While social media is a popular and extremely lucrative marketing tool, not all content is created equal. In recent years, it has become more apparent than ever that authentic social media content is what truly reigns king.
According to Stackla’s Consumer Content Report, 86% of adults surveyed in the U.S., U.K. and Australia say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.
The survey also found that content from friends and family is the most influential when it comes to making purchasing decisions, and that most people consider less than half of brands to be sharing content that seems authentic.
What does all of this mean for content creators? Your skill in using verbiage, tone and visuals to create honest, natural content is what will set your brand apart and build the invested audience you need.
But what makes this content authentic, you ask? Here are four things to consider to bring the heart of your brand forward to form strong, devoted relationships with your ideal audience.
1. Pursue relationships.
Rule number one of social media marketing is to simply be human. These channels were created to connect people, to share real moments and to foster relationship-building, so messaging on the channels should mirror this idea, too.
On the surface, having 50,000 followers sounds like a great way to get the word out, but if only 500 are engaging with the content, even fewer are taking further action to learn more or buy.
Additionally, according to Adweek, 97% of all social media engagement is made up of one-on-one brand mentions. Connecting to audience members individually and communicating like a human rather than a billboard is now more important than ever when trying to cut through the noise and speak to a specific target audience. A focus on blanket messaging and inflating numbers won’t cut it anymore. Creating a personal experience is a must.
2. Weave in your “why.”
Imagine you’re on a date getting to know someone. You’ve gone through the checklist topics of where you live and work, how many pets you have and what you like to do in your free time. If you left after just learning this, would you be intrigued enough to pursue a second date?
In order to provide depth and a genuine portrayal of your brand’s story, incorporating your “why,” or the essence of the brand’s mission and/or vision, will connect with viewers on a deeper level, drawing them in and forcing them to decide whether their internal compass aligns with your brand’s.
It can occasionally feel polarizing, but finding the audience that resonates the most with the entirety of your brand — rather than focusing only on how to return quick results — will, in the long run, create a stronger sense of loyalty as well as a stronger probability of customers returning and repurchasing.
3. Skip the CTA sometimes.
While clicks and traffic can be important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) from social channels, posting for the sake of driving numbers can be seen as inauthentic to audiences. Every post published should circle back to driving value for the end viewer while creatively tying in a brand’s tone and personality.
Remember, business posts are also competing in users’ feeds with life updates, vacation photos and funny videos from friends and family, so it’s just as important to make connections with funny one-liners and behind-the-scenes updates as it is to share a product or service, specifically.
4. Utilize UGC.
People across the world are constantly producing and sharing their own content. Given that people respond more favorably to such user-generated content (UGC) from people like themselves, their friends and their family members, brands can share this content (with permission or credit, of course) to build social proof.
By repurposing others’ genuine recommendations (regarding vacation spots, dinner ideas, retail purchases, etc.), brands can authentically build a portfolio of organic assets that align with their values, all while knowing the content is highly trusted by their audience because of the way in which it was originally created and shared.
While social media content creation still includes integrated campaign messaging and promotion, creating authentic connections with consumers is feasible only if we speak to our target audiences in a personal, relatable way.
20 percent of consumers “have unfollowed a brand on social media because they thought the content was too corporate or not authentic enough” — which means that just because you can convince people to like your page doesn’t mean they’ll stay. Remaining true to your brand voice and providing genuine, helpful content will help form the connections consumers are searching for on social media.