One of the great things about social media marketing is that it makes it easy to connect with your customers, clients, supporters, and prospects on a personal level that goes beyond the often formal buying and selling situation.

Gone are the days when businesses of any size can survive as faceless entities competing solely on price and product. And because of the way things can spread online, it’s now more important than ever to create a great and personal experience at every touchpoint.

In fact, businesses that fail most often at social media are the ones that try to keep their fans and followers at an arm’s length and use the channel to talk only about things that could be in a brochure or on a static website.

For example, you already know about our email marketing, event marketing, and online survey product. That’s why, on our Facebook Page, we often share other information — like that we at Constant Contact love few things more than baked goods, our Friday Beer Cart, or when the Ben and Jerry’s truck stops by (that’s me on the left).

Here are three things to think about as you create a more personal and engaging social presence:

1. People buy from people. Regardless of whether you’re selling to consumers or to other businesses, it’s human nature to want to buy from people you know and like, especially when products and services are becoming more and more commoditized. For example, Dave’s Fresh Pasta, a delicious fresh pasta and wine store near my house, features the actual Dave on its Facebook Page as the voice of the business. This gives the posts a more personal tone because they feature real employees along with their specials.

2. Share your passion. One of the reasons that people buy from you is that they love your passion for your business and the products and services you provide. Passion is contagious and social media is a great place to share it. Simply put, if you are excited about “it” other people will be excited about “it,” no matter what “it” is. The guys at Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware (by far my favorite craft beer on the market) are always passionate about what they do. Here is an example of the team having fun previewing its latest batch.

3. Make it real. Your fans and followers are in many cases among your most loyal customers. They want to make sure things are going well for your business. Let them behind the curtain to share in your joys and your concerns. One example of this is Bluewater Vacation Rentals & Real Estate, a vacation destination in North Carolina.  Even at a beautiful golf resort, sometimes bad things are on the horizon that need to be addressed. For example, when Hurricane Irene approached earlier this year, Bluewater made sure to give updates on the weather, the condition of the area, and what people who were planning to come should do to adjust their schedule.

What do you do on social networks to show who you are? Share your thoughts in the comments below.