Authenticity on Social Media
Consumers want transparency from those they follow, but most brands aren’t providing it.
When it comes to building and maintaining a brand through social media, authenticity is key. According to a recent report from Stackla, a visual content engine for marketers, 57 percent of consumers find that fewer than half of brands on social media create authentic content that resonates with them. Further, 86 percent of consumers deem authenticity to be a deciding factor in the brands they like, follow, and support.
“When a brand isn’t being authentic or transparent, people will lose trust almost immediately, and it’s difficult to recover from that,” says Juliet Rocco, associate manager of social media at RCI.
Although it can take more effort to personalize your content to your brand and tell its authentic story, Rocco says that “it is the key to creating a top-performing content program.” She suggests asking followers questions to uncover their interests: What time of year do they prefer to travel? What are their bucket-list destinations? Would they share photos from recent travels? People are more than happy to share, but it’s up to brands to initiate and encourage dialogue.
Another way to implement authenticity, says Rocco, is to build a reciprocal sense of trust between your brand and your customer by publishing user-generated content (UGC). UGC is visual media (photos, videos, etc.) provided by social media users to brands to be featured on that brand’s digital media platforms. Requesting to share a customer’s content begins a conversation and a transparent relationship. “UGC has become a large component of every major social media strategy for brands, especially travel companies,” Rocco says. When you are incorporating UGC into your social media plans, she cautions that you should always secure permission, provide a link to a landing page that explains in detail what the content will be used for, and give credit to the photographer.
The best way to be authentic is to be original, Rocco says: “While it’s easy to take the clearest route and follow suit with other travel brands, it’s much more valuable to think of ways you can be a disrupter. Try things that other brands in the industry haven’t. Everyone begins to look like clones after a while, so how will you differentiate yourself?”
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