Human to human marketing with Jenn Donovan (NEWBIE)

Human to human marketing with Jenn Donovan (NEWBIE)
Reading Time: 32 minutes

 

Appealing to the humanity of the masses

 

Have you noticed that your buying choices are often not defined by price or even product features but by how you feel about a brand?

We want to buy from brands that we feel have values that are aligned with our own, but to do this, brands need to market intelligently and emotionally.

They need to appeal to our humanness.

So how do we do this?
It might seem relatively straightforward if you’re a one-human band, but what about larger businesses?
How do we show up as real humans in everything we do, how much is too much, and when is caring sharing, oversharing?

Today we’re going to chat about the best ways to show up online as glorious human beans and make genuine connections with your audience.

 

Tune in to learn:

  • What human to human marketing is
  • Human to human marketing done well: examples of individual and larger brands doing it right
  • How to show your brand values online
  • How to overcome your fear of being more open with your audience
  • 3 simple tactics to humanise your brand
  • How to differentiate yourself from everyone else
  • Human to human marketing fails: What to avoid
  • Jenn’s top tip for H2H marketing

 

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And big thanks to HunterLewis from New Zealand for their lovely review:

“Such a great and informative show. Loving listening to Kate on this podcast.

 

It’s an easy listen for a subject that can be a challenge to get your head around!”

 

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About Jenn Donovan

 

Jenn Donovan, is the Founder of Social Media and Marketing Australia, the founder of the extremely successful community Facebook group – Buy From a Bush Business (currently 355,000 members), and the Co-Founder of Spend With Us – Australia’s answer to Amazon but only for rural and regional small businesses.

Jenn takes her clients from Invisible to Invincible using strategic marketing principles and is also a community leader, and a community believer and is on a mission to ensure the lost art of Human to Human marketing and community are seeded firmly in everyone’s marketing strategy in 2022 and beyond.

Jenn lives on a farm on the border of NSW and Victoria with her husband Ruston and their 3 children. Jenn has 10 chooks, 2 peacocks, 2 guinea fowl, 1 dog, 1 cat, and several pet lambs!

Fun fact:
Jenn doesn’t like coffee and has been a Justice of the Peace for about 25 years!

 

 

Connect with Jenn Donovan

 

Useful Resources

 

 

Transcript

 

Kate Toon:

Have you ever noticed that your buying choices are often not defined by the price or even the product features, but by how you feel about the brand? We want to buy from brands who we feel have values that are aligned with our own. But to do this, brands need to market intelligently and emotionally. They need to appeal to our humanness. So how do we do this? It might seem relatively straightforward if you’re a one human band, but what about larger businesses? How do we show up as real humans in everything we do? How much is too much? And when is caring, sharing oversharing? Today, we’re going to chat about the best ways to show up online as glorious human beings and make genuine connections with our audience. Hello, my name is Kate Toon and I’m the head chef at The Recipe for SEO Success, an online teaching hub for all things related to search engine optimization and digital marketing. And today I’m talking with Jenn Donovan. Hi Jenn.

Jenn Donovan:

Hey Kate, how are you?

Kate Toon:

Very, very good. I’m going to read out your bio so everybody knows how splendid you are. Jenn is the founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia, founder of the extremely successful community Facebook group, Buy From a Bush Business, currently 355,000 members and co-founder of Spend With Us, Australia’s answer to Amazon, but only for rural and regional small businesses. Jenn takes her clients from invisible to invincible using strategic marketing principles and is also a community leader and a community believer and is on a mission to ensure that the lost art of human to human marketing and community are seeded firmly in everyone’s marketing strategy in 2020 and beyond. That’s a lot of communities and a lot of founders going on in that bio.

Kate Toon:

Jenn lives on a farm on the border of New South Wales and Victoria with her husband Ruston and three children. Jenn has 10 chickens, two peacocks, two guinea fowl, one dog, one cat and several pet lambs. Fun fact, Jenn doesn’t like coffee, and has been a justice of the peace for about 25 years. So much to pull apart there. First of all, I would like you to list out the names of all 10 chickens, please.

Jenn Donovan:

My chickens don’t get names. My brain is too full. They are just all my favourites and they’re just my chooks.

Kate Toon:

Oh my goodness. It’s that because you eat them?

Jenn Donovan:

No, it’s-

Kate Toon:

Oh, okay.

Jenn Donovan:

They’re just chickens. They don’t get names.

Kate Toon:

Oh my God. Chickens deserve a name. Rights for chickens. I’d just call them all Allan if I were you and then it’s much easier. And then they all know who they are. People need an identity. We’re talking about being human here. Even chickens need an identity. So what’s this about not liking coffee? I’m sorry. I feel like we should just stop the interview right there.

Jenn Donovan:

I know, I know. Coffee lovers often have trouble with me not liking coffee. I’ve never drank coffee, I don’t like the smell of coffee, I don’t like the idea of coffee. Every now and then I will mistake… Someone will serve me up a hot chocolate and it’s actually a coffee by mistake. I’ll take one sip, spit it out and go, “No, still don’t like coffee.” Like-

Kate Toon:

Do you actually spit it out, just spit it at them? No, I’m joking. Awesome. Well look, as I said nearby, there was a lot of founding going on, a lot of community going on. And I think that puts you perfectly placed to talk about this human to human idea because obviously to run big communities as big as yours, 355,000 humans in a group, you have to have your human skills down pat. So Jenn and I were laughing before, because we said we’re going to call this podcast how to be a human. I’m not entirely sure how to do that. So let’s cut down to the basics, right? What is human to human marketing? Isn’t that what we’re all doing anyway?

Jenn Donovan:

Well, I think we’re all attempting to do it most certainly. But if you scroll through, Instagram is probably the easiest way to find people who aren’t doing human to human marketing, because it’s so easy to scroll. It’s so easy to look at people’s grids and things like that. The other social media platforms are a little bit harder to do that, but basically there’s a lot of people out there hiding behind their logos and hiding behind their products and services and that isn’t human to human marketing. There is a lot of people out there, when people follow me, I try, and I’m not 100% accurate at this all the time, but I try and send them a message to say, thanks for the follow. How are you?

Jenn Donovan:

And sometimes it’s like, I have to say, “Hey guys,” because I have no idea who you are, what your name is, or what you look like. So I think they’re the people perhaps not showing up as humans, but everyone is trying to do it to a certain degree, but there are still a lot of small business owners out there who think their products and service is what people are after, which of course is not always true. People love to connect with the people that they do business with.

Kate Toon:

Yeah. Yeah, totally. I mean, as we said at the start, people want to buy from people, even if you’re a brand. And I know what you’re talking about because I remember when I started a couple of my other brands, Recipe For SEO Success, this is the podcast, and Clever Copywriting School, I had a bit of imposter syndrome and I thought, well, people aren’t going to want to be involved in this if they know it’s Kate Toon behind it. So I’ll have this logo, I’ll talk about being a we instead of an I, even though it was just me back then, I’ll talk in a kind of weird, corporate speak to make me sound more professional. It didn’t last long. I abandoned that pretty quickly. And I think I’m fairly human to human.

Kate Toon:

I love that you picked Instagram as an example, because I grew with you because you can go to the profile and it’s kind of all there. You can see the last six, nine posts and you get a very quick kind of summary of who that person is and whether they’re doing just quotes and flat lays and it’s all very stiff and perfect, or whether they’re showing a bit of their reality. Who are some of the individuals online who you think are doing a great job of human marketing? You can name names or just talk generally, but who do you think is doing a good job?

Jenn Donovan:

Yeah. Well I guess Kate yourself, like you do an amazing-

Kate Toon:

I’ll just throw my head back and say, oh, thank you very much.

Jenn Donovan:

Oh, I think anyone who’s listening to your podcast, no one will disagree with that for sure. But there’s a couple of small businesses that are retail-based and I think retailers are probably one of the worst at it. And they do tend to hide behind their products because they have a lot of products. So Jane who has Ruby Home Store, she does an amazing job. Shelly at the Casual Step does an amazing job. And Shelly does a lot of video as well. Jane does do a lot of video, but a lot of just showing up, showing your personality. I think it might be Simon Sinek who might have said, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And if your audience can’t see your why, then they’re less likely to choose you over the competition. It’s an extremely crowded marketplace out there. And I often say the one thing that sets you apart from your competition is you, no one does business like you do.

Jenn Donovan:

So that’s one way of standing out. So yeah, there’s certainly a couple of businesses that I know of and that I always get happy little claps when I just see them doing so well in this space.

Kate Toon:

Yeah. I love that. And I think it’s why you do what you do, but also who you are like, the why and the who. We always have to wheel out Simon Sinek on a podcast. If you don’t mention Simon Sinek or Ogilvie or Bob Bly, are you really having a podcast at all? And I like that you mentioned Ruby’s Home Store. She’s actually very local to me. And she does a lot of videos with her husband dancing around, naked behind her Rudy Nudie towels-

Jenn Donovan:

He assures me that they’re not really naked. I did ask-

Kate Toon:

Don’t ruin that. Right. You’ve ruined the illusion. I was going to buy one, but now it just feels like a lie. So I’m not. No, but I like that as well. And the line I always use with my members of The Digital Masterchefs is give me a reason not to buy it from Kmart. Because everything gets reproduced by Kmart, in some sweat shop in wherever and it’s probably going to be cheaper than you can sell it for. So you have to make me want to buy it from you. We’ve talked about this before Jenn. And it’s like that whole meme of when you buy from a smaller business, someone does a happy dance because they can afford their kid’s karate lesson. But the thing is, we want to see the happy dance. We maybe even want to see the kid’s karate lesson. We’re weird. We like knowing.

Kate Toon:

I’ve got a member Renee who runs Grabease, and she’s just started to do a lot more behind the scenes. She uses her Instagram stories for that. So yeah, she keeps her grid fairly profesh, with flat lays and whatever. But the stories is kind of behind the scenes and that’s what I really enjoy watching. And we’re talking too much about Instagram. We’ll talk about other platforms in a minute. So smaller businesses, it’s a bit easier, right? Because it’s you. Can you think of any larger brands, some more corporatey brands who do a good job of human to human marketing?

Jenn Donovan:

Look, the first one that comes to mind and I’m all about supporting the small business. So I don’t like to highlight big businesses too much, but the first one that comes to mind is Bunnings. They’re just so good at that, we might be a big business, but you come into our store and it’s like, we’re a little store. We know you know us, we know where everything is. They do it just so, so well. And yes, it’s not the owner of the business. I don’t even know what the owner of Bunnings looks like, but I don’t need to go and look because they’re marketing and their human to human marketing is so good that I feel aligned with just their employees.

Kate Toon:

Yeah. I so agree with you. It’s like, you hear the word Bunnings and you just get good vibes. Like, you feel it, don’t you? In your undercarriage. Yet, you can hear some other names of… Jenn’s like, “What?” You hear some other names of other brands and you can feel yourself bristling. I don’t have the same reaction to Coles as I do to Bunnings. I don’t have the same reaction as Kmart as I do to Bunnings. I’m a fan of Aldie over Bunnings. Why? Because they’re a bit more human in their marketing, a bit more playful. They do pack the shopping bags too quickly, but other than that, you… It’s funny, isn’t it?

Kate Toon:

We have a visceral reaction to brands, whether we know it or not. And it’s really interesting to think about why do we feel like that? And I love what you said there Bunnings make you feel like it’s a local store. Like, they get you. Even the whole artifice of the sausage sizzle supporting charities, it is a clear brand tactic. Kmart could do a sausage sizzle. Why don’t they? They could do like hot dogs or I don’t know, vegetarian sausages, but they don’t. So why does Bunnings? I don’t know. It works really, really well.

Jenn Donovan:

I think like Bunnings’ opposition is, well, where I am and from where I see it is the dogs, like Home Hardware has the two playful dogs and that works to a certain degree, but it’s not humanising their brand. It is-

Kate Toon:

Dogifying.

Jenn Donovan:

I remember the dogs. So I think that they’ve got that bit where you know, dogified branding, but they’re not making me feel, what’s that saying? People remember what you did, people remember what you said, but they’ll never forget the way you made them feel.

Kate Toon:

How you made them feel. I think that might be Maya Angelou. I think we might have massacred that quote, but it’s somewhere around there. How you make people feel, totally. Also, I’m just obsessed with Bunnings because I love DIY. So I love those examples. Let’s talk a little bit about where do we start with this? Because it can seem, okay. I’m just going to start tomorrow. I’m going to be… Being human, what does that mean? Like, what do I have to do? Do I have to dance on Reels? I talk a lot about in my branding stuff, my personal branding stuff. I have a free workbook, which you can download after the podcast, check the episode notes. I talk a lot about starting with values and working out like, who you want to be in this world? What do you stand for? What don’t you stand for? What role do you feel values play in human to human marketing?

Jenn Donovan:

Massive, massive roles they play because you don’t want to be someone different online as to who you are offline. And if you are a solopreneur or you have a small business that you’re at the helm of, there’s every chance that that business is your values, are your personal values being put out there as business values? I don’t know many successful business owners who are small that have very different values personally as to what they do within their business. So values play a huge role in showing up. And also, we are now getting out and about. Like, people will actually meet you from the chest down now and actually shake your hands. So you have to be the same person online as offline.

Jenn Donovan:

Yes, you don’t have to show everything online. And this is probably the biggest pushback I get people is, well, I don’t want people to know everything about me when I start to talk about human to human marketing. And I’m like, of course you don’t have to show what’s in all you can show as much or as little as you want, but you do have to start showing something and show up. And behind the scenes might feel icky, and I loved the example you gave about Instagram Stories, they disappear after 24 hours. If you felt icky about it, then do as an Instagram story, see what sort of traction you get. I think you would be quite surprised which then of course encourages you to do more and more.

Kate Toon:

Oh, I love that tip. Yeah, it’s kind of like Yesterday’s Chip Paper. It’s gone. You can see how people engage with it. Yeah, I think that’s really important, but I think as well, got to distinguish the difference between values and personality. And I think if you really sit down and think, what do I value in this world? Do I value honesty over everything? Almost to a fault. Like I can’t be honest… That’s one of my problems. I’m brutally honest sometimes. Do I value generosity? Do I value… Whatever it may be. They also become your guiding lights in this difficult world of social media. Because if you are honest and you stand by that and that’s something you firmly believe in, you won’t be wavered. And it’s very hard online to kind of face when you get well known, when you have groups full of 355,000 people, and I’m sure in your group you won’t stand for certain behaviours and you have to decide that very early on, because if you just started to try and work that out now and try and reinforce those back on people, it’d be really, really hard.

Kate Toon:

So getting the boundaries of values I think is really right. And then personality. Let’s talk about personality a little bit because I think it’s very hard sometimes to look at yourself and say, “This is my personality.” So how do you help people identify personality traits that they can share, that they’re happy to share when it comes to human branding?

Jenn Donovan:

I think it comes down to comfortableness in some ways, what are you comfortable in sharing? What are you not comfortable in sharing? And I think this is a bit of a process. I would not have talked about human to human marketing four years ago. I didn’t want to go in front of the camera. I was more than happy to have a logo out there. I was more than happy to stand on stage and speak, but it wasn’t about me, whereas my personal grounding is starting to come through, I’m getting more comfortable with people knowing Jenn Donovan as a brand, just not as a person. And so I think it’s for, anyone who’s listening who’s like, “This isn’t for me. I can’t do this. I don’t want to get in front of the camera. I don’t want my name out there,” I think you’ve just got to sit with it for a little while and do a little bit and do a little bit more and learn what you are happy to share and what you are not happy to share.

Jenn Donovan:

I share a lot, but there’s a lot I don’t share. It doesn’t align with my business values to share X, Y, and Z. So I’m not sharing it. I don’t swear on my podcast for instance, but you get me at the pub on a Friday night with the glass of wine and I’m kind of like a wolfie. That doesn’t align with my brand. So that is not what I put out there. I don’t think that that makes me a different person. It’s just what I want my branding to look like from the outside. And so I’m comfortable with sharing some things and not with others.

Kate Toon:

Yeah, we’ve all got extremities, haven’t we? We’ve all got extremes to our character, and you kind of maybe don’t go to the extremes. Maybe don’t share all your sad, sad story, share some stories, but be aware that you are not chatting to a mate at the pub. You’re, even when you’re on Instagram, you’re still in a professional environment. So you don’t need to let it all hang out. Or maybe you do, if that is your brand value. I’ve gone from only having photos of me with like a roll neck jumper, because I thought that’s what copywriters wore, writing posts about how to use a colon, to yesterday, sharing a picture of me at the swimming pool in my bikini, which I never thought I, and it’s not a flattering picture either, which is something I never thought I’d do.

Kate Toon:

But does it align with my values? Yes. Because I did a post the other day about how I’m a bit fed up with all these fancy entrepreneurs talking about being real, but then using face altering filters that give them like lashes and pouty lips. I want lashes and pouty lips. I don’t have them and I don’t want to misrepresent because I feel that goes against something I’m… It’s one of my values, right? Being honest. Can’t then use filters if that’s one of my core values, because it’s dishonest. It might not be your value. You might be all about kind of putting your best self out there, doing whatever it does to make you confident. That could be your value. Therefore, you’re fine with filters, but this, what we’re talking about here, I think is finding your boundaries, understanding your extremities, and doing it, as you said, by degrees, doing it gradually, step by step. You don’t have to start tomorrow putting a picture of yourself in your bikini on… Although we all should, maybe we should.

Jenn Donovan:

No. No, we shouldn’t. But that’s okay. And I guess by doing it little by little as well, you will attract the people who are attracted to you. And we live in a world of abundance, so there will be some people who won’t like that you’ve put a photo of yourself in a bikini. There will be people who will like that and think that’s just Kate. And so that’s the beauty of living in a world of such abundance is we will attract the people who are attracted to us, as in align with our values. And the people who don’t align with our values will go and find somebody else who does what we do.

Kate Toon:

Yeah, that’s it. So we kind of covered the next thing that I was going to talk about, which is not being comfortable putting photos out. I like your suggestions that we do it by degree, we test using stories, we don’t have to go all the way there. But if I’m sitting here thinking, okay, this is something I’d like to do. Maybe I have been a bit cautious, haven’t ever really put a photo of myself online, have written quite sensible, dry content. What are some small steps or three simple tactics our audience could try to start humanising their brand?

Jenn Donovan:

Yeah. Look, three tips, I think I could give you probably about 10, but I think one of the first things is your name. Nothing will humanise you more than your name. So if I went… I guess a platform like LinkedIn is a little bit harder because you’ve got a name on LinkedIn, whereas on Instagram and Facebook, you don’t necessarily need to have a name within your business capacity. So if I go to your Instagram bio, for instance, do I know your name? It mightn’t be on your handle and it doesn’t have to be your Instagram handle, but is it in your bio? Do I know how to address you? It could be as simple as that. It could be as simple as doing a quick video of yourself or taking a good photo of yourself and telling people three things that no one knows about you.

Jenn Donovan:

You’ll be so amazed at the amount of people that will come and comment on that. And start having conversations with you about that, which can be a really great way to sort of encourage you to share more and more. But that first one is often, people are quite excited, especially if you use things a little bit quirky that people don’t know about you such as for me, I don’t like coffee, like the coffee people come out from everywhere and want to know why I don’t like coffee. So it could be as simple as that. It could be putting, if we take it offline, it could be putting your photo in your email signature so that when people reply back to your email, they have an image of who that person is. You’ve now humanised that name that goes with that email and video, I guess. And anyone who perhaps doesn’t like video, my biggest tip would be, get the time lapse that comes with your phone.

Jenn Donovan:

So in your camera, there is a thing called time lapse, set it up, press record, and do something you would normally make. So if you make cakes, film yourself making a cake. If you do podcasting film yourself doing that. If you are unboxing, film yourself doing that. And basically time lapse is a video that will run, it could run for 10 minutes, half an hour, and then it makes it into like a 20 second video or a half hour video. You’ve got video, you’ve got human to human, you’re not looking at it, you’re not speaking to it, but you’ve still got that little bit of video to start putting yourself out there.

Kate Toon:

I love that. So get your name in your brand, wherever it is. If you’ve got a business brand, try and get your name into your bio. So we actually know who the heck we’re talking about. Use photos in your email footer. I love the idea of using time lapse to show something you are doing. Another little thing I’ve been doing in Reels, because I’ve been trying out Reels is just doing little snippets of my day. I’m not necessarily in them. It could be me going to get my coffee, me walking the dog. And it’s my point of view. It’s through my eyeballs. So you’re kind of seeing my life through my eyeballs and it doesn’t mean I don’t have to kind of show too much of myself. I can do a little bit of me at the beginning and the end. So that’s another one. I love that.

Kate Toon:

And I love the idea of doing a post, which is three things you might not know about me. And again, it doesn’t need to be super wild. You not liking coffee is not the most insane thing in the world, but it gives people a bit of a hook. Are you a cat or a dog person? And at the end of the day, you might be like, “Oh, I don’t want to tell everyone I’m a dog person because all the cat people will hate me.” I mean, really, if someone hates you because you don’t like cats, well, that’s their problem probably more than yours. But I think that’s it gently, gently, and work your way up to videos where it’s you on camera talking direct to camera. That is intimidating, for anybody even at this stage. I still sometimes get a bit of kind of bright-eyed and terrified in the lens, but you build up to it, don’t you?

Jenn Donovan:

You do. And I think anyone that you watch that’s doing video or doing this really well, scroll back two years on their Instagram and see, they weren’t like that-

Kate Toon:

God, don’t do that on mine. Don’t don’t do it. No. I shared in Misfits Script, the video. I tell this story a lot. So if you’ve heard it before, listener, I apologise. There’s a great entrepreneur called Denise Duffield-Thomas who even back 10 years ago was just amazing and professional and looked fab. And I remember when I started to try and do this kind of thing, podcast and whatever, I was like, “Oh, I should be more like her. She’s so glamorous.” And so I made this video and I got a bit of fake hair off the internet. I think it was made out of cat hair, sorry to the cat people. And I kind of set up this really fake background and I had all these lights and it took me nearly like an entire day to make a two-minute video. And it was still terrible.

Kate Toon:

Now, if you could see this podcast, you’ll see I’ve got fluffy hair, because I’ve been swimming this morning. I’m wearing a slightly dirty sweatshirt, which makes me sound like a right piky. Jenn looks very glamorous, but it’s like, this is real. This is who I am. I don’t have fake cat hair all the time.

Jenn Donovan:

I’ve got sneakers on and my exercise pants underneath. Again, chest up, people.

Kate Toon:

Well, this is it. And I love what you said about we’re meeting people and we’re getting to see each other from the chest down. It all gets interesting from the chest down. From the neck down, that’s where all the fun happens. Anyway, I’m joking. I’m being odd now.

Jenn Donovan:

I just got to start telling people about three months ago that I’m like five foot two, just in case they were disillusioned of how tall I was when they start seeing me in real life.

Kate Toon:

People always say that to me. They say, “You’re much smaller than I thought you’d be.” And I’m like, “What does that mean? That’s weird.” Anyway, let’s move on to differentiating ourselves. Because again, we talked about give us a reason not to buy it from Kmart, stand out from the crowd. But it often can feel online… Most people think they’re funny or they’ve got a good dress sense or you have the complete opposite and you are like, I have nothing to bring to the table. I am boring. Why is anyone going to want to follow me, be interested in me when there is this person? Look how glamorous she is. Or this person, look how funny she is? How do you help people get through that when you’re talking them about being more human? What if they don’t feel they have something to differentiate themselves?

Jenn Donovan:

I guess if you are in business and you have a client, then you are differentiating yourself somehow in the marketplace. I think it comes down to abundance and business values. Again, people who align with your values will be attracted to you as opposed to everybody else who does what you do. There is a reason why they’re… If you want to buy a candle, you can pick from approximately 50,000 people that hand make candles at home. But there will be a reason why you will choose the one that you choose because often it’s because you’ve been following them on a platform, you enjoy their humour, or you love that they share behind the scenes, or they do a really good job of describing a smell in words, because there’s one thing technology has never given us and that’s the ability to smell. We can almost do every other sense, but that. And so you will be attracted to them for one reason or another. So I think it does come down to very much of that whole brand value and attracting. Like attracts like.

Kate Toon:

Yeah, I love that. And this place for all types of personality, not everybody warms to a big personality or someone who’s super funny or extroverted. In fact, often one of the reasons I like people is because they’re introverted. They’re quietly confident. I have a fabulous accountant. I won’t mention him because he’s not the sort person he wants to be mentioned. There you go. And he’s not a big personality and he’s not on Instagram, but he has a quiet confidence to him. So I think being true to yourself is the easiest. Everyone says this, this is such a cliche, but if you try and create this artificial personality that’s super wacky, that’s blowing confetti and dancing with balloons, as you said, when people meet you from the chest down or the chest up, they’re going to go, “Well, who’s this person?”

Kate Toon:

And it’s happened to me. It’s happened to me. I remember going to this event and the guy who ran the event was huge online. And when I met him in person, he was ever so quiet. He was lovely. He was ever so quiet. And I was like, “You are so different to who you’ve put yourself out there.”-

Jenn Donovan:

The brand disconnect happening.

Kate Toon:

Totally, and I felt weird because I kind of bounded up expecting to have the same kind of banter that we’d had. And there was no banter. And I was like, “Did you write those…” Like, who… I don’t know. It was weird. And it just felt odd and awkward and, yeah-

Jenn Donovan:

And therefore you remembered for the wrong reason. 

Kate Toon:

Yes.

Jenn Donovan:

Like you remember that person, but would you recommend that person because you felt a little bit ickier, like there’s a little bit of brand disconnect? So as much as human to human marketing is about showing up, it really is about being, and I know authentic is thrown around far too much, but it is that. It isn’t showing what’s in all of that. It’s not what you want to do, but there still has to be that authentication, that brand alignment with you. The other thing I find, and you as the world has opened up is people’s, say for instance, they are showing up in bios and things like that. Like, their bio pic.

Jenn Donovan:

I came across a lady who I’ve followed a few times, she’s a real estate agent. And I met her in real life a couple of weeks ago. And she came up to me and chatted to me. And if it wasn’t for her voice that I’d heard on videos, I would not have known this person. Because I’m like, that picture is at least 25 years old and you do not look like you do online in your bios. Again, like I was… So I took a step back. So I’m like, this person knows me and I don’t know this person, but as I listened to the voice, I’m like, “That’s who that is. Oh my goodness. That photo’s old.” Again, there’s a brand disconnect. I’m remembering that person for the wrong reason.

Kate Toon:

Yeah. Yeah. I will talk about some fails in a minute. I think that’s a classic, the old photo. And I’ll admit my photos are a little bit out date as well, my hair’s a bit longer, a bit browner and I’m a bit chubbier, but I haven’t had time yet. But I feel think people would still hopefully recognise me.

Jenn Donovan:

Yes. I’m sure they would.

Kate Toon:

Hopefully. So let’s talk about some human to human fails you’ve seen. Ones we’ve both seen. So I’ve talked about that one, right? Where there was this very bantery person and in real life that wasn’t really him. The photo is a classic. Have you seen any other fails online where people are trying to do this thing, but not really hitting the mark?

Jenn Donovan:

I think the one that you were talking about with the man showing up as a different personality is the one that I’ve seen quite a lot online. And when you meet them in person, they are a different person all together. Or I’ve seen them online and, I’ve asked them to be a guest on my podcast and I get them on my podcast and they’re really not an expert. Like I ask them questions and they really… And I’m like, but I read that. So clearly they have a really good copywriter is what’s going on in my head. They may not. Maybe they have trouble, maybe they’re much better writers than they are talkers. And you need to give them that benefit of the doubt. But in my head, I’m like, have you got a really good copywriter because that doesn’t sound like you. You’re this brand disconnect of what you sound like on Instagram or on LinkedIn in this case, as opposed to coming onto my podcast.

Jenn Donovan:

But really, I guess a people can’t fail in the human to human marketing space because again, I’ll go back to like attracts like. You will attract people who are attracted to your values and what you’re putting out there. So the failure, I guess, comes when you are creating a character rather than being the main character in your business.

Kate Toon:

Oh, that’s the quote. I love that. Love that, Jenn. So try and create this artifice. Yeah. I agree. And I think we are talking a lot about meeting people in person, but it’s not even about that. It is that, but it’s also, when I have one experience with you on Instagram, then you’re completely different on LinkedIn, then you’re completely different internet, in email, your website, it has a different voice, you’re all chatty Kathy on Instagram, I get to your website and it’s dull as dishwater. So there can be a disconnect between the different channels as well. Like, you haven’t flowed it through. And I’m not saying I would necessarily share the picture of me in a bikini looking chubby on LinkedIn, because you use different channels in different ways, but I am me wherever I turn up.

Kate Toon:

And I like what you said about everything not being a failure. One thing I’ve seen just as a fail before we get onto the positive is when people do take it too far and they do share the worst of the worst. Like, they let out their really dark side. We were talking about being authentic. And I think being authentic, when you’re doing your values in your personality, you should try and identify one or two negative personality traits, and maybe one or two negative values that you have. Maybe you’re somebody who holds a grudge. Maybe you’re someone who’s very sarcastic. Maybe you’re someone who tends towards the negative, whatever it may be because at some point or other it will come out, one way or the other, unless you have a bad day and you write some snarky remark somewhere, it will come out, especially if you’re in this for a long time.

Kate Toon:

So identify what that is, own it, and be aware of it because then you can’t mess up, right? So I’ve seen some people do real rants about other brands or copycats or customers, never goes well. It’s not a great thing to do. So those extremes, you need to cut off, but you also, if you’re aware of them, you might catch yourself before you do it. Like, I have a bit of a tendency to be sarcastic and there is no sarcasm font online. So sometimes it doesn’t go down well and I’m aware of it. And I therefore look at my posts sometimes. And just before I post it, or sometimes just after, I go, people aren’t going to get that I’m being sarcastic there. Let me just wind it back a little bit. But as you said, failure is not failure.

Kate Toon:

So I have done that. I’ve made a fool of myself online, I’ve made poor comments, I’ve overshared, I’ve undershared, I’ve snarked, I’ve whatever. As long as you own it and it is you, I think it’s all recoverable fromable. Do you know what I mean? Like, things move on. I think people are very scared right now though, Jenn, so this wasn’t a scripted question, but I’d love your thought about it. People have very scared of messing up, yeah? In this kind of woke environment that we live in, this cancel culture. If you do kind of share your sense of humour or a political view or an opinion, even having an opinion these days can get you in trouble. You can sometimes get cancelled. And everyone comes in and says, “Well, actually Jenn,” that’s what’s stopping people, I think from pushing their human side out. How do you help people with that?

Jenn Donovan:

Look, and I have been at the bottom of a couple of piles and they are really, really heart-wrenching and spent hours crying, going, “I’m a nice person. Why are these people making me out to not be a nice person?” And so I guess that comes with the caution, with the doing a little bit, with realising what is going to align with your value and what isn’t going to align with your values. I have business values and I have personal values and yes, they are quite closely aligned, but on my personal Facebook, I will often share something that I wouldn’t share in my business. Yes, if people see that, that’s okay, but it doesn’t align with my business values as such. So I think you’ve got to be a little bit cautious and yes, if you’re going to give an opinion, then you need to expect that people are going to disagree with you. Just like they would’ve pre-social media. Unfortunately, it’s just amplified by about, I don’t know, a million, a hundred thousand, something like that.

Kate Toon:

I think we can get into little echo chambers sometimes if we have friends who have similar viewpoints and then we put something out on social media and suddenly it’s in front of a much wider audience. Someone’s not going to like it. Someone’s going to come back. I sent an email out recently, I’m doing an auction to raise aid for refugees, for hospitals and food in the Ukraine. And I got, not a huge amount. And it went out to about 25,000. So it wasn’t too bad, but I did get five or 6 emails back saying, “You don’t know your history,” blah, blah, blah, Russia, Russia. I actually did Russian history for my degree. So I kind of do, but they were never going to hear that. They decided that was who I was. And sometimes that’s why it does take confidence because I know that my values are good and therefore I can deflect some of that, but not all of it. Some does get in.

Kate Toon:

So you are right. If you’re going to even put out there that you like dogs more than cats, you’re going to get the cat people going, “You idiot. I love cats.” And some people really volatile about that.

Jenn Donovan:

You understand cats, if you don’t-

Kate Toon:

Yeah. Like, you’re an awful person.

Jenn Donovan:

One of my, I have a very large community of rural and regional small businesses. My Facebook group is free to go and post in that. But during the highlight or the absolute peak of the pandemic, I had people come and say to me, “You’re being selfish. Why don’t you open it up to everybody? Because every small business is suffering. I can’t believe that you are choosing one business over another, your values are skewed.” Like, just hammered me down. And that really got up my goat so much so that I actually took to social media to share it. I scrubbed out the name, but I’m like, this is what happens when there is so much going on in the world and there is so many angry people in the world. And that really hurt. That hurt at my core when they said that I should be absolutely ashamed of myself. That one hurt a lot.

Kate Toon:

Oh Ouch!

Jenn Donovan:

But I know my values. My values were to help small, rural and regional small businesses. They didn’t go through just COVID, they went through drought, mouse plagues, floods, bush fires. And so that’s where my value stood. And yes. Did we consider for 20 seconds about opening up? Absolutely. But in the end it’s like, no, it doesn’t align with the value of that particular business. And so I had to just cop it and say, okay, that’s one person’s opinion and move on. But it hurt a lot?

Kate Toon:

It’s hard, isn’t it? Because that was the gist of some of the emails I got that, why aren’t I helping these people and these people and these people? And it’s like, I do my best. I picked this particular thing and I’ve done a few other things. What are you doing, actually? You’d never say that though. You can’t engage with these people, but it’s hard. It’s hard. And it does hurt. And so I think if people are fearful, as you said, start gently, but also remember, just as you said in life, you could do the nicest thing in the world. You could go out and say, “Look at the sky. It’s blue,” and someone’s going to come back and say, “Well, it’s got clouds in it actually. So it’s white and blue.” What can you do with that? So pick your-

Jenn Donovan:

I guess, when I talk about the fact that like will attract like, that like with attract like, that’s not always the buyer. And we’ve got to bring it back. This is a business conversation. We want to attract people who will eventually part with their money and buy what it is we have to sell. So that needs to be put into the equation of human to human marketing. Yes, you want to put yourself out there, you want to attract people who align with your values, but you want to attract the people who align with your values that actually want to buy what you have to sell.

Kate Toon:

Yeah. I mean, it’s hard. Being a human is hard. So being a human in marketing is hard too. So I think, let’s wrap it up with some final tips for people. I’m going to go first. I’ve got a final tip for everybody.

Jenn Donovan:

Yeah, go for it.

Kate Toon:

I think it’s really important to pick your moment with some of these human to human ideas. Like, if you’re going to share a story or you’re going to share an opinion, prepare for what’s going to come afterwards. Maybe there’ll be nothing and you’ll be gutted, but if you are having a bad time in business and you’re suffering and you think, I’m going to go out there and I’m going to share that, consider whether that’s actually going to do you any good. Like, how are you going to deal with the aftermath? Like, yesterday I had something funny I wanted to post, but I knew that if I did, the comments would derail my entire day because I’d be interacting, I’d be reading, I’d be answering back. And I’m like, it’s not a good choice today. Today is the day when I’m going to share something pretty straightforward, pretty sensible, not some wackadoodle thing.

Kate Toon:

And so pick your moment, I think, and pick when you are feeling confident, when you can deal with the inevitable haters, because there will be some, as we said, cats, dogs, whatever. And try to do it from a place of confidence and truly feeling good about your values. That was my tip, which was about seven tips. Jenn, what’s yours?

Jenn Donovan:

Look, and I’m probably going to coattail on that by saying sometimes human to human marketing is actually spending time on the platforms, spreading your little Hansel and Gretel breadcrumbs everywhere and answering back the people that have commented to you, spending time going there and interacting with your ideal client or other people that you think would be great for collaborators or partnerships or just people in your world. So it’s not just all about, come to me and see that I’m a human, you do need that reach out strategy where you are going, and I call it, like Hansel and Greta leaving their breadcrumbs everywhere to create that curiosity of wow, that was lovely, or that was a great comment. Who is this person? Click on their bio. And then of course, hopefully they will see who you are, your name, your face, and they’ll get a sense of what you’re an expert in and what you can do for them simply from a few comments that you might have left around.

Jenn Donovan:

But I think the biggest thing with human to human marketing, at the end day is showing up for your audience. And if you don’t want to show up in Reels, pointing and dancing, then don’t, that’s okay. There are a lot of people that are using Reels very strategically that aren’t pointing, singing, and dancing do what feels comfortable for you. But I do have a saying in my business of ready, fire, aim. And that is because people need to be action takers. We don’t need more people in the world aiming to do something, aiming to show up more humanness. We just need people to take action and do it.

Kate Toon:

Ready, fire, aim. I love that. Have you got that on a t-shirt? I think you should-

Jenn Donovan:

I do actually.

Kate Toon:

You do. Oh, I should be wearing it. No, I love that. This is it. You cannot learn how to be a human in marketing without trying and being human. And as they say, to err is human, to forgive is divine. We’re all going to make mistakes and that’s how you learn. And probably just… Yeah, we could talk about it the whole day.

Jenn Donovan:

Be the main character in your business.

Kate Toon:

Yes, yes. Be the hero in your story. I read a great quote the other day to do a post about this. No one thinks they’re the villain in their own story, which is George R. R. Martin from Game of Thrones. And occasionally, unfortunately you are the villain in your own story. So bit of self-awareness there. I’m just dropping quotes. We’re just dropping quotes left, right and centre. I’ll have a list of all my literary references at the end of the podcast. So Jenn, thank you so much. I love the breadcrumb idea as well. Like, going out there, not necessarily thinking what’s my content creation strategy going to be for the next month, but how can I just leave some breadcrumbs? Like, go around and be nice to other people online, interact with them. That’s a great way of being a human too, right? So love that.

Jenn Donovan:

Absolutely.

Kate Toon:

Great final tip. So Jenn, where can we find out a little bit more about you?

Jenn Donovan:

You can find out a little bit more about me on Instagram @jenndonovan_ or go to socialmediaandmarketing.com.au and find all the things there, including my podcast.

Kate Toon:

Fantastic. Yes. And I was recently a guest on Jenn’s podcast. Jenn, what’s the name of your podcast again?

Jenn Donovan:

Small Business Made Simple.

Kate Toon:

Small Business Made Simple. Riding high in the marketing charts in Australia. So check that out and I’ll include links to Jenn’s social media and her podcast in the episode notes. So thanks very much, Jenn.

Jenn Donovan:

Thanks Kate. It’s been great. 

Kate Toon:

So that’s the end of this week’s show. If you have questions about human to human marketing, you can either head to the I Love SEO group on Facebook or my other business group, the Misfit Entrepreneurs. And also, as I mentioned, remember to head to katetoon.com to grab a free copy of my personal branding workbook. It’s a 17 page workbook that will help you work out a lot of this stuff, values, personalities, et cetera. Also, if you seriously want to dig into your digital marketing strategy, you should check out Digital Masterchefs, my private membership. We’ve got a tonne of useful master classes in there, sessions with me, reviews, audits, coaching calls, and heaps more. You can Google The Digital Masterchefs or find the links in the show notes to sign up to the wait list. But now we have a shout out for one of my lovely listeners and it’s Hunter Lewis from New Zealand.

Kate Toon:

They write, “Such a great and informative show. Loving listening to Kate on this podcast. It’s an easy listen for a subject that can be a challenge to get your head around.” So thanks to Hunter Lewis. Thanks to you for listening. If you have time to leave a review, I’d be very, very grateful. You can pop it on iTunes, Stitcher, maybe Spotify. I don’t know if you can do reviews on Spotify. Let me know. As I said, you can head to the show notes at the website, therecipeforseosuccess.com. But until next time, not just happy SEOing, but happy humaning. Bye-bye.