Let's be real here: There's nothing more annoying than being blasted with ads everywhere you go, especially when so many brands make unreasonable promises just to get attention. While online and offline promotions are important for brand awareness, today, they aren't enough to win customers. We have reached a point where people dread advertising so much that they are willing to pay to keep it off their screens.
Consumers are exposed to a staggering volume of content every day. As a result, they've become more picky about the content they consume.
This is why authenticity has a huge role to play in brand success. Stackla surveyed 1,590 consumers and 150 B2C marketers from Australia, the US, and the UK to find the content gap between marketers and consumers. The findings revealed:
90% of consumers consider authentic content to be crucial to their decision to like and support a brand.
People expect brands to create more visually engaging and honest content.
What does this mean?
You need to be transparent in your marketing initiatives and create content that resonates with your target audience. Create marketing strategies that connect with people and encourage engagement.
When consumers see you creating authentic content, they value your transparency. You stand out among the clutter of sales-focused content, and create a lasting impression on your audience. Above all, authentic content humanises your brand and may even get your audience to connect with you on a deeper emotional level.
Here are a few ideas to deliver more authentic content to your audience.
Share your business journey
When someone takes interest in your brand for the first time, they'll likely try to dig around to find more information. Be sure that you give them all the details they need to get to know you better. Apart from general information, like when your business started and what products and services you're offering, try to get more personal. Tell them about:
How you got your business started
Challenges you had to overcome
Values your business is trying to uphold
What they can expect from your business in the future
Any other details that may be of interest.
You can leverage the "About us" section on your website or social media bio to do this. Have a look at Zoho's "Our story" page, for example. We've used both visuals and simple text elements to highlight our core business values and describe our evolution.
Whether you want to use only written content, add a few pictures, or even include a short video clip, describe your journey creatively to inspire people to do business with you.
Show people what happens behind the scenes
Sharing behind-the-scenes content on social media is a great way to personalise your brand and build trust with your audience. Once you give them a sneak peek into your working environment and show them how your products come to life, people tend to care about, and invest more, in your business. For example, let's say you run a store that creates and sells home decor. You can post stories and videos of how you source your materials, your production process, and anything else that outlines how your business ensures quality. If you've reached a small achievement, or you're trying to resolve a problem, consider sharing the story. Show your customers the effort you've been making to manage and run a successful business.
Here's an example from MEKA collections
Encourage more user generated content
User generated content, also known as UGC, refers to any content created by your audience based on their opinions and experience with your brand. On the Stackla survey, 79% of respondents stated that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. That means the more people talk about your brand, the better your chances are of finding new customers. UGC can take the form of a social media post, an online review, a tweet, or a comment. As long as it's not sponsored, it's safe to consider it user generated content for your business.
Here are a few tips for increasing UGC for your business:
Conduct online contests and encourage your audience to post their submissions on social media.
Ask your audience to use the comments section under your posts to share their feedback on important brand decisions. For example, you can ask people for suggestions on the next product you should launch or their preferred packaging style.
Repost UGC in your social profiles (with the user's permission) to direct traffic to your audience's pages.
Create genuinely useful content that makes people talk about your business organically.
Start a social campaign with a hashtag that relates to your business, and encourage your audience to share their own stories.
Take a look at Real Nourish's post for example:
Avoid replicating viral posts
Social media can make people crazy. If you see a post going viral today, you'll likely see more people creating similar content in the next few days, hoping to get the same attention for their business. As much as it's important to stay relevant and keep up with the competition on social media, you shouldn't lose your brand identity in the process. A few extra likes and shares shouldn't be the reason you fall prey to fads or cringe-worthy trends that have nothing to do with your business. After all, your audience will likely appreciate you coming up with fresh ideas, rather than seeing you trying to replicate other people's content.
We hope this blog has inspired you to create more authentic content for your audience. Are there any more tips you'd like us to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.