Being open, genuine, and authentic on the digital landscape means a great deal to your audience who wants to genuinely engage with your brand on social. It's important to apply a holistic approach, and although many brands struggle to showcase that authentic, relevant identity, it should, however, be effortless.
It's important to find your own, personal voice in the social sphere to have an even bigger impact and be your authentically awesome self. As Forbes already mentioned in 2011, the battle for social media authenticity is about showcasing the human side of your business to make your audience feel truly part of your brand in a culture of openness.
Whichever company makes the best attempt at making people truly care about their brand, ultimately wins that battle for authenticity. Marc Ecko, all-round entrepreneur, says authentic branding goes way beyond perception:
Your brand is not the game of perception. It's not what you parrot to. Your brand is on what is on the inside, it's like guts to the skin thing.
Why do brands need to show off their authentic side on social media?
Regardless of what product or service you're offering, customers are drawn to brands that deliver on honesty and authenticity. As our lives have become insanely virtual and the economic instability over the past years made us extremely conscious, critical customers, our hunger for trustworthy, authentic brands has only increased.
It's key for brands to deliver on truth and trust at every point in the social customer journey. Social media is all about managing the customer journey from initial awareness to total engagement. Since it plays a crucial role in ensuring brands come through on that act of integrity, brands need to engage in conversations to build long-term relationships.
How can brands learn to show off their authentic side on social?
- Treat Your Customers Like Insiders
Since we're in the age of the customer, it's important to treat your customers like they're insiders by being as transparent as possible. Show you don't have anything to hide, because there's no better way to demonstrate you're human and willing to make that strong connection with your audience. For example, social sharing company Buffer revealed their pay structure (without forgetting the CEO's wage), resulting in a flood of new applications.
Whether it's through tweets, blogposts, webinars, or any other type of communication on social, make sure you're a true problem-solver even before customers decide to work with your company. Since customers are now equally armed with information, they only expect to get that priceless, insider treatment.
- Sharing is Caring
A great way to show your authentic side is through quality social sharing, the "currency of social media", to become the go-to source for any industry topic. This can come in many forms. You can either share great articles in your industry (like user-generated content) with your social following, or decide upon engaging with your audience and provide them with your know-how on the topics you know everything about.
No matter where that particular conversation takes places (e.g. Reddit, Quora, blogs, etc.) make sure you're a valuable, easily accessible source for information that simply oozes personality.
- Empower Your Brand Advocates and Employees
When it comes to authenticity, brands have to specifically focus on advocates and employees as they play a crucial role in building trustworthy and authentic companies. Employees, for example, have the closest connection and engagement rate with a company. Therefore, they need to become the ultimate social representatives of your brand by providing them simple, tangible means of recognition.
Secondly, brand advocates are credible game-changers who already love the brand and speak in high volumes about their brand experience on social media. Their powerful voice really resonates with a brand's audience as they simply hold the most trust. There's no better way to be authentic than to have the social support of your precious brand advocates who are always ready to step in and affirm your brand message.