There is an immense amount of content being posted online every day. There’s more than 100 million photos and videos uploaded on Instagram and 500 million tweets per day. Every 60 seconds there are 317,000 status updates, 147,000 photos uploaded and 54,000 shared links on Facebook and 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube.
With all this content out there, how do brands find a way to stand out against everyone else? Furthermore, how do they produce content that resonates with their followers and encourages engagement?
Out of the dozens of carefully selected influencers and brands that I follow on social media, there is only a handful that I follow consistently. Each of those people and brands has one thing in common when it comes to their marketing.
Have you ever watched someone on social media and you just know that they’re being fake? They’re forcing themselves to come across a certain way? It’s a turn-off – isn’t it?
One of the best things a business, brand, influencer or organization can do for their social media marketing is to be authentic in their posts.
Being Authentic allows for relatability.
If all you ever see is clearly staged photos and perfectly crafted posts – chances are you won’t relate to them as much as the brands who incorporate posts and photos that are “real.” They show personality. 90% of Millennials say that it’s important for a brand to be authentic. This should be a clear sign that younger consumers prefer the “real and organic” posts over the perfectly designed graphics, video and copy.
Being Authentic shows that there’s a real person behind the brand.
Do you follow brands or companies but never actually see a real person in their photos, videos, etc.? Do you relate to them as much as the other brands that have someone to put a Face to the brand? Chances are – you’re more drawn to the brand with the person. We relate to other people better than an organization or a company.
In a survey of 2000 adults in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, 57% responded saying that less than half of brand-created content resonated with them as authentic. If less than half of the brands are coming across authentic, this means that you have a competitive advantage by incorporating authenticity into your brand.
Being Authentic helps you become more approachable.
In the above-mentioned survey, 20% of consumers (and 30% of Millennials) have unfollowed a brand on social media because they felt their content was inauthentic.
Being authentic drives this personal connection between the brand and the consumer. And if you have what feels like a personal connection – your followers are more likely to engage by commenting, messaging or sharing.
Being Authentic helps create a safe place.
Many brands have a bigger focus than just selling a product or service. They might use their platform to raise awareness or create a space for conversation. By being authentic, it shows the followers that it’s okay to share. But furthermore, sets the stage to show how that space should be treated.
For Millennials, corporate social responsibility is an important factor in their purchasing behavior and is perceived as an authentic brand. 48% of Millennials state that they support brands that are active in supporting social causes.
Being Authentic builds trust.
No one’s perfect. We all know that. So which company would you be willing to trust? The company that makes a mistake and owns it… or the company that makes a mistake and tries to cover it up? When a business or brand shows their “imperfections” in an authentic and genuine way - you’re more likely to trust them over a company that is completely polished.
Being Authentic builds community.
According to the Authentic Brand Index, authentic brands get a higher share of high-value customers. There are brands out there that have built a solid community of people around their authenticity. Not just blind followers, but a group of followers who engage, represent the brand and stand up for each other. They aren’t just a group of followers… they’re a family.
A great example of someone who showcased this is Canadian Instagram, Sarah Nicole Landry (@thebirdspapaya) who built a following of over 179k followers by being truly authentic in all her branding. When she announced she was opening a Facebook group – the group grew by the hundreds. This insider group now has a strong knit community of woman who supports and encourages each other.
Kim Garst, co-founder of Boom! Social and one of the Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers named by Forbes says, “Focus on identifying your target audience, communicating an authentic message that they want and need and project yourself as an expert within your niche.”
By embracing authenticity within your brand, you will create a brand that is relatable, personable, approachable and trustworthy. Your community will appreciate your authentic approach and you will create a loyal following of truly engaging followers.
Owner, AIM Social Media Marketing Nichole Howson is a social media marketing strategist that works with businesses to increase their reach, engagement and bring in qualified leads that convert. Nichole has worked with businesses globally from both ends of the spectrum – start-ups and well established. She focuses on the strategy FIRST before getting started – building a firm foundation for each business’ online marketing.