Social media algorithms constantly alter how brands can reach their target audiences. It's no longer enough to know how and when to publish high-quality content. The real winners today are those who understand how to connect with customers on a more personal level.
With 72% of them already scrolling in this digital rabbit hole to discover new products, the competition is gaining steam. As more and more companies compete for sales-generating customer connections, a brand's authenticity can help it stand out.
Don't drive customers off with the same old, boring content. Learn how to speak and sell like a human. To help you strategize your next post, here are some helpful dos and don'ts.
5 ways your brand can boost authenticity on social media
Customers can smell inauthenticity a mile off. Thus, genuine social media marketing strategies are crucial for success. Boost your engagement and sales with the following tips.
1. Amplify your brand voice and personality
Humanizing your brand starts with identifying or developing your voice. It makes your social media content more relatable, authentic, and trustworthy. 88% of marketers say that having a distinct and unique brand voice helps to build stronger customer relationships.
So, let your customers feel like they're interacting with a real human — not a bot. Speak as you would in person, using the same tone across all channels. Technical jargon or sales-oriented language will only bore them.
A good example of a brand that demonstrates this on Instagram is Sewrella Yarn. The company sells gorgeous handcrafted yarns in dreamy hues and has a lighthearted brand voice. Here's an example of how this tone evokes the warmth and nostalgia associated with the products they sell.
If this Instagram post has whisked you away to a cozy autumn day in the Big Apple, then it’s this very feeling that will compel you to buy their products. The brand's organic approach doesn’t emphasize the amazing products, but rather what their products do for you or represent. Here’s another example from the brand.
Using words like “cozy” and “autumnal magic” that represent their brand, Sewrella Yarn maintains that distinct tone and strong imagery even in casual posts like this one.
All this to say, find your voice and stick to it to create a strong and believable identity for your brand. It will help customers and prospects recognize you, regardless of the platform.
2. Build a community, not a following
It's easy to get caught up in the number of likes, shares, and followers on social media. However, these so-called “vanity metrics” don't guarantee sales and are the opposite of authenticity. This explains why 86% of businesses see the value of community initiatives.
Creating an online community takes time, but the best place to start is with your brand's mission. Involve your customers by making them feel like they're part of something bigger, and not just consumers of your products. The more value you add to the community, the more loyal and supportive they will be.
This post from JEUNE, a contemporary home decor shop, phrases the caption in a way that encourages people to participate in conversations and share their thoughts.
They also post step-by-step video guides for customers who have questions they can't answer in the comments section. This establishes your expertise and boosts your social proof.
However, quantifying the value and success of community initiatives is a major source of frustration for 45% of organizations. An easy hack is to use a branded hashtag to track the growth of your community without going through technical hoops.
On TikTok, a simple click on noissue's branded hashtag #noissuepackaging reveals a slew of small businesses contributing to the brand’s advocacy for circular packaging. This is a great way to boost awareness and visibility among potential customers.
Creating an online community takes both time and effort. But remember, nurturing a group of engaged and loyal customers is far more fruitful than growing a large following that doesn't convert.
3. Share user-generated content
Media ads run rampant nowadays. Facebook ads alone have the potential to reach 2.11 billion users, making it much harder to break through the clutter. Fortunately, the concept of user-generated content (UGC) has emerged.
User-generated content (UGC) refers to content that your customers create about your products and reshare on your social networks. Businesses are employing this strategy because 72% of shoppers trust reviews and testimonials more than brand advertisements.
Moreover, UGC is often free or inexpensive to create. It's an efficient marketing strategy if your business runs on a shoestring budget.
So, encourage customers to send you photos and videos of their purchases. For smaller audiences, consider holding a photo or creative project contest to spread the word. Think of Starbucks’ classic red cup art contest on a smaller scale.
You may even adopt a slightly passive strategy. For instance, this pup's parent posted a bath selfie and tagged the organic pet grooming brand, Wild For Dogs. Although the post has already been seen by the user's followers, the brand can still repost it elsewhere to broaden its reach.
Wild For Dogs also has a Stories Highlight on their Instagram page dedicated to user-generated content. By doing so, new visitors and curious prospects can easily see the brand’s social proof and following.
The power of UGC in authentic social media selling can’t be overstated. It can help you cut through the noise and connect with your customers without incurring extra marketing costs.
4. Own up to your mistakes
Managing a business comes with dealing with errors and mistakes. The quickest way out for many is to cover them up, deny responsibility, and shift blame. However, the best way to avoid any unintended consequences is to face your blunders head-on, take responsibility, and fix them.
The internet can see and remember everything (screenshots exist!). Yet while it's all-seeing, it's also forgiving. Statistics show that 78% of customers won’t hesitate to do business with you again if you admit your fault and improve your service.
However, it’s up to you to decide whether it's better to respond publicly or privately. If the issue affects many customers at once, you should address it in public. Take the blame, but don't forget to offer concrete solutions for your mistakes.
Tell them you're taking measures to prevent the fiasco from reoccurring. Sometimes, a bit of humor can also help. But if you can’t afford to risk it, being open and transparent is the best way.
bing bing Market is a small clothing and handcraft accessory shop. In this TikTok video, the owner explains how she only recently discovered that the tag prints on the personalized scrunchies fade after a few months.
To compensate for the flaw, she extended a discount to those who purchased the customized scrunchies. This meaningful apology garnered positive feedback and support from customers.
All this to say, how you respond to your mistakes can make or break your marketing efforts. If you handle the situation well, you can minimize the damage and even turn the situation around.
5. Be unique in a sea of competition
It's tempting to copy what others are doing on social media. Looking to your competitors for ideas is okay. You can use them to get some inspiration for your own content. But copying the entire thing (including the style and tone) is a recipe for disaster.
Consider this: you publish similar posts, giveaways, and promotions as your competitors without realizing they’re also imitating the style of others. Someone would soon notice the resemblance in your feeds. Nobody takes a copycat brand seriously. Customers won’t engage as much since they’ve already seen the content elsewhere.
If you're stuck for ideas, go back to your unique selling proposition (USP). What distinguishing characteristics do your brand and products have? Why should customers choose you over your industry rivals?
Check out this example from a local café, Paper Plane Coffee Co. They didn't let National Paper Airplane Day slip away without making a statement with their cool, distinct brand name. Rather than posting a simple greeting, they mark the day with a creative fund-raising campaign.
Aside from tinkering with your business name and products, another way to differentiate your brand is through your packaging. A packaging design that conveys your message well can help your brand become more recognizable online.
Urban Baby Bonnets, a shop that sells modern baby hats and other essentials, uses this strategy to attract more eco-conscious parents. Committed to making the world a better place, they hope to turn customers into long-term advocates with purposeful custom packaging from noissue.
Before your social media content connects with your audience, it has to resonate with you first. Go back to your purpose and use it to realign your marketing strategies.
Wrapping it up
Authenticity is your most valuable asset on social media. If you're not being authentic, you're passing up a huge opportunity to attract and connect with your customers. Fortunately, this virtue can be developed and strengthened over time.
Having a strong brand voice, a well-developed community, a boatload of user-generated content, transparency, and uniqueness are some basic strategies to check off your list. Let your customers see the real you, and you'll be well on your way to success.