6 ways to be an authentic brand on social media
Employee advocacy is a powerful way to spread your brand message and promote your employer brand in an authentic way. But having employee advocates share your brand's messages is not enough to come across as authentic. Your content should be authentic too.
Employee advocacy can amplify your employer brand
Employer branding is vital to having a productive and profitable organization. With a reputable employer brand, you'll see an increase in productivity from existing staff, higher retention rates and lower recruitment and marketing costs. Central to building a great employer brand is a well-defined Employee Value Proposition (that encompasses everything you are doing to attract and retain employees) and the one thing you really can't fake: authenticity.
These days, brands are looking to influencer marketing for authenticity. Because consumers are more influenced by authentic human communication than corporate jargon, influencer marketing's popularity is logical. The issue is that, while influencer marketing may have been authentic and more human in its beginnings, that is no longer the case. Influencer posts are becoming increasingly staged and rarely feel natural to consumers' feeds. Really, influencer marketing has just become the new product placement, staging influencers in a scene where they endorse a brand, product, or service in a way that is supposed to be authentic. So if influencers are losing credibility, who else can authentically tell the brand story?
This is where organic influencers come into the picture. Organic influencers are the real people who already buy your products and services. They also create content about your brand, but more or less accidentally, because they are your genuine brand advocates. Your employees are your closest organic influencers. Through employee advocacy, they can share passionate and thought-provoking content across social media about your industry and brand. Employee advocacy is a powerful way to spread your brand message and promote your employer brand in an authentic way. But having employee advocates share your brand's messages is not enough to come across as authentic. Your content should be authentic too. Some tips for your employee advocacy program:
How to create authentic brand content
1. Create original content
Resist the temptation to cheaply and quickly recycle content from other brands. Try to be original. Audiences love unique content. You can make unique content by putting a fresh perspective on things and referring to your personal industry experience.
2. Shy away from stock photos
If you want your company to get noticed and come off authentic, don't use stock photos. Stock photos are used over and over again, so they neither differentiate nor make you stand out. Consider hiring a photographer from time to time to get a few good-looking unique photos you can use throughout the year on your site, in blog posts, in ads, etc. One of the greatest benefits of custom photography is that it presents you with the opportunity to show visitors something they have never seen before. This will go a long way to helping establish your own identity and promoting your company's image.
3. Skip calls to action
Fundamentally, the entire point of marketing is to create an opportunity for sales. Your social media marketing strategy shouldn't be any different. But it's easy to get caught up trying to turn every online interaction into a sale or a conversion by adding a call to action (CTA) to everything. Although you should not be afraid to prompt a response from your visitors, it shouldn't be overdone to the point where it distracts from the content. After all, that's what got your visitors there in the first place. Too many many calls to action can also come across as sleazy, which can put your readers off. Use CTAs sparingly and only at times and in places where it makes sense to the reader that there should be a next step.
4. Be relevant
Identify relevant topics that benefit your (potential) clients, like valuable information that provides solutions to current problems they may have. Keyword research can help you find out what they are looking for and what is missing from the available content. If you provide your audience with relevant stories, you are doing more than selling a product or building a brand. You're building a relationship with consumers, which can lead to long-term, loyal customers.
5. Find your brand voice and add a personal touch
Finding your brand voice adds personality to your content and helps people feel like they're engaging with a human. If your brand was a person, how would you describe its personality to someone? Ask yourself questions like: is your organization humorous, authoritative, or even a little strange? To be effective, you need to define your brand voice so that anyone who creates content or communications understands how to put it into action.
6. Share user-generated content
Consumers like authentic content from fellow customers. People relate to real photos and videos their friends, family and peers are creating on social media. User-generated content (UGC) is authentic, relatable and more influential than the visuals brands create. So, calling on your customers to produce their own content is an authentic and cost-effective way to connect with buyers.