The Inbound Playbook

How Can Brands Bring The ‘Human Touch’ In Social Media Campaigns.

09 Nov 2017

Let’s kick off with a quote from a modern marketing guru Seth Godin: “People do not buy goods and services. People buy relations, stories, and magic!”

And that’s exactly what stops the ‘buzzing’ consumers right on their tracks – A worthwhile exchange and not just a quick exchange of goods for money. A product, service or a message that immediately connects to their experiences, relates to their emotions, invites their engagement and fills them with a sense of contentment. Simply put, it’s the ‘human touch’! 

Most successful brands are well aware of this ‘psychological tactic’ and they make sure to use it in their brand interactions – be it by way of billboards on the streets, adverts on television or social media campaigns… 

Armed with a distinct ‘brand persona’ (For instance Nike is ‘sporty and gutsy’; Coke is ‘fun, festive, adventurous), these brands skillfully paint a vivid picture in our minds to identify with their personality and invoke a sense of attachment to their values; triggering conversations and eventually conversions – thus a strong and authentic communal relationship is formed to last a lifetime. 

Today we look into such successful brands who have won the hearts of their customers, fans and followers, by bringing the ‘human’ element into their social media campaigns: 

1.  AirBnB – Making Memories That Last a Lifetime

The choice of social media here is the Instagram. As we know Instagram is mostly about a stunning photo and a caption to accompany it.  Airbnb however, took this a bit further to tell you an intriguing story about the adventure of their super hosts, to whom they gave the keys of a Tesla car… 

As you can see in the post above, the hosts apparently took off on a road trip in the car to finally rest in the treehouse, as seen in the picture above. 

Along with the stunning picture and the narrative the brand plays here; it immediately entices and touches your heart with a desire to be a part of their brand story. The brand takes it up a notch by inviting you to fetch more of their story, which can be experienced by clicking through their bio. 

2.  The KLM Surprise Campaign

Back in 2010, the Dutch airline KLM came up with this incredible idea of ‘surprising’ the passengers travelling with their airline. 

The campaign involved flight attendants locating 40 people who were flying with KLM for the day – via Twitter and Foursquare. Then they would look into the social media profiles of these selected customers to find out more about their interests; and surprise them with personalised gifts when they arrived at the airport. 

As seen in the video (above), KLM was able to put a huge smile on the faces of selected passengers flying that day, by surprising them with a personalised gift they could use on the trip or enjoy at home. 

Eventhough the campaign reached out to only a small number of people, words of the initiative flooded the social media channels like; Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; and for the month, KLM’s twitter feed clocked in with views over one million. 

The ‘KLM surprise campaign’ may seem a bit ‘creepy’ as it had to dig into travelers’ profiles; but you have to give it to them, for their genuine pursuit to add that ‘human touch’ in their social campaigns. 

3.  Business Insider – Understanding The Pain Points

Here’s a simple yet effective campaign that shows how Brands don’t always need to go for extravagant measures to reach out to their audience. 

This Business Insider’s Facebook post is tapping into the pain points of their audience and providing them with an effective solution: 


The Headline and the subtitle of the post is an instant ‘attention grabber’ which appeals to Business Insider’s target audience. There are times we tend to get stuck in a conversation with a person in a party (could be at a networking event, conference, etc.), but cannot leave abruptly and hurt his/her feelings. 

The post strikes a chord with its audience and also provides a solution. those of you interested in learning more can click on the link to an article that explains how to tactfully and politely exit a conversation. 

4.  Coles – Humour Saved The Day

One thing brands need to realise is that, not all campaigns go as smoothly as planned; some may go unnoticed, but some could backfire if you touch the wrong nerve; and failure to tackle such lashes in time can lead to a disaster for the brand. 

The example here is that of a Cole’s customer who took to the Supermarket’s Facebook feed to complain about how he found caterpillars in a capsicum he bought from their store. The post included his elaborate story on how he had to drop the idea of making chicken-capsicum stir-fry for dinner. 

Cole’s response to the unsatisfied customer was simply out of the ordinary – It wasn’t stacked with apologies and concern; nevertheless, Coles won the heart of the customer by giving the most wittiest and human response: 


The post could have easily gone viral jeopardising the image of the brand; instead Coles turned a seemingly disastrous situation into a pleasant one by bringing humour into the mix and connecting with its followers with a ‘funny bone’ personality. 

5.  Oreo – Being In The Moment

Here is another example of how brands are able to capitalise a situation and turn it around to drive a message (campaign) that hits the nail on the head for their customers. 

In 2013, When there was a 22 minute power outage in the game of Super Bowl XLVII between Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, Oreo rushed in to push a brilliant campaign via its Twitter handle; that was highly relevant and creative: 

The campaign was loved by all, as it captured and shared the moment with Super Bowl and Oreo lovers, who marveled at Oreo’s ability to ‘think on their feet’; and of course given the chance, would happily ‘dunk’ the famous cookie into milk, right away. 


For brands aspiring to truly connect with their prospects and audiences on a human level, it’s important to shift your mindset from ‘selling’ to ‘sharing’ and ‘providing’. Then only you may be able to engage in an authentic relationship with your customers that nurtures friendliness and loyalty! 

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email

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