When the online world opened up, people slowly trickled onto the internet. Risk averse at first, these early adopters of the internet started to realize the potential of connection through the world wide web. Suddenly, people were able to access data they never would have fathomed, keep in touch with people with only a few clicks, and see events happening around the world in real time.
Fast forward to 2016 and people are increasingly feeling burdened by the overload of stimulation from social networks, news outlets, and salesy emails. While more people are coming online than ever, many are realizing that digital “connection” leaves much to be desired compared to the real thing.
Connected By the Web, Not the Heart
Increasingly, this means businesses are failing to stay truly connected with their customers and constituents. Instead of fostering a sense of connection through real media, businesses decide to bombard their audience with advertisements. Not only is this off-putting in the short term (despite potentially lucrative converting offers), but it is also pushing people away in the long term.
The only way for businesses to be successful moving forward is to have all communication aim to connect deeply at the emotional level with people. Here are 3 different ways that you can stay more connected even if you cannot interact face-to-face with your customers:
Be authentic – One of the traits that connections with people the most is authenticity. As a business owner, if you are scared when you are writing an email to your audience, indicate that. If you are feeling shameful about something, be authentic about it. In a world that is full of falsehoods and deception, authenticity is appreciated by nearly everyone.
The more authentic you can be, the better your audience will feel connected to you. By being vulnerable, there is immense power and it will translate into a far more connected fanbase. Try to see the long term advantage here. Instead of your audience feeling like you are using them, you suddenly become the sole place for authenticity on the internet. That creates raving fans who offer feedback, spread your message, and help you succeed.
Tell stories – Humans thrive on stories and it has been this way for thousands of years. Our brains have developed to connect deeply with narratives as we tie events to our own lives and experiences. If you are planning to connect with your audience, do so through stories rather than telling them data points that are hard to digest. It is amazing how much people are willing to listen to when it is in the form of a story.
Consider the furthest spreading and most successful stories that have exited in recorded history: religious texts. In each of these texts, the story component is what drives home the ultimate message.
Utilize new media – There is no reason you should be on the sidelines with the most cutting edge technology. Things like video, podcasts, and live streams (Periscope) will help your audience to put a face to the business so they feel a sense of connection. Humans connect with other humans, not with concepts or businesses.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is – if you are getting in front of them regularly through some type of contact service, you need to properly utilize new media.