In the last decade, we’ve seen social media become one of the most powerful elements in the marketing toolbox. From generating leads to driving engagement, marketers are using social media to accomplish a wide variety of business and brand objectives.
For perspective, more than 50 million small businesses are using Facebook pages (Source: Facebook), and the popular platforms Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are each used by more than 50% of marketers worldwide (Source: Statista).
And yet, even with widespread adoption, many brand marketers struggle with social media. According to The Manifest’s survey of 344 social marketers, the following challenges were most frequently reported:
- Not enough human and financial resources
- No formal strategy
- Building followers and influencers
- Tracking results
- Keeping up with changing features
- Selecting channels
Raise your hand if you can relate.
Now, what if I told you that more than half of brand marketers using social media are struggling with a problem that they’re not even aware of? That this problem is directly related to what consumers crave the most? And that up to 30% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because of it?
The “authenticity” problem
A 2017 survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S., UK and Australia led by Stackla revealed that 86% of consumers (and 90% of millennials) report that “authenticity” is important when deciding which brands they support.
The issue is that the majority of consumers surveyed felt that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic. The negative effect is substantial, as 20% of consumers (and 30% of millennials) have unfollowed a brand based on content perceived as inauthentic.
The reality is that over half of brand marketers and community managers are doing their best to churn out content on a regular basis that is potentially doing more harm than good for their brands. And it goes well beyond just social media, as a brand’s perceived authenticity dramatically shapes the quality of relationships it maintains with stakeholders both online and offline.
How can brands become more authentic?
This leaves us with a key question – how can brands become more authentic? We must first recognize that authenticity can’t be manufactured; it must be discovered from within.
The most authentic brands understand and embody their unique values, personality, spirit and character. They don’t hide from their strengths or their flaws, and they shape their identity and voice accordingly. These brands have done the deep self-discovery work to achieve clarity on what makes them unlike anyone else out there.
The power of a strong brand identity
A well-defined brand identity provides marketers with two powerful things:
- Guideposts – Content, interactions and experiences can be compared against established identity guideposts to ensure a brand’s unique character shines through.
- Keys to more compelling content – Inspiration for the most compelling authentic content is locked within a brand’s core identity. Marketers can lean into what sets their brands apart from the crowd and elevate those features in new ways, creating content that is both compelling and authentic.
Looking for social media content inspiration?
Check out Sprout Social’s exploration of 8 Standout Social Media Marketing Examples From 2018. Each brand highlighted by Sprout Social leverages a strong understanding of their own identity to communicate authentically with their audiences.
Who’s that in the mirror?
If you want to create authentic brand content, you must first take the time to reflect on your brand’s identity.
Do you intimately understand your values, personality, spirit and character? Your strengths and your flaws? Your unique value proposition and your position in your target audience’s mind?
Have you documented these features and are you developing content that embodies them?
If not, it’s time to take the dive. And if you feel like you need a little help, we’re here to guide you along the path of discovery.
Get in touch and revitalize your brand.