How to Keep it Real on Social Media: Authenticity 101

By Ryan Robinson
A cell phone projecting beam of on a woman, revealing a mannequin underneath.

In today’s age, consumers want something credible and real, which is why authentic brands are more successful on social media and influencer marketing is finding huge success. In any strong branding strategy, the key to earning your customers’ trust is by conveying authenticity. Trust creates an open space for conversation, and it knocks down the screen barrier between the consumer and the brand.

Staying authentic on social media is more about communications, rather than what you’re posting. I’m not saying you should put less effort in your posts, but so many people forget that engaging in the conversation is half the game.

As the sole Social Media Manager at Redroc, I understand the importance and discipline it takes to achieve authenticity online. Here are some of my go-to tips on how to up your communicating and posting game, and more so, “keep it real” on social media:

Not Every Post Needs to Be Scheduled

In other words, keep the scheduled posts to a minimum. As a social media manager, I understand how automated posts can be convenient and save you some time. However, you’ll lose some of your authenticity that comes from real-time posting and interaction.

Ditching the automated posts is also extremely important when it comes to social media trends. Social media trends can rise and fall within the same day. This is when you need to stay on top of your game and get a post out if it makes sense for your brand.

Automated posts are great for security but be sure to leave room for spur-of-the-moment posts. Not only does this give your brand a chance to grow if it catches wind in a trend, but it will also grow your brand’s authenticity.

“Humanize your brand by showing your followers the faces behind it. Share photos of company events, staff profiles, and videos about how your business runs. Consumers love to see real people, in real time.”

Behind-The-Scenes

If you’re anything like me, then you love a beautiful, curated feed (AKA, high-def photography, color coordinated posts, etc.). There is importance in making sure your posts look clean and pretty, but too many “curated” posts can come off very unauthentic.

One of my favorite ways to prove that you’re genuine is to share behind-the-scenes photos or videos from your business. Show what a day at your company looks like. Share your employees’ testimonials about what it’s like to work for your company. Interview a customer about their experience. Humanize your brand by showing your followers the faces behind it. Share photos of company events, staff profiles, and videos about how your business runs. Consumers love to see real people, in real time. Your logo doesn’t need to be plastered onto everything you post.

Sharing this kind of content will serve as proof that you’re a trustworthy business, not a rip-off. Once consumers, and more importantly, your followers, gain this kind of insight into your organization, they will build an authentic connection with you and your brand.

First, Teaching. Second, Selling.

Show your customers and followers that you have nothing to hide by making truthful and transparent posts about your business. Share with them everything they need to know about your business, products and/or services. This will help them make more informed decisions, while you build your credibility.

However, it’s important to share information about your company without making a sales pitch. Teaching and selling are two very different things. For consumers to learn about who you are, what you do, and what you’re providing, you first need to inform them. Doing this will make your followers trust you more, therefore making your brand image appear more trustworthy.

Building trust takes time, but it’s crucial for potential customers and followers. So, focus on being transparent in your posts and communications, because one false claim, one ingenuous post, or too many sales pitches can destroy the trust you’ve spent so much time cultivating. This could lead users to leave bad reviews, post negative comments, and even unfollow you.

Selling

According to Forbes.com, it is estimated that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day. When a consumer decides to follow a brand, they don’t want more ads or sales pitches. Customers get turned off and typically unfollow an account when a brand is too pushy in trying to make a sale. So, in social media communications, avoid this tactic.

You may ask, “How am I supposed to sell then?” By keeping it real! More than two-thirds of your posts should provide information and value (giving you authenticity), while the rest is self-promotional. It’s about humanizing your brand and creating compelling content, not taking a “salesy” approach to everything you post. This will spark your consumers’ interest and get them to like or follow your accounts.

All in all, social media was created to have fun, share stories, and, well, socialize. It was never created to be taken so seriously.

Don’t Neglect Your Mistakes

Nobody’s perfect and mistakes happen. However, it’s how you deal with your mistakes that is crucial to your brand. If your followers notice that you’re avoiding to talk about a mistake, deleting negative comments, or even ignoring a bad review, they’ll think you’re hiding something. But, as we all know, you can’t hide on social media. Take responsibility for your errors and be open about them.

Yes, you might lose some followers, but on the other hand, you’ll gain some new ones who have seen how you owned up to your wrongdoings and promised to do better in the future.

Socialize

All in all, social media was created to have fun, share stories, and, well, socialize. It was never created to be taken so seriously. People on social media want meaningful and real conversations. Social media interactions with brands are no exception. So drop your need to make your brand on social media picture-perfect and spotless. Ditch the sales pitch intentions behind every post. Answer your followers’ messages and respond to comments, like status updates and mentions, or your brand is going to seem fake. Get involved in social media conversations and develop the brand personality and tone that you’ll use to communicate. Like in real life, people respond to authenticity. The best part is that it’s easy to do with the right plans and efforts.

If you’re looking for help creating or planning your social media content, contact Redroc today for a free creative consultation at [email protected].

Ryan Robinson is the Social Media Director at Redroc Austin. A graduate of the University of Arkansas’ Advertising and Public Relations program, she brings over 6 years of expertise, transforming both Redroc's 13+ clients and her own business through impactful social media strategies.


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