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The key to real business? Real social media powered by real people

If you’ve ever watched a romantic comedy, Dr. Phil or binged on Maury, there’s one thing you know for sure: relationships are about people and trust. This couldn't be truer for businesses. We're all drawn to businesses that seem human and make us trust them.

In a computerized world where interactions happen on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and everything in between, loyal relationships and trust can be challenging to achieve.

Yet simply because business interactions happen through computerized devices doesn't mean relationships need to be robotic. According to RTOWN, a company that offers digital marketing to small businesses, social media can be a great platform for building meaningful relationships between customers and businesses. Like all relationships, the key is being human. When a company seems to be a collection of people, rather than a money making enterprise, we trust them. <who> Photo Credit: Contributed </who>

In other words, communicate on social media like a human being and you'll gain people's trust. Skeptical? Check out these social media campaigns to learn how any business can use 5 fundamentally human traits to establish trust with their customers.

Make your audience laugh!

We’ve all been there, sat awkwardly on a first date in a crowded restaurant. Conversation is strained as you both nervously wait for the server to arrive. Then suddenly, out of the blue, something funny happens. A joke is cracked and you both enjoy a good laugh. After this, the evening starts to look up and conversation flows. In other words, through sharing a happy moment together, you’ve realized that you actually like this person. You’ve reached a level of mutual respect and a certain degree of trust.

Businesses can achieve the same thing with their social media accounts. A great example is Denny’s. Through social media posts that are quirky and odd, Denny’s makes people laugh. This furthers its brand but most of all, it makes the audience like the brand. It makes Denny's human. This leads to trust and, inevitably, more business.

<who> Photo Credit: Tumblr </who> Denny's replying to Tumblr messages sent to them by fans

Recognize your community by keeping it local

We all love our hometown. After all, our hometown is where we went to highschool, learned to drive, raised our children and built our future. We love meeting people who share the same passion for our home.

In the same way that we immediately trust a fellow local, we also have more trust for local businesses who have a passion for our community. It's a sign of their humanity. We love businesses who hire local, sell local, produce local and lend a helping hand to our community.

Social media is the perfect platform to share this passion for community. If you’re a company with strong local roots, play to this strength!

#WildKelowna, a social media campaign launched by Wilden, a Kelowna housing development, is an excellent example of sharing hometown pride. This social media campaign celebrated the beauty of the Okanagan by inviting locals to take photographs and share them with the hashtag #WildKelowna.

A pair of Osprey have returned to the nest at Rotary Marsh park in Kelowna, BC.

A photo posted by Laura Johnson (@okv_pix) on

The Seahawks and Starbucks Snapchat sleeves is another great example of a business celebrating their hometown. While Starbucks is an internationally known brand, with stores across the globe, through this campaign they recognized their roots. As a coffee company that started in Seattle, they celebrated their hometown pride by recognizing and celebrating the city's beloved sports team. In other words, they reminded Seattle that while they might be an international, multi-billion dollar corporation, they still call Seattle home.

<who> Photo Credit: Starbucks </who>

Lend a little knowledge

Whether it’s learning about a complex governmental policy or learning how to perform a new hairstyle, knowledge is a gift. Offering a gift to someone is a kind gesture that establishes trust.

A successful social media campaign can impart knowledge. #ForceFriday campaign is a great example of this. While the campaign's intention was to sell toys, it also offered commentary on the film, guest appearances and the latest product videos and trailers. In other words, it offered the gift of knowledge in order to increase sales of Star Wars products.

The Cat Hospital of Kamloops is another great example of giving the knowledge gift. The content on this social media account is produced by the staff at the office and provides information on new equipment, great tips and information for cat owners and of course, lots of photographs of cats!

Honesty is key

Trust and honesty go hand in hand. If you can’t be sure of whether someone is telling the truth, you can’t trust them. When it comes to businesses, this couldn’t be truer. The fastest way to ruin a reputation and destroy a brand is with dishonesty. Therefore, brands with strong social media always own up to their mistakes.

WestJet is a great example. In 2010, WestJet lost the guitar of a musician who was playing at a music festival that very evening. WestJet recognized that it had lost the luggage and prioritized finding it. Once a WestJet employee found the luggage, they grabbed the guitar, jumped into a cab, drove to the festival, ran backstage and gave the guitar to the musician just minutes before he was set to go on stage!

Through accepting their mistake, owning it and setting their sights on a solution, WestJet showed that they were honest and cared about the customer. This immediately establishes trust.

WestJet continually demonstrates this through speedy response times that offer genuine clarity and solutions to problems.

Get your customers involved!

Feeling like you’re part of something is fantastic, it establishes loyalty and trust. A social media account can achieve this via recognizing their clients and encouraging them to submit information and photographs to their social media site.

Hotel 540, an RTOWN customer with almost 3,000 Facebook likes, frequently posts photographs from their customers. By doing so, it gets people involved and shows customers that they care.

Whether you're a multi-billion dollar coffee company or a small, local veterinarian hospital, you can always be human on social media! By being human, you can establish trust and reach more potential clients.

Nevertheless, curating a successful social media page or campaign takes time and know-how. At RTOWN, they have real people in your community working on social media accounts that will develop meaningful relationships with customers.

RTown is a Canadian digital marketing company that offers solutions for small businesses. They handle social media channels, manage loyalty programs, provide customer survey data, keep track of an online reputation, produce professional videos and create beautiful, responsive web deign.

KelownaNow sponsored content is written and posted in partnership with participating businesses. While KelownaNow retains editorial control of sponsored content, the content is created in collaboration with the sponsor

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