Always be a human: online and offline

When we are online – where we can essentially do, see, watch, read, find anything we could ever imagine – what do we choose to do, see, watch, read, find…? If the world really is at our fingertips (digitally), and although it would be great to absorb everything all at the same time, we tend to be selective about it. Time is precious after all, so why do we spend time online; what attracts us to follow a brand, watch a video, and engage with the content?

Surely, we have to value the content, trust whomever has posted it, and enjoy it enough to engage and/or return…or realistically it goes into the mental-note-trash-can-of-useless-untrustworthy-internet-finds. If we are spending our time looking at or interacting with a brand, we expect that in return they spend the time to acknowledge us – whether that is a collective ‘us’ being the followers, or you personally when you interact with their online content. Even if it is as basic as a reply to a tweet, or a chat box popping up on the website asking if you have found everything you needed. The acknowledgement must be genuine though, laden with personality and realness.

How do you build trust and realness online? It’s easy; be a human, react like a human online just like you would offline. It is paramount to show that there really is someone writing the tweet before it gets posted, and there is also someone who is ready to reply to your comments – the good and the bad. Just as you work on relationships face-to-face, work on the community and the relationship the brand has with its followers.

Here are some brands I feel have the human-touch down to a tee (along with campaigns I think are pretty on-point.) For this blog, I will focus purely on Twitter, but the recipe should be cascaded across all channels – if you’re going to do it properly.


Meeting, living, speaking with and making friends with the whole world – no matter who you are – is possibly humanity at its finest. So, if Airbnb can’t do it well, then well, there’d be a problem. Of course, they execute it extremely well – and their #WeAccept and #LiveThere campaigns of 2017 have had a substantial impact worldwide. Campaigns that aren’t just ‘for show’ or ‘for the brand’ either – in February this year, they made a commitment to provide short-term housing over the next five years for 100,000 people in need. They are also contributing $4 million during the next 4 years to the International Rescue Committee.

Here are two videos of the campaign:



But, these campaigns will turn to mud – not a colourful painting – if you don’t look after, listen, and respond to your community. “62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.” Even if it is something like this:



This year, Innocent drinks and not-for-profit organisation Grow It Yourself, with backing from blogger and chef Emily Leary, launched their “Sow & Grow” campaign. The aim being for 25% of all UK primary schools to embrace being outside and learn how to grow their own vegetables. Currently, 9 out of 10 young people are not getting their 5-a-day, and this campaign is sowing the seeds to change this for the better. Parents and teachers are sharing their photos on the website and on social media with the hashtag: “#sowandgrowUK”.


There are chances for schools to win monthly prizes, and the ultimate prize is to be crowned “Sow & Grow” champions. With Innocent drinks being 100% pure fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies, it is in their prerogative to ensure the next generation is enjoying their greens. However, it’s pretty obvious that a vegetable garden in Cumbria isn’t going to directly affect Innocent, so what it is doing is growing and watering the relationship they have with their customers, which consequently makes the customers value, trust, and engage with them.


They also, most importantly, know how to reply to their followers with plenty of personality as well:

Vita Coco

Pure coconut water and pure tropical-ness of Vita Coco. Despite having two Twitters, one for the US and one for the UK, both accounts are fun, friendly, and ooze beachy-ness. Vita Coco acknowledges their customers, as there would be no Vita Coco without them, just as there would be no Vita Coco without coconut farmers and their families, whom they also acknowledge.

vita cocop.jpg

The brand is committed to raising 1 million people in coconut farming communities out of poverty through their Give, Grow, Guide philosophy. Their current focus is on Sri Lanka and the Philippines, which are two of the largest coconut producing regions in the world, so they can make a bigger impact. If this doesn’t create a vibe of realness and value, not sure what does.

Here are some fun tweets they post too:


Brands do better when they don’t just narcissistically talk about themselves all the time. What are your followers saying, are they enjoying your content, how can you join the conversation? Or start one?

Just because it’s online, doesn’t mean it can’t be human.

Further reading:

Emily Johnson – PR and Social Media Executive

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