Today, let’s discuss importance of authenticity for small business Social Media. Before we can even get into “how to be authentic,” let’s first address why we should be authentic.
The reason why we should be authentic is because it’s the most truthful representation of a company. Additionally, more than ever people are craving brand trust. What does that mean? It means that people today, particularly Millennials, would rather buy from a company they trust, over a big name company, if they feel like they have a personal connection to the company, or if they have a say in the products or services; meaning, small business owners are the most effective if they present an honest product, with authentic social media marketing with personal touches.
So where do we start as business owners? How do we become a more authentic and attractive brand? I’m going to break this down into two sections: Being an authentic consumer and an authentic creator.
In being an authentic consumer, you play three main roles.
Be an authentic consumer.
We want to be an authentic consumer because businesses are consumers too and are built on the support of clients. Let’s start off with Likes. At Distillery Creative we are always taking classes and learning from field experts. We were part of an Instagram class where the instructor suggested that we small business owners like 500-700 posts a day and comment on 50 posts a day to boost and grow engagement. She said it only takes a couple hours a day, and it’s totally worth it. After all, small business social media is all about engagement. We have to engage with users and potential collaborators if we want our businesses to grow! Basic, right?
There are also programs and apps that will auto like and auto comment for your account. We took her advice for a few weeks, and it was true; we were growing followers and getting more likes but realized they weren’t our kind of clients. They were all kinds of people and businesses but not the kinds of people that necessarily wanted to buy our services.
So my advice is this. If you genuinely like something (I mean like in the gushy gush sense); then sure, double tap that!, but don’t go double tapping the first 500 photos in your search just to get more attention. It doesn’t help build your ideal client base.
Be an authentic follower.
We once met a 15 year old who was talking to us about gaining followers, whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. She said “do you want to know how I grow my following?” We were like, “Sure…. shoot!” She said, “I just follow people and unfollow them until they follow me back. Once they’ve started following me, I unfollow them!”
We actually know a lot of adults and, dare I say it, business owners and ‘professionals’ who adhere to the same strategy to build their following. This strategy is obnoxious and insincere. If someone has followed and unfollowed us 10 times, and we still don’t like their content, we are not going to follow them back. In fact, we may report and block them. These actions destroy and undermine user trust in a brand. These actions connote that you are a shallow business owner who is not interested in your customers. Don’t view clients just as numbers: view them as what they are: people. Engage with them like that.
As a business, follow the people whom you actually enjoy engaging with and who are helpful and supportive of your brand.
Be an authentic commenter.
We believe in engagement and commenting on Instagram and Facebook posts to show genuine support. But there are actually apps that let you auto comment. You know what the biggest bummer is? When we get a comment that is a thumbs up Emoji or the praise hands Emoji or the “hey, check out my profile,” you know what it tells us? This person or company doesn’t actually care about leaving a meaningful comment about our work. In fact, they may not have even seen our post or read the caption. A computer may have auto posted that.
Be an authentic commenter by actually commenting on something in the photograph, in the caption, or something related to the company bio.
Next, lets talk about our second topic: Being an authentic creator of content.
There a few rules about being an authentic creator:
Be authentic about your business successes.
Realize that your dreams and successes are just as much a part of you as your failures or flops. Don’t feel inauthentic when you post about your wins.
Every day, every second, take steps to build the company that you want. In order to do that you have to, know the kind of business you want to have. Visualize what it looks like, who it services, how much money it bring in, and how your clients respond. Chances are that those dreams are ending up in your social media channels.
Be authentic about your business goals.
As a business owner everyone knows you’re trying to sell your service or product. To communicate in a non-pushy way, “Hey, buy my stuff!,” is a very real goal to put out there. The main takeaway here is that it is okay to dream about your business and share your business goals with your followers. Dream about your goals; share those goals on social media (if you feel ready); and, who knows, people will sometimes offer to help you reach your goals! Don’t be afraid of people stealing your ideas or doing your dreams better than you. Live in confidence. You never know what you can get if you ask. Ask for an opportunity; ask for support if it’s been a rough day. But don’t forget to give it back to those who need it.
You’re probably doing a pretty good job at being an authentic business owner. I hope some of these tips provide food for thought and reassurance of the things you’re doing right! Stay authentic. Stay engaged!