More businesses than ever before are using social media to communicate with their audience and, in turn, sell their products or services. But often, due to social media authenticity issues, these companies are struggling to set the correct tone on their various social media platforms. Some are covering their own identity too much and not allowing their audience to engage with them whereas others are trying too hard and come across awkward (all embarrassingly noted in the hilarious @BrandsSayingBae Twitter account). This is before we’ve even mentioned those who constantly SELL, SELL, SELL!
So, how does a business look friendly yet professional? Relevant, but not like they’re trying too hard? Or, successfully selling their products without being too pushy? It’s all about social media authenticity.
Identifying your audience is key
Think about how you would speak to your target market in real-life situations and then apply this tone to your online communication. Write like you talk generally results in authenticity. Even those customers who are well aware that they’re being marketed to, and that this isn’t entirely a ‘social’ situation, will respond to authenticity.
It’s called social media for a reason . . . be social!
Likening social media to a networking event is a great analogy for how you should approach your voice and tone online. At a networking event, you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and say:
“Hey, I’m Colin, my products are currently 10% off and I’m currently offering free delivery!” Instead, you would politely introduce yourself, ask questions, listen and engage with genuine interest, tell relevant stories and relate to the others in the room.
Humans are social creatures so when you market to your customers it needs to give the impression that there’s a person delivering the brand message even though it’s company communication. Unless a product or service is coming from a well-established and trusted brand (e.g. Coca Cola, Marks and Spencer, IKEA, etc.) people buy from people especially in the small business world.
“Just be yourself!” is an often over-used piece of advice offered to those planning their social media strategy. But it’s true. In the loud digital space of social media, where brands and consumers are all shouting over each other, it is important to find your own, personal voice and stand out. Aligning your brand’s identified style, tone and key message is crucial for an authentic voice on your social media platforms. Therefore, if your company is a corporate business-like law firm, your brand voice will differ from that of a trendy cocktail bar or indie vinyl record store.
Regardless of industry, whichever company makes the best attempt at making people truly care about their brand, ultimately wins that battle for authenticity. Nowadays, customers are drawn to brands that deliver on honesty and genuineness.
Previously, finding the right voice and tone to talk to your audience was only something novelists and journalists had to figure out, but now we all need a voice because, whether it’s email or social media, we’re constantly writing to our audiences – we are all journalists and publishers.
Some key tips to consider also include:
- Don’t use slang or ‘cool words’ on social media that you would not use in real life
- Always reread a tweet before publishing it
- Absolutely no grammatical or spelling errors
- Avoid use of Twitter abbreviations (e.g. IDK for I don’t know)
- Top tips and polls are a great way to encourage interaction.
A final note on social media authenticity
When brands try too hard to follow a trend or to be casual, it can have an adverse effect and can be likened to an embarrassing Dad asking about the “hippity-hop” music you’re listening to. Cringe! It is a lot more beneficial to stay true to your brand’s mission and purpose as your audience can see clearly through your attempts at fitting in.
Your various social media accounts give you space to provide your audience with a glimpse into the ‘backstage’ of your company. Perhaps a look around your workspace, what the various members of staff are up to that day or other behind-the-scenes access depending on your company setup? You will find the interaction you receive from these posts will be greater than any sales content or messages you publish. And the reason is authenticity.
Finding the balance between being informative and fun, whilst successfully selling your services through your online content, is a dark art but once you’ve mastered it, it can be very beneficial.
At Cyberfrog Design, we understand that this can be a hard task, takes a lot of planning and requires a strategy which is why we offer social media marketing services. Social media is a full time job for businesses and if you’d like to find out how we can help please contact us for more details.