Content Marketing
Likability Matters: 4 Ways to Make People Like Your Brand

Likability Matters: 4 Ways to Make People Like Your Brand

March 7, 2017
4 min read

You know ‘that guy’? The one that everyone likes?

He’s always fun to be around but never pushy. He’s calm, cool and collected when everyone else is stressed, sort of like he knows a secret about life that the rest of us will never figure out.

And he always seems to have the answer – to everything. Expert advice, out-of-the-box ideas that work, inspiring stories. You name it, this guy provides it.

Best of all, when he talks, you feel like he’s talking directly to you, answering your questions, responding to your needs.

Mr. Likability. You couldn’t turn away if you tried. He’s so darn relevant and persuasive. Even if you ignore his presence, everyone else is always bringing up what he just said or is sharing his latest news.

What if you could make your brand this likable?

How much more influential and attractive would your business be to consumers?

As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in all the digital trends and data, constantly chasing our target audience, analyzing their every move, and even trying to stay two steps ahead.

While a customer-inspired approach can be very effective, how often do you step back and just look at your brand’s persona? How much more persuasive would you be if you could boost your brand’s likability, focusing more on attracting rather than pursuing?

How likable is your brand? If you want to be ‘that brand,’ try these tips for increasing likability.

Be Human

I know it sounds trite these days to say it, but we all like that likable person because they make us feel comfortable – we trust that they have our best interest in mind, as well as that of society. Guess what the top 3 professions are that people trust the least. You can probably figure out the first two:

  1. Car salespeople
  2. Politicians

Third? Advertising professionals. Yeah. Sorry!

While content marketing is the evolution of advertising and we like to think of ourselves as being much more appealing to the human race, the truth is, many people don’t trust anyone who is trying to sell them something.

If you want to overcome this bias and get people to feel at ease with your branding efforts and like your business more, you’ve got to make your content human. What’s human? Alive. That means not a robot and not a mannequin.

Your site visitors will feel much more comfortable with your website if you do exhibit human behavior.

  • Voice your opinion and be both firm and consistent with the stances that you take. Opinions are a must in order to inspire shares and likes.
  • Inject your brand’s personality into your marketing content. Is your brand humorous, caring, sensual, quirky? The core personality traits of the business you are marketing for should be felt through all your content, like a thread that connects every piece you publish.
  • Express emotion through your content. This is especially powerful through visual content. Take for example, Coca Cola’s Taste the Feeling campaign. You can feel that brand magic oozing from the vibrant reds and classic, sepia-toned photos.

Image from Coca-Cola Taste the Feeling Campaign (Photo: Business Wire)

  • Make your brand’s story relatable. You can do this by infusing real-life stories in your content or posting images of employees on your site with short, creative one or two line personal bios – not your employee’s master degree in business administration, but their love of black raspberry ice cream and obsession with glass art. Hey, we’re all human. Let your site visitors feel that so they can connect with your brand.

Talk to Your Customers

You know how Mr. Likability makes each and every person he talks to feel like the center of the universe? You can have this type of effect with the tools available to digital marketers today. You can talk to your customers in real-time, one-on-one. With tools like Drift, you can be there to answer questions and offer help and advice in real-time when someone visits your website.

This is a powerful way to convert leads, capturing those already-interested site visitors before they leave your site. It’s also an incredible opportunity to boost your likability ratings through the roof. You are essentially establishing your brand as an entity that is supportive, happy to help, and that cares about your consumers’ concerns – and their business.

You can also keep the conversation going on social media. Answering Facebook comments, retweeting positive feedback and reviews, and responding to posted concerns about your brand. Of course, you can’t spend your days conversing on social media, but well-timed, well-spaced engagement can show your customers that someone exists behind the curtain.

Get Your Customers to Talk about Your Brand

Humans are social creatures. We’re influenced not just by celebrities, but also by each other, from our close friends and family members to our co-workers and even social media followers and followees. The more you can get people talking about how they like your brand, the more likable you will be.

Think of it this way, consumers talk about the brands they like (or don’t like) 90 times per week on average. The more your business’s name pops up, the more popularity points – and the greater lead generation. After all, 90% of people believe brand recommendations from friends.

How to encourage reviews, referrals, and positive talk?

  • Reward referrals with discounts and other ‘thank-yous.’
  • Nothing says, ‘I love this brand so you should too’ like well-designed wearables, coffee mugs, pens, and other items. This works especially well for trend-driven industries like food and beverage, fashion, and the arts.
  • Ask your loyal customers for reviews after purchasing.

Be Helpful

The final key to marketing likability is substance. You’ve heard this before in content marketing. Value, expertise, and relevancy matter.

For every piece of content you publish, make sure it answers the question, ‘This will help my consumers because…”. It has to educate, inspire, or in some way improve their lives.

One of the great things about Mr. Likability is that he seems to effortlessly know everything. Make your brand appear the same way by sticking to a high-standard of well-researched, in-depth expert content, especially for your written content and infographics.

Aside from staying on top of what is going on in your industry through trade journals and other news sources, you can track what is being discussed the most on social media right now. BuzzSumo will show you which subjects that your competitors are posting are getting the most likes and shares. This will help you stay relevant – and well-liked.

When you are in marketing or are trying to market your own business, life does become a popularity contest. By taking steps to become more likable, you’ll develop that certain, special quality that makes persuading people to buy your product or service so much easier.


2 thoughts on “Likability Matters: 4 Ways to Make People Like Your Brand

  1. Karen

    A great point: For every piece of content you publish, make sure it answers the question, ‘This will help my consumers because…”. It has to educate, inspire, or in some way improve their lives.
    I would also add, “be genuine.” Authenticity is essential — any efforts toward “likability” that come across as fake or manipulative will be quickly detected, dismissed, and/or denigrated.

  2. Michael Brenner

    Thanks Karen, completely agree. It has to not just *want* to help people, but also feel like it’s coming from a *real* person.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.