Back in 1999, when a mere 200 million people were using the internet some big thinkers gathered on a web forum.
They debated about what the internet would look like and came up with a list of 99-points they called the Cluetrain Manifesto. It’s an amazing document. It predicts the future of the social web.
The third of the manifesto’s 99 points is that the social web will work best through conversation. And those conversations will sound human.
Why your organisation needs to have a human voice
So often, when I’m helping organisations use the web better to communicate I hear frustration that their social channels aren’t working. Almost always, the fault lies in a lack of human voice in what they post.
A good social channel should look, feel and be human.
If you do this 80 per cent of the time it earns you the right 20 per cent of the time to make a call to action.
Break this balance on the web and you come across like a pizza delivery company stuffing pizza menus through people’s front doors.
Why I’ve gathered a list of human comms
Gradually, its something that bright people in organisations have woken up to but as I’m training I’m struck by the struggle some people have. So, I decided to gather together examples of organisations sounding human.
What I learned
Starting a while back I thought I’d find a handful of examples and leave it there. Instead, I found a trend for people in organisations to want to sound more human. When I stopped and thought about it, the answer is obvious. Why would they not?
Being human isn’t a London thing
One thing that struck me in the examples that bubbled to the surface was the wide variety of places that were experimenting with an approachable tone. But one thing shone through. Very few were in London or were large corporate accounts.
It is the police officer on the frontline, the Mayor or the member of the public who loves something that the organisation does. In the argument for devolved accounts, the ability to be human and connect is important.
Being human needs common sense
The farewell tweet from the railway company or the Mayor who books a cinema seat and asks others to join in with an Abba sing-a-long has something in common. Being human is good. But knowing when to be that informal is just as important. Announcing the death of the Mayor needs to be done with common sense not a row of sad faced GIFs.
Being human leads to rewards
I get absolutely that comms people need to evaluate what they do and make an appreciable change to the organisations. The blood donations, the foster parents, the library users need to increase. It’s what finance listen to. So they should. But the 80 per cent human content earns you the right to do all that.
It’s not messing about on the internet. It’s a hard-headed data-driven approach to using the web in 2018.
Day 3: Place marketing Finnish style.
Day 5: Virgin Trains new poster.
Day 9: The BBC respond to The Sun.
Day 14: Burger King tackle the bullies.
Day 15: Sefton Council’s message about women.
Day 17: Thames Valley Police’s drugs find.
Day 24: Dorset Police’s Christmas song.
Day 37 KFC parodies Donald Trump