Why is your social media not performing for you, and what can you do about it? Six tips to help you level up
When it comes to brands and social media, we hear the same complaint over and over again: The algorithm hates us; we can’t reach our audience; it’s taking loads of time and yielding no results!
The thing is, there are plenty of brands – large and small – who are using social media to their advantage, and reaping the rewards. What’s their secret?
Here’s what people often don’t consider when it comes to social media: the algorithm might not hate you; it might hate your content.
Algorithms are designed with the end user in mind. They want them to stay on the site, so they aim to show them content they will engage with.
If you are posting content that doesn’t engage people, for whatever reason, the algorithm will learn from this, and won’t show it to anyone else!
One of the main reasons people don’t interact with posts from brands and businesses is that they can feel inauthentic.
Is your brand authentic on social media?
We all know these days that we need to be authentic on social media – but what does that actually mean, and how do you do it for a brand?
It’s easy for an individual to be authentic; they can literally just be themselves. Gary Vaynerchuk has this down to a tee, and that’s why he’s so incredibly popular: he gives the impression that he is exactly the same person in real life as he is online. Even though he can sometimes have quite controversial opinions, he swears a lot and can come across as brash or harsh, he’s one of the most well-known and popular people on social media because he’s being himself; he’s being authentic.
For an individual, authenticity should be relatively easy: just be yourself. For a brand though, there is perhaps more than one person, and you don’t necessarily want your brand to become amalgamated with John in Accounts who goes fly fishing on the weekend! (no offence, John!). What to do?
How can a brand be authentic on social media?
We’re glad you asked! Authenticity is about being real and genuine. Of course, we’re not implying that what you’ve been posting until now is not genuine – more than it needs to be more obviously genuine, and less bland.
Here are 6 tips for making your brand more authentic on social media.
1 Prove you’re real
These days people are more savvy about the Internet and social media. They are wary of scams and fakes, and if they see a social media account with either no activity or the same salesy posts over and over with no “proof of life” they’ll smell a rat. You need to prove that you’re real by interacting and engaging. Introduce your team members; show what you’ve been up to. Talk about what’s going on in the world. Prove that you’re real people running a real business.
2 Don’t try to be something you’re not.
Part of the problem with social media these days is that there are so many people pretending to be something they’re not. This ranges from people using editing apps to make their thighs look smaller to companies that don’t really exist running huge bogus discounts on substandard products. If you don’t want your audience to think of you in this category, you need to take drastic action. That doesn’t mean producing some polished, slick ad – in fact, quite the opposite. If you’re just two guys working from an office, don’t try and pretend you have fifty employees; embrace what you are! Be truthful and honest about who and what you are, and people will respond to that.
3 Take people on a journey with you.
If you are just two guys starting out, share your journey with your audience – the ups and the downs. Talk about where you’re hoping to take your business and how; you never know who might be able to help or offer advice along the way. Documenting your journey and progress is a great way of showing people that you are who you say you are, and making your social media more interesting and engaging. By sharing your journey you can help and inspire others, and by being open and honest about failures and setbacks you may actually encourage people to like you more. When we show our flaws or failures, we show people that we are authentic and genuine and they respond better to this than the false front of perfection.
4 Build a community
All brands are on social media to further their business; we all want people to buy more of whatever it is we’re selling. Rather than thinking of social media as another place to advertise your company, try to think of it more like networking. We’re really hoping you don’t go to a networking event to sell your product or service! Networking is more about connection with those around you – and so is social media. Ask questions; get to know your audience and what they want from you. This will help you to build community and trust, and also allow you to serve people better.
5 Don’t try to trick people
Barely a day goes by without a post appearing on our newsfeed saying “our posts aren’t being shown to people; like and comment here so that we know you can see us!” – or some variant of that. We’re not saying you shouldn’t ask people to do something for you – but don’t try and trick them into engaging with you. Ask them a question outright, and try to be creative about it – which of these two things do they prefer? What new product would they rather see? Which TV show do they prefer? A genuine question where you respond to answers and engage in conversation will be much better for you than trying to trick people into engaging with you.
6 Decide what your brand values are, and stick to them.
Whatever your brand is, you need some core values surrounding that. This is not about being fake in some way, but rather about ensuring that everything you publish fits in with the brand you are building. We mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk earlier; everyone knows what to expect from him, and if he began posting photos of cute, fluffy animals on his social media we would all wonder what was going on. Your brand should be identifiable in everything you post, from the colours you use to the fonts, the language and the types of content you post. For example, if you are a professional brand offering business tips, a funny meme about the latest episode of Game of Thrones will confuse your audience. You can stick to brand values whilst still being authentic – just save the memes for your personal profile!
What do you like or dislike about brands on social media? If you have an example of a company doing great things on social we’d love to hear about it. Why not drop us a line on social media to tell us about it!