When the internet first emerged, it was impersonal. Just a way to link documents from one to another. But as it grew, we began to see how adding social aspects increased our enjoyment of the web. MySpace and Facebook allowed us to network and have conversations with our friends, and businesses could more easily connect with their customers. But it turns out that is not enough. For businesses who really want to be a step ahead, they need to utilize a personal human voice in their social media efforts.
This comes from a new study performed at the University of Missouri, where they built mock social media websites for companies to test feedback from users. Each of these sites had user comments and direct responses from representatives within the mock organization. These comments ranged from positive, negative, and neutral. The difference was that on some of the pages the organization’s representative had a name and picture, and on the other pages, they did not. As predicted, the mock sites utilizing the name and picture ranked far higher in user satisfaction.
“Communicating in a human voice adds a sense of personal and sociable human contact to the interaction with the public,” researcher and doctoral candidate Hyojung Park said. “We have evidence that perceived conversational human voice may promote trust, satisfaction, and commitment in relationships between an organization and the public, which in turn results in favorable behavioral intentions toward an organization.”
Park believes this study gives more insight into why more interpersonal communication needs to be focused on by organizations in their efforts to manage relationships with social media.
This study was presented International Public Relations Research Conference in March. Park won the top student paper for her work.