The internet is full of so-called secrets to social media success, and while many of them are great rules to live by — post consistently, engage your audience and partner with creators, to name a few — there’s one that eclipses them all: practicing authenticity!
Authentic content is the key to attracting and maintaining an audience of loyal followers because it instills trust and humanzies your brand, leading to stronger brand affinity and brand loyalty.
But how do you practice authenticity when creating content for social media? Read on for ideas.
Best practices and trends are constantly changing, but authenticity always remains a core principle of creating content for social media. It strikes a chord in your followers for a number of reasons:
- It’s Relatable: People love hearing about, talking about and relating things back to themselves. Creating authentic content gives consumers the opportunity to relate to your brand, sparking a connection that might not have been possible with overly polished or promotional content.
- It Builds Brand Trust: Showing off your brand’s authentic side reminds consumers that there are actual people behind your brand’s logo. Doing things like sticking to your values, admitting when you’ve made a mistake and more can all help you earn brand trust. Having transparency tells your followers you’re a brand they can put stock in. Over time, this can lead to brand loyalty.
- It Lets Your Brand’s Personality Shine: If your brand isn’t being authentic in the content you create, chances are high that your content looks just like everyone else’s. While you might be able to maintain a consistent posting schedule this way and maybe even build up a small following, your brand can’t truly shine on social media until it starts showing up with content that’s authentic to its values, mission, personality, interests and story. It may feel like more of a risk, but it gives consumers the opportunity to get to know your brand on a deeper level.
How Can Brands Practice Authenticity on Social Media?
So sincere content is perhaps the single biggest player in content creation, but how do you actually put it into practice? As a general rule of thumb, it all comes down to being true to yourself as a brand.
Here are a few ideas to stick to when creating your editorial schedule:
- Stop Thinking About the Likes: Social media can often feel like a numbers game, and escaping that results-driven mindset is even harder when your business’s profits could depend on it. But churning out content merely for the sake of likes — content like clickbait, controversial topics or even anything outright false — is bound to backfire once followers realize you’re putting on a show to spark engagement. Instead, focus on creating truthful content that shows your followers who your brand is, rather than trying to be something you’re not.
- Be Clear About Your Values — And Stick to Them: Values-based brand loyalty is becoming increasingly important, especially to younger generations of consumers. Being upfront about your values and humanitarian contributions as a brand is a way to foster genuine connection with your target audience. A crucial second prong to this tip, however, is to ensure you don’t make any promises you can’t actually keep. It’s far better to have few outward-facing values as a brand than to claim to do many things without any follow-through. Remember, honesty is the crux of authentic content.
- Be Original: It can be hard when you’re constantly told to keep an eye on all the latest trends, while simultaneously being told to create original content. But originality is the key to letting your brand personality shine through, and while it can be tempting to simply piggyback off of what others are doing and save yourself the effort, unique content is what’s going to earn you a more genuine audience at the end of the day.
Side note: you can still use trends! Just be sure trends aren’t the only videos you’re making. And if a trend doesn’t quite feel like you, feel free to put your own unique spin on it!
- Gather Authentic Content: Partnering with creators and everyday consumers alike to share their testimonials is an excellent idea, but you have to ensure the content you’re receiving is sincere. Anyone you collaborate with should feel free to express their honest and true opinions, because consumers can typically sense when someone is being untruthful to them online. Authentic content makes for stronger content, stronger partnerships and stronger customer loyalty!
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