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Building a Strong Brand on Social Media: Authenticity is the Key

Kinga Edwards
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Kinga Edwards

Building a well-recognized brand on social media is not the easiest nut to crack. There are many factors you should take into consideration when creating the strategy, and it may be difficult at first to recognize them. The process may seem overwhelming, no doubt about it. However, applying some of the right tactics can be made easier by following a few good practices. 

We decided to ask some social media marketing experts for their input on building strong brand awareness on social media. A few of them identified authenticity as one of four pillars – ACES – of building a solid brand online. 

Let’s find out what marketers from all over the world told us about prioritizing authenticity in your strategy. 

Know your audience!

Lisa O’Keeffe | Senior Brand & Content Manager – Day out with the kids

The most vital thing about building a brand full stop, is to understand who you’re speaking to and what makes them tick. Everything from their routine (to understand how and when they might be using different social channels), to their interests, age, gender and even things like whether they like watching videos or prefer quick images will all help you to refine your content strategy and maximise success. Consider how your audience could be different on each platform and how you might need to change content to match. Essentially, make an effort to find out all you can and keep learning – your audience may change as you grow and your content may need to evolve to as a result.

Develop a personality

Levi Olmstead | Director of Marketing @ 2ndKitchen

Your social presence should develop a personality to make it stand out from the crowd. Make followers feel like they know your account on a personal level. The big trick here though is to make sure that personality ties back to your company’s overall mission or brand. In my opinion, restaurant chains do an incredible job at personifying their social accounts.

Post authentic 

Darren Foong | Marketing of ReferralCandy

Wendy’s is famous for roasting people on Twitter. Pornhub Aria posts spicy memes. They’re famous for having a consistent brand voice over time. Develop a brand voice and a style document, and keep to that voice.

Be real

James David | Director of Marketing @ Messagely

When people receive a call and they don’t recognize the number, they typically refuse to answer. The reason is they don’t have any reason to trust whoever is on the other end of the line. Telemarketer? Scam artist? Who cares?

Most computer-savvy customers are the same way when they hear salesy language. You might get polite, cursory conversations, but once they disengage they are gone forever. The most reliable way to keep a potential client engaged is to become a reliable brand. So can the sales-speak and converse like a real person.

Whatever your line of business, hopefully you entered it already knowing its ins and outs. You are an expert in this field, and you are completely comfortable with your place in it. Speak to your customers like a trusted friend. Don’t be afraid to be hip, but don’t overdo it. Keep it real.

Real stories

Billy YEN | CEO @ Koseed Agency

First things first, growing a brand is like growing a personality. If you want to make friends, well you need to understand the rules of the social media party. Your audience expects you to be reliable and authentic. But to stand out from the digital crowd, you will also have to be noticed during their 8-second attention time (1).

That’s why you need to be entertaining. And the power of video is impressive. Koseed keeps preaching marketers that social video gets shared 12 times more than text and images combined (2). Why do you think Instagram stories, Snapchat and now Tik Tok are exploding? Real people, real stories, real engagement.

AliExpress, the Chinese Amazon is increasing by 500% its purchasing conversion by using live videos with micro and nano influencers. People buy from people and video is the best performing medium with 8 out of 10 deciding to buy after watching one from your brand (3).

Pick a side

Alex Panagis | Founder, ScaleMath

I believe picking a side is an underrated & great marketing strategy. You as a personal brand and your company should have something that they believe in, some message that you stand for. A fantastic, real-world example of this in practice are Basecamp’s Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. They’re extremely active on Twitter about the concept around building a company that doesn’t try to motivate employees to overwork and that 40 hours per week is enough time. Beyond this, another example is also how adamant David is about privacy and how email marketing software tracks far too much. People new to business shy away from doing this and I think we’re all victim to this at some point, simply because it is an uncomfortable concept to potentially alienate a large portion of your audience. Though, I don’t believe there is a real risk involved, because while DHH is against tracking email open rates, link clicks and has even gone as far as to say that they are spy pixels.

Obviously, this is not something that I agree with entirely, but that’s fine because I understand their perspective on the topic and respect that they are openly speaking about it. So does this mean we have to stop using Basecamp? Definitely not, I can assure you that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Key takeaways

It goes without saying that authenticity should be an integral part of your marketing efforts. While it’s not a stand-alone element itself, it should be applied to each part of your strategy. It defines your brand identity, voice and personality, and you simply cannot achieve success on social media if your messaging is not authentic. Get to know your customers, keep exploring their needs and requirements, and be authentic to stay trustworthy. It’s not as difficult as it may seem to be!

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