Authenticity – The Great Equalizer: 3 Ways to Create an Authentic Brand
Sometimes the hardest thing to do in business, or in life for that matter, is be ourselves. We are human, we have faults, we make errors, typos, wake up late, get emotional. Things happen and we have the tendency to get weak. Aside from the darker side of things we are fun loving, quirky, weird, humorous people with warm hearts (Most of us.) We are not robots.
At times we feel we need to put on a mask. Especially when doing business or while being at work. That if we are “ourselves,” we might just not cut it. We are ALL guilty of this. Guilty of putting up a front in some way or wanting things to seem as if they were perfect. Social Media has both sides of the spectrum for brands and individuals. Some have kept the suit and tie on, while others have been rawer, more human, and more authentic. They’ve learned to connect with their followers on a deeper level and they’ve seen this pay big dividends.
Those who like them, tend to love them and those who don’t like them tend to be customers they wouldn’t have in the first place. When you give your brand an identity, you give your followers something to grow fond of and this is what creates brand loyalty. The single most important aspect for companies in the ever growing, ever competitive economy. And social media is where brands are deriving and retaining loyalty on a level playing field. Authenticity is the great equalizer for small brands that do not have big budgets. It’s a forum where everyone can compete and anyone can be seen. The messages that you share become the relationships that you build. The rawer you are, the more authentic the message, the better.
I guess the real question is How? How do I make my brand more authentic?
1. Speak in a Personal Voice
Most brands speak in a very contrived robotic voice on social media. They are trying not to say anything that leans to the right or the left. We’ve been taught to not stir the pot. Social media is a forum of exposure where opinion needs to be expressed or you’ll get very little from your posting. The key is to speak on your business page the same way you’d speak on your personal page.
2. Respond, Respond, Respond!
I don’t think I can stress this one enough. If your customers are generous to grace you with a review (positive or negative,) to engage in the post you made, or have something to say in a personal or public message, its your job to respond! And respond with a unique and personal message. Avoid being generic and repetitive. Treat your followers the same way you’d treat your friends and family. Be funny, be witty, be playful, and most of all be real.
3. Localize & Post Real Images & Videos
Whether you’re a local business or a multi- location retailer, your customers want to know about you and the pieces that make up the location they shop. If you’re a small to mid size retailer, you have individuals who work there and individuals who shop there on a daily and weekly basis. You’re a part of the community. And people want to see your presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. They want to see photos of your store, staff, promotions, brands, and people. They want to know what’s going on at your store, what items you might be sampling, what organizations your contributing to on a local level, and they want to interact with you! By doing this, the mom and pop store down the street or the 3000 store national wireless retailer can humanize themselves.
Companies are winning the hearts and loyalty of customers by being authentic. This is new, and a complete by-product of social media. Something that again will CHANGE the way in which shoppers make decisions. This is not exclusive to Generation Y either, this is something that is happening across the board and something that all businesses and individuals should be aware of. It also may just be good for everyone involved. There’s nothing wrong with being raw or authentic. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with businesses treating themselves and their customers like human beings.