Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr…
Somewhere in the world, a new social media user joins the fray every 10 seconds. And of the 3 billion social media users in the world, most of them spend almost two hours per day on their social media accounts.
So it’s safe to say that if you’re building a brand you want your social media account to catch people’s attention – and to hold it.
But what’s the best way to do that?
Well, here’s a question: have you ever spent time scrolling through a brand’s Instagram account and come away feeling totally disconnected? Their pictures are too perfect, too polished, too sophisticated – totally not real.
That’s because the best way, these days, to capture social media’s attention is through authentic branding. No more overly-photoshopped models – people want to see the real deal.
Here are 7 of the best ways to practice authentic branding on social media.
1. Go Behind the Scenes
Don’t just show people the finished product – show them the mess and chaos that gets you there. Post photos of your office or set up a question and answer session via Facebook Live.
Or, better yet, show people how your product is made. We’re in an age where consumers – especially Millenials – like to know what’s going into their products and what they’re really buying, so take advantage of that trend on your social media. Be transparent about what you’re using to make your products and how they’re being made.
Lush Cosmetics does a really great job of this with their Lush Kitchen Instagram account, which shows behind the scenes photos of their employees actually making the products. It also gives sneak peeks of upcoming products that will soon be available for purchase.
2. Be Totally Transparent
Transparency isn’t just about what’s going into the products and how they’re being made. It’s also about how you interact with your social media following.
If you mess up, own it. Don’t try to hide it or just delete the post. Admit you made a mistake and draw attention to it. If you made a typo, make a joke about it – and if you posted something insensitive, apologize for it.
Nobody likes a brand that tries to hide things from its consumers.
3. Skip the Calls to Action
We get it, you want people to purchase your products. That’s why you’re on social media in the first place – to build a following and increase your ROI. (Incidentally, check out Drive Social Media for help on how to do that.)
But if you’re ending every post with a link to purchase your products or sign up for your newsletter or whatever – then you’re missing the point.
Ending every post with a call to action is going to quickly alienate your following. People aren’t following your social media pages to be inundated with opportunities to purchase. If they’re following you, they know where to purchase your products.
Instead, they’re looking for authentic branding – they’re looking to get to know the brand and what it stands for and what it means. If you accomplish that then when they’re thinking about where to make their next purchase their mind is going to go immediately to you.
4. Use Real People in your Photos
Think of Dove’s “real beauty” campaign, which uses real women of all shapes and sizes and has been around for more than a decade now. Or think of Aerie’s #AerieREAL campaign where the brand showcases real women with stretch marks and real women with health conditions and more.
People love this kind of thing as is evidenced by the social media praise that these two campaigns (and campaigns like them) receive.
Using real people in your advertisements – instead of retouched models like the ones everyone else is using – will gain you attention and loyalty from your customers. People like to be able to imagine themselves wearing and using your products – which is much easier to do when your models look like them.
5. Show the Products IRL (In Real Life)
Much like you should consider using real people in your advertisements and on your social media pages, also consider showing more than just photoshopped and beautifully curated images of your products.
It’s way more fun for your followers to see your products being used in real life so they can get a sense of what they’re going to be getting when they purchase. (Again, Lush Cosmetics does a great job of this.)
If all you’re showing your consumers are images of your products set up in a photo studio then you’re quickly going to lose their social media interest. Instead, take to the streets (so to speak) and show real, everyday images of your products being worn, used, or bought.
6. Crowdsource Some of Your Images
This one’s great because it increases the investment that your followers and consumers have in your brand. It gives them a chance to be part of the magic!
Asking consumers to participate in your brand’s social media presence makes them feel like you care about what they think and how they use your products. Crowdsourcing images is a great way to do this because it gives you ready-made content for your page.
7. Authentic Branding Should Give Your Brand a Personality
Your social media feeds should be all about your brand. What you can provide, what you have to offer, what you stand for, etc.
But your social media accounts should be about more than that. It should be about giving your brand a personality.
How do you do this? By interacting with other brands. Share brands you love, other products you love (ones that aren’t yours), influencers you love. By sharing the love and spreading your influence out to include brands that aren’t your own it makes you seem a lot more real.
No consumer only follows or likes one brand – so why should you?
So now that you know how to create authentic branding on social media that will really reach people and help you connect with them – it’s time to start putting it into practice.
If you’re looking for more information on social media marketing check out our blog for tips, tricks, ideas, and advice. And start practicing them all today!