How many times have you sent an email to a client, potential employer, or colleague that opened with “hope you’re doing well” or “hope you had a nice weekend”, and then quickly got to your point? By now, most of us are aware of proper email etiquette (like avoiding the “Reply All” function at all costs), but we forget that there’s a person at the other side of our emails. We tend to act like robots behind the computer.

Here’s the thing: we’re in the relationship business. And more than that, a significant number of the emails we send every day involve asking for something—be it from a coworker or a journalist. So we owe it to ourselves to make certain the person on the other end feels like we value the relationship. Take a second and ask about their weekend. Heck, if you follow them on Twitter or Instagram, ask about their kid’s 2nd birthday party or even talk some smack about a football rivalry (assuming you know them well enough that making comments about their Instagram feed wouldn’t be creepy. Don’t be creepy.)

“Remember: Emails are just text and lack the richness of the human voice that you get in a phone call or the wealth of body language and eye contact that you get face to face. All the other person has to go from is your words. So let’s learn to choose them a little more wisely.”

So drop the clichés and sound like a human. And while you’re at it, avoid some of these other phrases: http://www.fastcompany.com/3016932/leadership-now/5-phrases-you-should-never-use-in-an-email

Let’s go ahead and add “Regards” to that list.

As brands continue to extend their voice and message through social media, many are showing signs of becoming more and more comfortable in a space that was once feared.

Brands now feel more inclined to talk about and talk to other brands in the Twittersphere; sometimes to pass along a compliment and other times to poke fun (e.g. Audi publicly stated it was sending LED lights to the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome during the blackout at Super Bowl XLVII). By engaging with each other, brands indirectly expose themselves to new followers by creating unlikely associations. For instance, I don’t think people visiting the Old Spice Twitter feed were expecting to read a complaint about Taco Bell’s “fire sauce”. Regardless, the social banter is certainly something to pay attention to.

Honda’s “Odyssey’s Day of Reckoning” Twitter campaign is a great example of social conversation done right. In an effort to promote the new Odyssey’s in-car vacuum cleaner, Honda is warning snack brands that they should watch out. Crumbs will no longer linger in the car nooks and crannies as evidence of a mess that once was. Here are a few of my favorite tweets:There is definitely a strategy behind the brands Honda is targeting–Like Oreo and Skittles, they are well known for their fun and loyal fan base. Nearly 20 brands have already responded to the conversations Honda has initiated on Twitter, whether it be with a witty response or image featuring both products. Honda followers are even recommending brands for the company to engage.

This Fast Company article does a nice job of compiling the best responses to the “Odyssey’s Day of Reckoning” campaign. It’s great to see brands acting more like people and coming up with innovative ways to engage and attract new audiences. So much better than  “Happy Friday!” tweets.

Well done, Honda. Well done.