If social media is a gladiatorial conquest, then brand authenticity is the most powerful weapon. In the incredibly competitive digital world, where every business is fighting over the scraps of internet users' attention, maintaining authenticity is the only hope a brand has of being noticed. If internet users don't find your brand to be trustworthy or reliable, they won't hesitate to take their business elsewhere (it's not like they don't have options). That's why building a strong brand authenticity is crucial in the social media sphere and here are five ways you can go about doing it:
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No one likes being told what to do or buy, which is the very essence of advertising. In the age of digital marketing, businesses often make the mistake of relentlessly pushing their products and services in the face of their audiences. Do this and you run the risk of alienating your potential customers. A brand should instead try to connect with audiences; understanding their problems and offering genuine solutions is a more impactful strategy as compared to blatant advertising.
Identifying a target audience is the first step in creating an effective marketing strategy. Once that's done, employing a language that resonates with them is essential. For example, if a brand that sells B2B products or services employs a casual and funny voice on LinkedIn will be seen as less authentic than one that maintains a strictly professional tone. Similarly, a youth-centric brand that makes use of a casual tone, riddled with references to pop culture, will be more likeable to its target audience.
Customers don't like to provide business to brands which they view as money-making conglomerates. You may have a stellar product or service, but that isn't enough to persuade people into buying it. But showing people the human aspect of your brand can do wonders; tell them your stories of success and failure, tell them what inspires you to work every day and the problems you hope to solve. Let your audience recognise that your brand is ultimately comprised of people who want to help others and they're more likely to turn into paying customers.
‘Customer is king.’ This age-old maxim is still applicable in today's digital world. Social media affords businesses easy connection with each and every customer, and they would do well not to squander the chance. If a customer posts a glowing review of your product or service on social media, take the time to thank them. If a customer posts a scathing complaint, put in the effort to understand what went wrong and make amends for the same; offer them a discount on their next purchase or refund their money. Doing so will make your brand appear trustworthy and reliable for your audience who won't hesitate from providing business to your brand.
Nobody likes being lied to. Being dishonest with, or failing to admit your mistakes to, your audience always has harmful consequences for your brand's authenticity. Imagine if you saw an e-commerce site's ad that read ‘50 percent off on xyz’ but when you followed the link you saw that the discount only came up to 20 percent. Engaging in misleading activities like this makes potential customers lose their trust in your brand. Brands should also take responsibility for their mistakes and provide an open apology for their wrongdoings. Brands that erase negative comments on social media (which doesn't work because everyone takes screenshots these days) or pass the blame on to someone else instantly lose authenticity among their audience.
Building brand authenticity online not only requires a lot of dedication, it's always an ongoing process. The authenticity you've built after months and years of work can be destroyed in a matter of minutes if you take a wrong step. But without brand authenticity, there's little or no chance of your business gaining customers despite the best digital marketing efforts.