Humanize your brand: 4 tips from Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence, America’s newest sweetheart, was recently on the cover of MarieClaire magazine with the caption, “She drinks, curses & totally cracks us up! We love Jennifer Lawrence.”

(I’m sure there are some naysayers bursting to tell me they hate Jennifer Lawrence, and that she can’t act or is ugly. Take your negativity elsewhere. This isn’t about her specifically, OK?)

Wouldn’t you love to have your customers shouting about how much they love you? You can be the Jennifer Lawrence of your industry if you follow in her footsteps:

  • Be a reliable source for entertainment and education (edutainment).
  • Be transparent.
  • Be authentic.
  • Follow your own ironclad rules.

By following Lawrence’s model, you can make yourself more accessible, loved and human online.

1. Be a reliable source of edutainment.

How Jennifer Lawrence does it: MarieClaire says, “Lawrence has a reputation as every girl’s imaginary BFF for a reason: In person, she is in fact the nicest, coolest, most grounded and hilarious superstar you’d ever hope to meet.”

How you should do it: It’s less about being your community’s best friend and more about being its source for:

  • Entertainment. (Being funny and/or having a personality is paramount.)
  • Education.
  • Value.

It always helps to have the nicest, coolest and most grounded social media page for your industry. Stay grounded by following the 80/10/10 rule:

  • Eighty percent of what you post should be other people’s content that is relevant to your brand or industry.
  • Ten percent of what you post should be original content (blog posts, tips, tricks, how-tos, advice, etc.).
  • Ten percent of what you post is sales or marketing copy (webinar or event invites, newsletter or other sign-ups, and product or service sales).

Let’s say you post 10 times a week. Eight posts should be from others, one post should be original and one post should be for sales/marketing. Substitute two original posts if you aren’t currently selling anything.

2. Be transparent.

How Jennifer Lawrence does it: Lawrence once said, “If you’re going to do something that you have to lie about, don’t do it. It’s very simple. I have too much anxiety to sneak or to cheat or to lie.”

How you should do it: I talked about boundaries in a recent SteamFeed post. Being transparent doesn’t mean sharing what you had for lunch, airing dirty laundry or using personal family matters to gain empathy.

Being transparent is about being honest about your company, brand or yourself.

You’re probably asking: What do I talk about? How much is too much?

There’s a fine line, and your gut will probably tell you when you’re crossing the line. Let people get to know the real you without oversharing. It will help humanize your brand without turning people off.

Ask yourself these seven questions before you post something:

1. Is this valuable?

2. Is this helpful?

3. Does this solve a problem?

4. Does this give insight into the brand without oversharing?

5. Is this something I’d share with a stranger? (If not, that post is not meant for online sharing—especially if you’re running an ad to that piece of content.)

6. Would I care if a brand I followed shared something similar?

7. Would I want to receive this by email or text? (If not, don’t post it.)

3. Be authentic.

This is not the same as being transparent. Being authentic means setting yourself apart from your competitors.

How Jennifer Lawrence does it: Lawrence doesn’t let herself get caught up in all of the “beautiful faces” of Hollywood. She says, “Looks aren’t everything. Humor and intelligence are key. I love a unique mind; someone who’s his own person.”

How you should do it: Establish relationships built on trust. Care about your communities. Listen more.

Other tips for your online communities:

  • Tag the person’s name when responding to comments.
  • Sign your name or initials on posts and tweets.
  • Be prompt when responding.
  • Use behind-the-scenes photos to show the people behind the brand.
  • Give thanks where it’s due. (And it’s always due—even when it’s not obvious.)
  • Use customer testimonials for social proof.
  • Tell interesting stories that set you apart from competitors (without sharing too much information).
  • Admit your mistakes.

4. Follow your own ironclad rules.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing campaign for brands.

How Jennifer Lawrence does it: Lawrence admits, “Nobody is bulletproof, especially in this business. I still work just as hard as I always have.” She also refuses to talk about her significant others.

How you should do it: I can’t tell you what rules to make or follow. I can only tell you to create:

  • Your rules.
  • Your style (like tone and voice).
  • Your individuality (not just your brand’s style, but what sets it apart).
  • Your social strategy (tied to business outcomes).

Then stick to them!

It seems easy to be likable online, but like anything else worth having, it takes a solid strategy and a lot of effort to humanize your brand.

How do you humanize your brand? Let us know in the comments section.

Brooke Ballardis the founder and chief digital strategist at B Squared Media, LLC. A version of this article originally appeared on SteamFeed. 

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