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How to use empathetic marketing in your social media strategy

As a business owner, it’s important to take an empathetic approach in all of your marketing materials, from your website copy to your social media strategy. By empathizing with your customers, you can better serve them. So to help you get—and stay connected—with your customers, here are four ways you can build a social media presence with more empathetic content marketing.



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4 ways to increase social media reach and engagement

If you’re like 44% of people worldwide, you’ve been spending more time on social media during the pandemic. Whether you’re catching up on the latest news on Twitter or chatting with family on Facebook, social media has allowed us to stay connected. 

But as a small business owner, are you spending more time on social media being empathetic?

While sometimes confused with sympathy, which is feeling compassion for someone else, empathy means putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes. 

By empathizing with your customers, you can better serve them.

Here’s the Merriam Webster definition of empathy: “the action of (or capacity for) understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

It’s important to take an empathetic approach in all of your marketing materials, from your website copy to your social media strategy.

Because social media offers such a great way to interact with a large audience, you should be willing to put in the time and effort to ensure your communications are not only engaging, but empathetic to what people are going through.

READ: The Importance of Empathy-Based Marketing, on our website.

As we move forward from COVID-19, empathy-based marketing isn’t just the right thing to do, your customers now expect it. 

Many studies done during the pandemic are showing people want brands to be more empathetic and aware of the long-term impact it will have on their lives.

Hopefully, you communicated authentically and empathetically with your customers during this time, and you’re going to have to continue to do so! Here are 3 ways to use empathetic content marketing…


According to the Braze Brand Humanity Index research, around 65% of people were more loyal to brands they felt a human connection with. 

So to help you get—and stay connected—with your customers, here are four ways a small business owner can build a social media presence with more empathetic content marketing

Create an empathy map

This can be a good first step to put you deeper into the mind of your customer. Originally a tool used in the design and agile development worlds, empathy mapping provides a deeper understanding of your customer. It’s usually split into four quadrants: says, thinks, does and feels.

With your target customer’s persona in the middle, you begin to brainstorm questions, like:

  • Why do you need my product? 
  • How does using my product make you feel/think/do/say?
  • What are some stressors/fears in your life?
  • How does my product help you reach your goals?

Write out your customer’s thoughts the way you think he or she would express. Their needs, wants, desires, hopes, fears, goals, and dreams will start to be more clear, and you’ll be able to build a social media presence using messaging that resonates with your followers.

Tap into your customers’ emotions

I’m not talking about playing on their fears to sell your products, but rather, thinking about how your product makes them feel.

Here’s a way that a brand helped ease their smallest customers’ fears. Philips invented a miniature version of a CAT scanner called the ‘KittenScanner,’ which doctors use to educate kids about the MRI process and put them at ease. Children can try it out with toy animals, taking the focus off of their procedure and onto fun.

It was created back in 2004, but it still gets mentioned on social media, in videos and in health journals as a way to reduce the need for sedation. How could you position your brand in a helpful, stress-reducing way for your customers?

Use social listening to your advantage

Social listening is all about monitoring your communication channels for brand and competitor mentions, and certain keywords and comments.

As you “listen” to your followers this way, you can gain valuable insights into what they like, don’t like, want and need from you. You may see a tweet on Twitter from a happy customer who loved your product. Or, you may see a comment from someone who wasn’t impressed with how long it took customer service to respond to a complaint.

With social listening, you not only get information on how your small business is performing, you also get the opportunity to provide better customer service and tweak a process or product that isn’t working.

Inspire customers to take action

Showing your customers you believe in them is an ideal way to increase social media reach and engagement. Think about the product or service you offer to your customers. How could you get them to use it to add value to their life and/or entertain them?

For example, a popular home improvement retailer encouraged their customers to grow a living salad bowl with an infographic they shared on social channels. While there is minimal branding on this infographic, it still reinforces the business’s marketing strategy of the things that are possible with their products.

No matter how you’re using empathy-based marketing to increase social media reach and engagement, remember your branding. For example, if your brand voice is “fun, upbeat and confident,” using humour might be the best way to engage your audience. 

If it’s “down-to-earth, considerate and approachable,” a more heartfelt, emotional message could be the way to most effectively speak to your customers. 

And don’t forget to create a social media marketing plan to save time and money!

(Featured image by Kaboompics .com via Pexels)

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Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence. As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.