In an age of fake news and clickbait content, authenticity for your brand on social media is is more important than ever. It may sound like a no-brainer, but there are missteps you can take that can turn consumers off, and stop your next customers from choosing to engage with you online.
But what does brand authenticity even mean when it comes to business?
Defined by the Journal of Consumer Psychology, brand authenticity refers to:
“the extent to which consumers perceive a brand to be faithful toward itself, true to its consumers, motivated by caring and responsibility, and able to support consumers in being true to themselves.”
The meaning is right there in the name: if your content marketing and social media efforts remain authentic, people will recognize you. The more they recognize you, the more likely they’ll be to engage with you. The more they engage, the more likely they’ll be to recommend you to friends and followers. We could keep going!
Once you recognize the basics of brand authenticity, implementing it through social media marketing and content will no longer be such a daunting task. Here are a few big things to keep in mind:
Consistency is Key
Once you know your intended target audience, you’ll be able to craft your content and social media efforts towards this group. Despite the fact your brand may be targeted towards multiple age and audience groups, you need to keep your message consistent.
The voice and tone of your content can make or break your intended audience’s following. It’s important to craft content with a clear perspective and a recognizable voice - and to keep those two elements consistent as you create more and more branded content. The more your audience grows to recognize your voice, the more they’ll have a distinct image of your brand in their minds.
Thus, with all of your social media marketing efforts, whether it’s a short video about your business or a content-based marketing effort, the key is consistency.
Future and current consumers will notice if your brand takes a sudden turn toward the inauthentic. In other words? Posts that don’t sound like you… Don’t sound like you!
When it comes to business, consistency also relates to how often you post to social media. The frequency of your posts is noticed by your followers; posting at 12:01 p.m. every day can sometimes come off as annoying to consumers.
For instance, 21% of Facebook users say they unfollow brands that they view as highly repetitive, while 19% of Facebook users say they would unfollow a brand’s page if the business posts more than six times a day.
Your social media posts and content distribution efforts need to remain consistent in both senses of the word: in terms of frequency and tone.
Credibility Is Crucial
After establishing a consistent brand message, your social media posts and content needs to remain credible and believable to all intended audiences.
What does this mean?
Well, instead of creating videos or posts that sound like they originated in a conference room discussion, crafting words and visuals that sound genuinely human can lead to higher shares and clicks.
In 2018, only 52% of global respondents trust businesses, according to a study brought to our attention by MarketingLand. Among Americans, that number is even lower, with only 48% of respondents saying that they trust brands (down a stunning 10 percentage points from 2017).
While these statistics don’t mean that your clients will dig in their heels and refuse to trust your business, a general lack of trust stemming from experience with larger companies can, ultimately, account for low clickthrough and share rates on your social marketing efforts.
Reaching a higher level of trust between your business and consumers can be accomplished through crafting credible content with a distinctive voice (as we mentioned earlier).
Over time, establishing a foundational trust with your audience can lead to higher traffic and conversions on your social efforts - and in turn, a larger and more stable following from your next customers.
Word Choice Matters
As you create content marketing materials, you should take care to avoid language that sounds like “spam” - or, worse, an internet bot.
We all want to hit that keyword number minimum, but if your blog post or Instagram caption is riddled with the same phrases over and over again, readers will notice. Not only will this signal to them that they’re reading something inauthentic, but they’ll also wonder if an actual human wrote what they’re reading, and this could lead to a major breakdown in trust.
But even trying to sound “human” can lead brands down a path of using current slang phrases that can irk consumers. The following statistics, from MarketingLand, are important to remember:
“Nearly 70 percent of social media users surveyed by Survata for Sprout Social last year were irritated by the use of inappropriate jargon or slang by brands, and their annoyance can have dire consequences — 51 percent of those surveyed would unfollow a brand that they found annoying on social, and 23 percent would go so far as to vow to never buy the brand’s products again.”
This doesn't mean your content should be overly academic, but flooding your copy with “brand talk” can be harmful to your messaging. Consumers want to read copy that they can understand with ease. Your audience should be engaged with your content, so don’t be afraid to write with conviction and to use strong, clear language. Think like a storyteller, and remember that your audience is real people - not machines!
Brand Authenticity is Necessary
Brand authenticity should be one of the main areas of focus for your social media and content marketing strategies.
Establishing and maintaining your distinct voice - and, by extension, your authentic brand identity - is a surefire way to keep your business top of mind for consumers, and foster additional engagements with your existing audience.
The components of brand authenticity all play into one another, meaning just implementing one won’t suffice. Creating content that screams for clicks won’t guarantee more clicks. However, crafting content that shows your business stays true to itself, and its audience, will.
In need of assistance to achieve brand authenticity for your business? That’s where Geek Chicago can help. Drop us a line to get the conversation started!