People LOVE authenticity, and why shouldn't we? It's something that the vast majority of us look for and influences how we buy into specific brands. Authenticity builds trust with a brand and makes the relationship with its users much greater helping to promote brand loyalty in those users.
Let's be realistic for a moment. Is a post with 1,000 likes or 100 likes better? If you answered 1,000 straight away without wanting to analyse who has liked the post, then I'm afraid you are wrong. Do not pass go and do not collect £200 - actually you go straight to jail.
This is something I see more and more within social media and, rather frustratingly, it will forever be a part of the social media landscape. People LOVE getting likes and they thrive off it. It shows marketers that people are engaging with a post and shows us our friends like what we post. But do remember, they are your friends so they like you regardless of what you post.
But why do we like it so much? Is it the attention that comes with it? Is it nice to have that high number of likes proudly stamped onto your post? Does it in fact make you 'popular' by having more than someone else? Weirdly and slightly upsettingly, people and companies are judged on face value of how many likes they have and I bet if you are honest with yourself, you have also judged a company by this metric. I know I've certainly been guilty of it in the past.
Personally, I would take 10 authentic likes over 100 false ones any day of the week. I'm not talking about buying likes or fake profiles. I'm talking about people who like a picture to gain a like or follow back, people who use software to like photos with certain hashtags, geo locations or when certain profiles post. These types of likes are the ones which can go in the bin in my book. They are not authentic and a brand doesn't need them.
In the digital age we are living in, every business is fighting to gain the attention of more internet users than there competitors. But it is also very important, if not more important, to make sure you are getting attention from the right people. You want customers who love your product because your product is great, you know what you are on about and you have a genuine relationship with your users. This shines through from a customer perspective. These customers will return time and time again and become longstanding brand advocates. They might not like every post you put up, but these are the people who matter.
So... What can you do to stay authentic and at the same time grow your business?
- Talk to your customers online and don't make everything about selling. If you constantly just sell to your audience you WILL alienate them. Talking as a consumer, I can guarentee it.
- Humanise your brand. It was founded by humans and it is run by humans so make sure you show your audience the human side of your brand.
- Value every single one of your customers. The moment you stop valuing someone who is handing over their hard-earned money, it's time for you to have a little think about your business.
- Tell the truth. Why lie to the people that are keeping your business running? We are all human. You will be surprised how far telling the truth in the business world will get you. You want a successfull brand? Be honest and be genuine.
Only this week, travel blogger Amelia Liana was accused of faking some of her pictures, which in turn saw her delete them from her Instagram profile. Firstly, if you were being genuine, you wouldn't need to delete an image from your page. And if you were being authentic then your followers would never suggest you were faking your images in the first place. You can read more about it here.
There are so many fantastic brands out there that are absolutely crushing it by being authentic. Below are some of my favourites, they all show amazing authenticity, have a great brand and are killing it! Don't stop what you're doing guys!
Let me know your favourite authentic brands online by tweeting us at @bcsAgency.