Authenticity simply means to be real, genuine, reliable, credible and trustworthy. As we increasingly live and work in the virtual world with less and less person-to-person contact it’s all too easy for people and companies to fake it to achieve their end goals. Is this the way of the future – not at all! If you really want your brand to shine you must be authentic, the real you in yourself and your brand must shine through.
Being authentic online is more important than ever to build relationships, gain customers and to develop their trust – this above all else is key to success in whatever it is you do.
Here are some tips to help you to develop your brand authenticity.
Use Images and Graphics
Using images in your social media is very important. Firstly, people are more inclined to look at an image over reading a lot of content. They not only catch someone’s eye but they also convey a message to your audience. To that end you must be careful to ensure that the image you use reinforces your message. Stock photos have their usefulness but candid real images are far more effective. They bring your audience directly into your brand; they are more authentic which in turn increases your credibility.
Be Social and Engaging
No one likes stuffy posts that don’t say much of anything and just try to sell. Social media gives businesses unique opportunities to really speak to their audience. Engage with your audience the same way you would with a friend on a personal social platform, keeping the conversation casual and real lets your audience see your brand in a subtler more effective manner. You want your audience to see that there’s a real person behind your business posts.
Showcase your Team
Interviewing your staff from the president to the newly hired gives your audience a glimpse into what makes your business great. Interviews with the thought leaders of your company can help to establish authority and credibility while an interview with the new kid on the block shows that your business is transparent and approachable.
Real Time Posts
While social media scheduling solutions abound and are extremely convenient it’s important to intersperse scheduled posts with posts in real time. Your audience will notice if your posts come out at the same time every day with relatively the same content. That kind of strategy gets old really quickly and your audience will sense that it’s contrived. When there’s a breaking news item, throw out a quick comment or tweet. If you’re doing something cool or different snap a pic and post it. Engaging in the here and now with your audience adds to your authenticity and quite frankly your likability!
How do you Really Feel about That?
Expressing an opinion in a business social platform is often viewed as a no-no. Really though this isn’t the case at all as long as the opinion expressed is done so in a respectful manner. Well-presented controversial opinions can and do win people over even if they don’t agree because it shows them that the people behind the brand are real and act with integrity in the face of differing opinions. Stand true and tall but remember to be sensitive and respectful.
These tips will help you establish brand authenticity, authority in your industry and most importantly the trust of your target audience which will keep them coming back for more. Measuring authenticity isn’t really possible but when you see your followers rising and engaging you’ll know you’ve succeeded.