8 Ways to Create & Portray Brand Authenticity
:: Eric Taylor, Qwaya ::
A positive brand reputation is something that will serve your business well, especially in the realm of social media. Not every brand is going to become a household name with millions of followers, but well-respected companies stand a better chance of influencing who buys from them (and why) and to what frequency.
Developing a brand’s reputation isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight, but there are many different and useful tips to help you improve your own company’s reputation as an authentic, high-value brand.
8 Ways to Create and Portray Brand Authenticity
1: Figure out Your Purpose and Vision and Match Values
Before you begin your social marketing quest to brand your business, you have to start by taking self-inventory. What are your values, and how do they relate to what you want your brand to stand for? Since a brand should be a personal thing, it should be built on your values – on the values of your business. Your brand should be unwavering in this regard, and unafraid to hold that line.
2: Build a Network Using Organic Elements
Paid advertising is OK and, in most cases, actually necessary if you’re using Facebook, but organic reach has its place too. This is especially true when you’re dealing with brand authenticity. Allowing a network of social sites to develop and share organically—at least in part—really pushes a cleaner, more authentic image.
Editor’s Note: Check out “7 Ways to Build Authority on Google+” and “4 Creative Ways to Use Tumblr for Business” as both of these social networks can affect both a brand’s reputation and search standings.
3: Cater to the Right Market
Authenticity in branding is sometimes as easy as catering to the right audience. For instance, if you’re catering to a broader market than you should be in an attempt to develop mass followers, then your advertising and branding methods are going to stand out as a little all over the place, subsequently giving you a fake, inorganic appearance.
Editor’s Note: Today’s brand marketing isn’t about reaching the largest audience, it’s about personalizing the experience for one person to build loyalty, as a result of brand authenticity and personal relevance. Watch your inboxes and mailboxes for our July issue, which covers this hot topic in depth.
4: Learn From Your Competition
Learning about your competitors is always a fantastic way to glean important information about your branding efforts. The more you understand about how others are appearing authentic, the easier it’s going to be for you to tweak things and to come across in a positive fashion. Sign up for your competition’s newsletters, Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest.
5: Ask For Feedback Regularly
If you want to know how the public views your brand, then make an effort to ask. It could be as simple as releasing a status update that asks the question, “What do you think about us?” Asking for feedback is par for the course, but make sure to follow up with each responder, so they know their feedback is heard and valued.
Editor’s Note: Discover the top digital survey solutions.
6: Honesty and Transparency as a Policy
One of the premier ways to ensure your brand is seen as authentic is to be very open about what’s going on behind the scenes and also with what’s coming down the pike. Make it a policy to be open and transparent, not only in your social media branding (e.g. posts, responses, who your brand follows, etc.) but in all of your online marketing. You will benefit greatly from this.
7: Don’t Lower Your Standards
There are many times when you will be tempted to roll around on the floor with the heathens on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp, or even in your own comment sections. But if you care to notice, the biggest, most well-respected brands out there that engage with fans on social media only do so when they’re approached with positive intent. In other words, the flame-happy trolls don’t receive any feedback. And this is how it should be. Don’t lower your standards by playing around in the mud. Companies should attempt to take brand “distractors” offline by asking them to email someone within the business, so they can solve the issue at hand.
8: Incorporate an Actual Personality
No brand can remain all business, all the time and actually appear to be personable, transparent and authentic. What are you actually doing for the real people following your brand if you’re not allowing your brand to have its own personality? Your brand is a living, breathing thing that needs to have its own voice and personality. And while that voice should directly coincide with your values and your message, it’s still important to inject personality into it. This could include posting images of a company picnic or publishing notes on how a product launch really went down (e.g. long nights and lots of pizza).
Coming across as an authentic brand will open many doors that were seemingly unavailable. Believe it or not, brand authenticity and brand size have a direct correlation. In other words, those brands viewed as authentic are those brands that become household names and big players. Fortunately, social media and the Web, in general, can even the playing field. But before you go tinkering around with the recipe in order to boost your brand’s reach, look at it from an organic, authentic standpoint.
Eric Taylor is a social media enthusiast, freelance writer and business developer for a Facebook ad campaign tool - Qwaya. The company also provides extensive information, tools and up-to-date news about social media marketing strategies latest trends, most specifically in Facebook.