reflects the person behind the scenes. If people feel as if they’re talking to a real person when they tweet, they are more inclined to respect and buy from you.

Besides, as Kennedy from Rob & Kennedy pointed out, that personal voice is a great way to stand out from a busy feed. And where you have multiple people managing a brand account, it’s important to enable every person to show their voice. The more human-sounding a brand is, the more likeable it becomes.

It’s worth noting that both Rachel and Kennedy are #TwitterSmarter regulars. They use their brand handles, but we always see them as Rachel and Kennedy—our community members know them for who they are, and not only for what they sell.

Q3: How can you add a human touch to everyday social media interactions?

Focus on building conversations rather than broadcasting your messages to the masses. Treat social media as a family gathering and not as a speech you deliver from your pedestal. The more you are in the moment, expressing your personality, listening to your community, and engaging with them, the better it is for your brand in the long term. Don’t try to be perfect every time—people will appreciate those occasional raw and unfiltered posts. It’s all part of what makes you human.

Another great and easy way to show humanness is to show emotions, either by words or as Ben mentioned, by including emojis in your tweets. You can also add GIFs to your tweets, both custom and from the library, create videos, post photographs, and share behind-the-scenes stories.

As Jesse also said, your tone and language matters a lot. Choose simple conversational words rather than words that are well-placed in doctoral theses or press releases. How you present yourself is just as important as what you share. You’re probably a fun person to hang around in the real world; be that fun person on social media as well.

Q4: What are some ways to highlight the different personalities behind branded accounts?

If you have a team of people who manage the brand account, let them introduce themselves. A good way to do that is during the introduction in Twitter chats. And of course, encourage them to sign off tweets with their name so that people who regularly engage with your brand can identify them and have conversations with them as a person.

If you have a behind-the-scenes team that doesn’t manage your social media, but are instrumental in your branding anyway, go the extra mile and introduce them. Share photos, videos, background information, and even everyday stories. It helps your audience connect with you on a deeper level.

Another great way to highlight people in your team is to feature them separately—either on social media or on your website. GiveWP is a regular on our chats, but they have a handful of people behind their handles and it’s a different person every week. For instance, last week, we had Taylor, who was also the guest. We spoke about GivingTuesday and how to use social media to give back to our societies. This week, however, it was Drew behind the handle. He told us about how GiveWP has spotlights for each team member.

Q5: Share some Twitter features that help convey a more personal touch.

As I mentioned before, custom GIFs are a brilliant way to grab attention and add a personal touch to your tweets. Aside from that, you can also do voice messages, and videos—both recorded and live.

Rachel reminded us of the importance of using the profile header and pinned tweet to show who you are and what you do. It’s a great space to include an introductory video, illustrations and images, and even website addresses.

Smita suggested polls, image gallery, and Twitter Lists as additional ways to convey your personality.

Q6: How can we turn Twitter interactions into deeper relationships?

I’ve already beaten this point to death, but I’ll say it again: prioritize conversations. Reply and quote tweets to keep interactions flowing. And take Christine’s suggestion and invite your Twitter connections to join you across other social media as well. When you surround yourself with like minded people, it’s easier to initiate conversations and to convert them into more meaningful relationships.

Bernie added another valuable point. Focus on developing relationships on social media, and whenever you get a chance, meet and catch up in real time as well. Just see that you wear masks and maintain appropriate physical distance. #SafetyFirst.

It’s also crucial to be consistent. After all, the biggest challenge for any relationship is when one person isn’t around. Diana put it well—you have to be genuinely interested in your Twitter relationships. Only then will you want to come back and engage with them on a regular basis. Otherwise, it’s nearly impossible to maintain those relationships.

Q7: Why is it important to nurture social media relationships?

We need to nurture relationships because we’re all naturally driven by our relationships. Twitter and other social media, in particular, are all founded under the same underlying need to be connected to other human beings.

Quoting Mark Schaefer and Bob Burg, Christine pointed out how people trust people and not random brand marketers. And to develop that trust, you have to be around so they can recognize you, and be likeable so they choose you over unknown brands.

Lance gave us another good reason to nurture relationships on social media. Often, we see people who thrive because of their social media connections. Who’s to say, when you’re least expecting it, one of your long-term Twitter friends might be the reference that lands you a big deal. Of course, don’t delve into developing relationships just because they will help you later on. Social media should focus on being social and not transactional.

Q8: Name some brands that do a great job being human on social media.

Christine’s favorite brands include Fast and Aviation Gin, while the top personal brands on her list are Brianne Fleming, Chris Brogan, and Amanda Goetz.

Jim highlighted Agorapulse, Lately, Streamyard, and Metricool.

Some other brands our community members love are, SEMRush, Wendy’s, ScotRail, and Buffer. I’m sure I missed a lot of other good ones, so feel free to let us know which human brands you like the most.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. As always, thanks for reading through. And if you have some time to spare on Thursday, join us at 1pm ET for the next #TwitterSmarter chat.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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