Most social media users find it hard to describe authenticity and how to create an authentic brand on the platforms they are on. With the presence of so many applications and options to help us build a brand without a face or with a fake face, it can be hard for audiences to single out authentic brands. To start with, authenticity is simply being real and genuine. Being authentic on social media takes more than just being real and genuine to who you are and what you do.
Your social media authenticity is not only about being sincere, real, and honest but also being reliable, dependable, being true to what you say you will do and acting the way you say you will.— Janet Machuka (@janetmachuka_) September 2, 2020
First things first, before you think of social media authenticity, create a social media presence. To help you with that, answer these questions:
- What are your goals?
- Which content strategy are you using?
- Who makes up your ideal target audience?
- Which platforms are you going to be on first and why?
As your presence grows and people start interacting with your brand, you should care being authentic so that people can build more trust with your brand, what you do, represent and offer as an individual. So, to you build your personal brand to become influential and a thought leader, leverage on authenticity.
Tips to hack your social media authenticity
- Be Social
The platforms are called social media for a reason. Be social. Be present to answer your followers’ messages, respond to comments, like status updates and mentions, retweet or share relevant content and be part of communities to engage with people with similar interests as you. Make use of different emoticons, GIFs, videos and photos. Show us that there’s a human behind the account. Avoiding doing that will definitely hurt your brand.
Whenever a fan, an existing or potential customer asks you something, do your best to provide a tailored and official response. This is where you will have to avoid automated messages unless they are to notify them that you received their queries and you will respond soon.
By being social, your social media presence will grow, your engagements will increase and ultimately, people will know that you are real hence you become more authentic.
- Be Yourself
Remove the mask. Show us who you are. This means, you should align your brand to be identified through your style, tone, voice, key message and you as a person. I know most people say it is difficult to be real on social media when we can smoothen our pictures and share all perfect cool places and how we are. In this case, focus on how you will tell your real story. Share your brand journey to its growth. Make it classy, inspiring, sassy, simple and real.
Additionally, don’t go about comparing yourself with your competitor brands. Love yourself first. Be grateful for the little or more you have. Remember, social media gives people a chance to share a fake side and it can be expensive hiding the real you behind masks. But you will find out that being yourself is the best decision you can ever make.
- Find your area of interest
Make it clear on why you are on social media and which niche you represent. Choose topics that you are comfortable talking about and you have or building expertise in.
“When you are niche, you are focused on being the best at what you do and whom you do it for. Everything else doesn’t matter. This means you don’t chase trends or worry about the competition. You hone your skills and serve your tribe.”.
Authenticity makes a difference when marketing niche brands
- Show your face
People want to know who is behind that brand. Post pictures, videos and GIFs about you. This can be visual content of you doing your training or workshops you’re facilitating, meeting your clients and selfies with your fans during events that you attend. Such visuals not only help your audience remember the kind of services you offer but also make them think that that is what you exactly do, or who you are.
Using relevant images on social media allow you to gain attention, build loyalty, communicate vital information, and increase engagement. If you want to stand out, develop a visual brand identity just as carefully as you prepare your pitches. When you stay consistent and connect images with your marketing message, your brand will have more staying power.
- Be Transparent
Some time back l used to have a hard time identifying what should l share transparently about my brand and not what to share. Transparency is being open and honest about how you run your business. Being transparent doesn’t mean sharing every detail of you as a brand with your audience. But it does involve admitting the wrongs. You don’t have to delete negative comments from your audience due to the wrongs that you did as an individual. Acknowledge them and apologize accordingly without necessarily being rude.
As much as we have “hide comment” options for our social media comments. Care to know what and when to hide and what and when not to confront the comment- mind your language too. It is okay to lose some of the customers or followers but in the long run you’ll gain some new ones that have seen how you owned up to your wrongdoings and promised to do better in the future.
To crown that, be honest and truthful. If you don’t know something you’re being asked, be open to tell your audience the truth.
Other ways to become transparent:
- Share your progress: Bring to light a bit of “the behind the scenes.”
- Credit content where necessary
- Respond publicly to audiences’ complaints about your services, concerns and questions
- Don’t go incognito on social media platforms
- Focus on Personal Interactions
People want to experience the real and human part of you. Embrace the art of emotional storytelling that will foster an emotional connection to get people involved in and start talking about pieces of content you shared.
By engaging with them on a personal level using direct messages can help you boost your authenticity.
Foster conversations with individuals by using questions or content that will prompt them to ask questions. This does not exclude person to person conversations on posts as a way of continuing a discussion you started in a workshop or a webinar that might need social media audience attention and contribution. Real people engage in conversations.
You can also achieve personal interactions by requesting the public to tag you in relevant content that you would like to engage in.
- Be open about your successes and failures
If you want to gain the trust of those engaging with your content, you must be transparent and honest about your successes and failures. Celebrate wins with your audience because they make up part of people who helped you win.
Reveal your failures and vulnerabilities too. They make you human. But don’t make the failures be a reason why you haven’t achieved your set goals. Make it evident that you understand you aren’t amazing at everything, but exhibit your willingness to climb hurdles and overcome the obstacles. We are not perfect. Sharing our failures and successes not not make us human but also authentic.
- Communicate in a way that reflects your brand persona
According to Evan Tarver of Investopedia, brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name.
Five types of brand personalities with common traits:
- Excitement: carefree, spirited, and youthful
- Sincerity: kindness, thoughtfulness, and an orientation toward family values
- Ruggedness: rough, tough, outdoorsy, and athletic
- Competence: successful, accomplished and influential, highlighted by leadership
- Sophistication: elegant, prestigious, and sometimes even pretentious
On social media, act and sound like a real person. Participate in your human voice to boost your authenticity.
- Appreciate your audience and deliver what you promise
Avoid making everything about you. Recognize who is part of your audience and what inspiring stories you can share about some individuals. In most cases, people in your audience will be the ones responsible for referring you to your next client- this doesn’t mean that it is a must for them to refer you. Be there to thank them either personally or publicly.
Many times personal brands make promises of sharing some new content about your areas of expertise that your audience can learn from and end up never sharing. This can easily break the trust which will ultimately affect your authenticity.
- Engage, participate in dialogues and discussions
Authenticity requires engagement. If you just post and leave, your followers will think you don’t care about their comments or you are just lazy.
There are so many social media communities that you can be part of. For instance, we have different Tweet Chats on Twitter that you can be part of as a member and engage with the audiences- join a community such as #AfricaTweetChat (deals with digital marketing topics discussions) with similar interests or where you know they will help you boost your rate of engagements as a personal brand.
Be quick to respond to your audiences’ questions that will evoke conversations. You will never go wrong with engaging in your audiences’ conversations on their timelines. Show up. Represent your brand.
- Publish User Generated Content (UGC) about your brand
There are so many people who are using your brand’s products and services and they are following you on your social media. These customers are always creating content about your brand and sharing it on their platforms. It is upon you to do social media listening to identify the customers sharing their experiences and recommendations. They can either tag your brand name or just mention it.
Feature your product or service user’s experiences. Show how it solved their problems. Take screenshots of the UGC, share or quote them to your pages- tag the customers too. You should take an advantage of the social media platforms, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and encourage them to create more content. Such content is not only cost effective but can boost your brand’s authenticity big time.
- Create your own content and share consistently
Another amazing way to build authentic social media brand is to create your own content. You are the only person who can express your own voice; no one else is going to do it for you. Your social media brand solely relies on content. So, go ahead and create your own original content in videos, texts and other formats. Social media Lives can help you.
As Neil Partel puts it, “The value of writing your own content runs in two directions. First, writing content delivers value to your audience. They hear you, understand you, and respond to you. Second, writing content delivers value to you as the producer of that content. You are learning — informing yourself about what your audience needs.”
Know how often to share content on your social media and how many posts to make in each platform. To learn how to go about content creation and marketing, click here.
- Build meaningful networks
Don’t just anticipate having more customers or audience. Develop a strategy to build meaningful networks that will foster deep relationships and friendships with your audience. Social media transparency differs with each relationship based on the trust and authenticity of the individual.
Showing up for your audience, developing relationships that will take time will eventually boost your authenticity- your networks will know you are real and can be trusted.
- Add your personal opinion or commentary
Some people find it hard to share their opinions openly through speeches or voice in general about surveys, researchers, events and situations. With social media, you are behind a keyboard typing your feelings and comments about what you feel or the topic you want to strike a conversation in. By posting your opinion on social media, you may be able to interact with an interested reader who might end up sharing their opinions too.
Moreover, all social media users emanate from different backgrounds and have experienced different things, which is what makes us all different. Having social media as a platform to share your experiences and knowledge with those around you is so valuable and makes you feel part of the community.
- Avoid too much content scheduling
With the presence of social media scheduling tools such as hubspot, life on the platforms has become easier because we can create our content early, schedule it and run as if we are present. But we should care being present- in this l mean creating time to post and engage in conversations actively. This is to make sure that our audience doesn’t mistake us with robots who just post and go or give nonhuman responses.
In the process of building your brand’s authenticity on social media, don’t be a copycat of your competitor’s content execution. Try to become as unique as possible. If it is a must you copy a strategy used by your competitor, care to tweak it a little to fit your brand’s goals.
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