If you’re going to relate to the public (AKA create your Public Relations Strategy), adapt to the inescapable trend of being more personal and personable – presenting the human side of your company. So, how do you know you’re there? Look at these areas to figure out where you fall in the “human/not human?” categories:

Word Choices – First, what words do you use in your marketing, social media posts, customer service interactions, website content and media releases? Humans talk like people. Companies talk like corporations, boring brochures, all-purpose ads that don’t make a cohesive point.

With social media in particular, marketers are recognizing that human interaction rather than industry jargon is the right way to talk to customers. Get rid of tech-speak gobbledly gook and a fascination with the features of your equipment that has customer eyes glazing over and prospects overwhelmed. Choose words that make it easy on the reader instead of sounding as dry as a 200-page reference manual. (No offense if 200-page reference manuals are your “light” reading. Great stuff sometimes.)

Personal Interactions – When speaking with the media, customers, vendors, influencers – remind yourself that you’re talking one person to another. Focus less on the outcome you want from the interaction (good PR, closed sale) and more on listening and responding to the person in front of you. How well you hear them goes a long way in how highly they see you. That’s what’s reflected in positive PR, sales and retention.

Individual Focus – The best way to write content is to write as if to an individual, someone specific that you can create in your mind. It doesn’t have to be someone with a name, but more the kind of individual that fits a buyer’s persona (Example: homeowner with family, certain income level, particular concerns about family finances and health). Also, let your company’s personality come through with stories that use humor and emotion to connect.

Team Voices – Do you encourage staff to speak on your behalf? Humans talk. Corporations keep a tight rein on communication roles. Your best advocates are the ones already on your team. While you may not want everyone to post on your social media page (not everyone’s a grammar nerd, or even a good speller), each team member does represent your company with every interaction. Customers learn companies by the people they meet – not just the marketing they read.

Important point: As your teammates spread the word about you, make sure it’s a good one. How your company treats its people impacts your “we’re human” reputation. Just as you’d assess someone else’s values by how he treats his family, others will judge your company’s values by its treatment of employees.

Company Values – Customers want to know who you are, what you care about. You can’t hide behind a logo and positioning statement if the reality is not a good one. Show them that you stand behind the list of values you say you believe. Keep promises, provide quality work/equipment, charge fair prices, follow-up.

Shared Viewpoints – You have views about the areas of your expertise (energy efficiency/ conservation, home improvement, safety, technological improvements), and so do your customers. Engage in conversations on social media – listening to their comments and responding with your insight. It’s not just about giving customers a place for feedback, but actually listening and connecting with them.

Humans have conversations, rather than constantly spewing out a bunch of sales messages. As you show that you understand your customers’ needs and care about them, you create an environment where trust and loyalty grow.