The Hunt for Social Media Authenticity
“Keeping it real” seems to be on every social media content creator’s mind lately. The quest for authenticity, however, is nothing if not elusive. With the competition for the scroller’s attention (and interaction) harder to capture than ever before, social media marketers are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. And authenticity seems to be the magic bullet, the cream that rises to the top and the type of content that everyone wants…but creating content that is truly authentic is no easy feat.
Check out some facts that support the extent of the appetite for authenticity in social media content:
- A Stanford think tank reports that stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone.
- SproutSocial reports that 51% of consumers define feeling connected to a brand when the brand understands them and their wants—that is, demonstrating empathy.
- Stackla reports 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support (up from 86% in 2017).
So we’ve established that authenticity matters and that it’s hard to accomplish. Now, let’s explore the unintended consequences of the ubiquitous goal of creating authentic social media content.
How Fake Authenticity Hurts Your Brand
- Humble bragging is not the same as authenticity. More and more people are creating content that follows a similar template, and the not-so-humble “humble brags” are filling social media feeds. From the “look at me” I drink lots of water every day to the “I have figured out the secret to happiness” set, the posts keep coming. And, newsflash, they don’t seem authentic at all.
- Be discerning about who goes into creator mode. Creator mode is the new buzzword swirling around social media circles these days, but not all content creators are created equal. A marketing eye may be needed to ensure that the right mix of authenticity exists and that your social media content achieves your goals.
- Tony Robbins is taken. Most common on personal social media accounts can be found an attempt at authenticity that mimics the styles of Tony Robbins, Gary Vee or Jay Shetty. Those guys have a niche and a strong message in their respective spaces, but they are one of a kind. Many well-meaning social media content creators are pushing out self-help-themed content that really doesn’t match their goals and seems like a feeble attempt at “looking authentic.” The attempt to look authentic on social media falls short because it is not really who they are IRL (in real life).
- Find yourself and then share that. One of the hardest things to do in life and in business is to realize who you really are. The voice that makes you, you, that’s the authenticity people are seeking in social media platforms and beyond. Taking some time and effort to get to know who you (or your business) truly are is worth the excruciating pain it may take to get there. People have taken “talk about your journey” to the ad museum level, but the true you will always shine as authentic social media content because it is.
Your brand is an extension of your bottom line in every place that your audience interacts with you. While the consumer is craving authenticity, an ineffective attempt at it can be damaging to your brand on social media (or any channel, for that matter). The best first step is to get real about what you stand for, what your voice is, what your brand represents and who your audience is. Once you have a very clear grasp on who you really are, being authentic gets a lot easier…and better.
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