5 Reasons Why Brands Struggle with Social Media Authenticity
Previously, we covered the 5 things great brands always do right on social media. Now, let's look at another key component for success: social media authenticity. Social media marketing provides a great opportunity for brands to humanize themselves and connect in meaningful ways. This isn't a new idea. However, few brands are able to truly master a social media presence for their brand that fosters genuine engagement.
What's keeping brands from getting social media authenticity right?
1. There was no brand voice to begin with.
It's tricky to create a brand voice from scratch in an ad hoc fake-it-till-you-make-it fashion in social media. For starters, you need the big picture perspective of how the brand voice aligns with the company's overall objectives. The social media voice needs to be cohesive with the voice of the brand across all channels, both online and offline. A brand voice requires consistency. If your customers are used to a certain style and tone in one context and then you make a complete 180, this may cause confusion. You risk losing the sense of familiarity you have established offline, which makes social media authenticity difficult.
2. There's no core brand messaging.
Similar to the problem of not defining your brand voice, a lack of core messaging is also an issue for authentic online engagement. What are your brand's proof points? How have you defined the broad customer experience? What's the point of differentiation? How will you deliver on your brand promise through social channels? Without defining core messaging, brands slip and slide, trying to be all things possible in a desperate attempt to attract customers. The key is to stay focused and true to yourself.
3. No one created a social media mission statement before starting.
What's the purpose of your social media marketing to begin with? You need a north star to serve as your guiding light throughout the content creation and promotion process to maintain authentic online engagement. Your social media mission statement should answer questions such as, “why is my brand using social media?" and “what does my brand have to offer that's valuable to consumers?"
4. Content isn't aligned with personas and is missing key consumer insights.
Who are your key targets? Know exactly whom you are talking to. What is their role? What is their resistance to your product/service? What are their motivations? Key consumer insights will help you better understand the kind of content that will be “sticky" and resonate with consumers for authentic online engagement.The better you know your personas, the better you will be able to connect with your audience in meaningful, organic ways. Understanding behaviors and the competitive landscape will help you to create content that speaks to unmet needs. Personas are an important component of your strategy and having well-developed personas affects ROI.
5. Content doesn't provide clear value.
Many brands need to think hard about this: why are you using social media? If your answer is just to sell, you're not going to get very far with consumers who can see right through self-serving brands. Every single piece of content you create and post to social channels needs to provide value to your target market, whether it's educational, informational, entertaining, etc. if you want to create authentic online engagement. Instead of thinking about what you want people to do, think about what people want from you.
Conclusion: Start With Your Brand
These issues highlight how critical it is for companies to build their brand first. You need a brand identity before you can communicate one authentically. Without a brand platform as the foundation for your marketing efforts, communications can quickly become noise and social media authenticity becomes increasingly difficult. Your brand is your rudder. It doesn't matter what new channels your company is currently navigating. Without a rudder, you risk taking circuitous routes to your goal. Even with the right tactical plan in place, you're going to struggle to get where you want to go in a desired time frame. It's like trying to push a shopping cart with a broken wheel. It's an unnecessarily exhausting task that could be quite simple if you started with the right components in place.