Social media has allowed consumers and brands to connect like never before.
Consumers can follow their favorite brands, interact with them and even find out about new and upcoming products without having to wait for press releases and formal advertisements. Any company worth its marketing budget should take advantage of this ease of connection, establishing bonds and consumer loyalty that previous generations of marketers could only dream of. This level of connection has led to some changes in the consumer-brand relationship, however; one of the big changes is that consumers are increasingly aware of when brands are being inauthentic.
Modern consumers expect more from the brands that they follow. Gone are the days when clickbait headlines and sensationalist titles would draw in consumers without some form of backlash. Brands are held more accountable than ever on social media, and if you want to win over consumers then your brand needs to learn to be more authentic and open to the consumers that follow it.
While there are a number of ways to reach this level of authenticity and acceptance, here are four of the biggest ways to open your brand up to its followers.
As in life, so too in marketing: Honesty is one of the biggest ways that a brand can be more authentic when engaging on social media.
There’s a lot more to this than simply telling the truth about your brand’s products, though. Honesty should be seen as a core part of your brand’s social media marketing strategies, letting consumers come to expect real and honest interactions from the brand. This means being open about the products, admitting to mistakes and avoiding the fluff and sensationalism that often comes part and parcel with marketing efforts.
Honesty can come in a variety of other forms as well. A sense of honesty can come from creating transparency, letting consumers see behind the curtain and giving them behind-the-scenes peeks at your products and the people who make them. Providing information on how materials are sourced, what the manufacturing process is like and even glimpses of the design process can increase this sense of honesty and go a long way toward personalizing the brand for consumers. Just avoid “fake” honesty that will come across as pandering.
Incorporate Humor and Personality
Another important way to be more authentic is to showcase a sense of humor or bits of personality in your brand’s social media presence.
This doesn’t mean that you have to tell jokes on social media or make content that’s laugh-out-loud funny; just adding a periodic humorous edge or amusing turn of phrase can help consumers see that your brand isn’t all business all the time. Even content that’s simply unexpected can work wonders for how authentic your company seems; just look at what Arby’s has done on social media with papercraft and food containers as an example.
Consumers want to follow brands that they support, but they also want content that’s engaging and entertaining. By adding little bits of humor to your posts and advertising you can create a more authentic brand personality, which will go a long way toward both growing your following and increasing overall consumer engagements.
Appearing genuinely thankful is another way that your brand can seem more authentic on social media.
Your social media management team shouldn’t be afraid to show thankfulness to other companies, first responders or community groups when it’s appropriate. Even posting short messages thanking the community after a video goes viral or there’s a big outpouring of support (either for the brand or for others in the community) can help express this thankfulness and make the brand seem much more authentic.
Add a Personal Touch
Developing a “voice” for your content and letting it shine through can also go a long way toward creating an air of authenticity around your brand.
In some cases, this voice may simply reflect the personality of the person posting for the company on its social media accounts. At other times, the voice might be based on guidelines that your social media management team has to follow to ensure that they don’t stray off-brand. Regardless of how it’s developed, the purpose is to show that there are actual people involved and not just some faceless automation behind your brand’s social media presence.
There are other ways to capture this personal touch as well. Tagging or responding to visitors, actively engaging with the community without the use of static form-letter responses and other little personal touches goes a long way toward showing that real people are involved. The more the people behind your social media can shine through, the more authentic your brand will seem to the consumers they interact with.