Any company can have a social media presence. The real challenge lies in building a presence that is trustworthy and can generate conversions. When 63% of global consumers claim they would buy from a company they consider authentic, authenticity becomes a critical asset in your social media strategy.
Authenticity is not something that can be measured precisely. It’s about creating an online voice that is helpful, reliable, human, and one that resonates with your audience. Your social media visibility should represent an honest picture of who you are as a company and as individuals, by aligning it with your mission, values, and goals. That’s the real secret to growing your followers, making conversions and becoming a thought leader in the industry.
To learn how to become authentic, your social media team should incorporate these seven habits into its daily routine:
- Listen and respond
- Be consistent
- Be knowledgeable
- Be transparent
- Be personal
- Focus on your audience
- Share constantly
1. Listen and Respond
Nothing makes you seem more authentic than having real, one-on-one conversations with your social media followers. It’s crucial to listen to what your customers have to say and to respond with valuable and timely insight. The key is to speak naturally. Social listening makes it easy and quick to follow conversations that really matter and engage with your audience.
Just as you wouldn’t respond to your real Facebook friend “Thank you for your comment”, neither should you give cache responses to your company’s followers. Businesses looking to work with you expect to see you provide them with personal consideration and an actual ear they can speak to. Formulaic conversations and responses might hurry the process, but in return, they will damage your authenticity. Instead, you must read each comment on your blog, Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere, and take the time to build a personal relationship with users.
2. Be Consistent
Your brand’s voice should echo across every outlet and sound exactly the same. If you present a certain persona at a networking event that is different from online, you’re going to give off a negative impression. Customers want to be assured that your brand’s message is uniform.
Being consistent doesn’t imply having a formula. It can be as simple as inserting your logo on every profile, marketing material, and video you upload or ensuring that your social media team uses the same industry terms across every conversation and piece of content. In other words, pick a brand voice (humorous, instructive, etc.) and apply it throughout all platforms. Your voice also includes stylistic choices such as tone and pronoun usage (“I” or “we”).
3. Stand Behind Your Product, Company, and Values
Before any marketing plan, you always have to ask yourself: what is my business really about? And as Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Once you answer this question, and the answer is simple, internalize it and stick to your vision and purpose. Customers expect you to be proud of your company, product, and goals. If you convey confidence, they’ll have more reason to trust you.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” — Albert Einstein
In fact, 87% of B2B marketers struggle to produce content that truly engages buyers because they’re not focusing their attention on building relationships and being authentic. Authenticity starts with your employees knowing the company inside-and-out. By providing proper training to your social media team on the company’s product or service, they will be able to understand its true value and share their knowledge with others online and offline.
4. Be Transparent with an Employee Advocacy Program
Social media offers businesses a wonderful opportunity to peel back their layers and reveal the masters behind their success. The truth is that 57% of the purchasing process happens before the customer ever talks to your sales team. That means you have to reveal who you are as a company very early on in the sales funnel before prospects reach the selling stage.
The best way to create a transparent work culture is by getting employees to become brand advocates in the digital ecosystem through a formal advocacy program. This will motivate employees to share educational and valuable content about the company on their personal social networks, increasing their own thought leadership status, which in turn drives engagement and leads. As a result, you’re allowing customers to see the employee’s name and profile picture, making the interaction with the brand a lot more appealing and personal.
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5. Personalize Your Outreach
A bad habit that many social media teams develop is treating everyone the same. Customers want to know that you see them as individuals and that you’ll provide them with a personal experience all along their journey. Authentic brands remember people and curb their sales messages in favor of quality content.
An easy way to personalize your social media outreach is to mention specific customers or individuals in your posts. If you recently attended a networking event or met a client on-site, share a piece of content that directly mentions that individual or company. Your social media team should also consider going directly to your customer’s social media page “complementing” it by liking, commenting, and even sharing relevant content. Remove the barriers and take the time to reach out personally.
6. Focus on Your Audience
You cannot be authentic if you don’t know your target audience. The sad truth is that only 44% of businesses have created buyer personas. Knowing your buyer is essential to making strategic decisions regarding sales and marketing. Ask yourself who will be viewing your social media and who will care about what you share. Then, start crafting a social media plan that focuses directly on those individuals, teams, or businesses. If your audience feels like you know them well enough, they’ll be more inclined to find out who you are.
The key is creating content that will resonate deeply with your audience. In order for your brand to become a trusted thought leader, your content has to demonstrate expertise about your industry and customers. Find out where your clients are (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), share with the right tone and vocabulary, and focus on crafting content that will answer your audience’s common questions.
[Tweet “Learn 7 simple ways to build an authentic #socialmedia presence”]
7. Share Constantly
Social media is not a marketing platform for lazy people, your customers need to be able to count on you. With 38% of B2B marketers publishing content on a weekly basis, you must also demonstrate your reliability as a business by constantly sharing a variety of relevant articles, e-books, videos and more.
Ultimately, you need to understand how much content should be shared on each platform and how often. Saturation can overwhelm customers to a point of resistance, whereas not enough content can push you out of the minds of prospects everywhere. Using a social publishing platform can simplify the process and help you organize and streamline your social posts to maximize reach and increase brand awareness.
Demonstrating you’re an authentic brand through social media is the best way to generate new leads and to turn potential customers into buyers. Learn how Oktopost can help you become more authentic by taking a look at our resources.