CF Saskatchewan Blog

6 Ways to Build a More Authentic Brand on Social Media

  • October 19, 2017
  • Written by Community Futures Saskatchewan

85% of people are more likely to support a brand that they think is honest, according to a survey conducted by Ask Your Target Market. Additionally, more than 80% of consumers view businesses that are honest with their customers in a positive light.

Social media can be your conduit to cultivating honest, trusting relationships with prospects and customers—resulting in long-term relationships that lead to greater profitability and referrals. Use the tips below to build a more authentic brand on social media and create a stronger brand for your small business.

  1. Tell stories

Stories help customers connect with your brand, prompt them to buy, and cause them to remain loyal to your small business over your competitors. Think about a company like Nike. Its marketing doesn’t focus on selling shoes; the brand sells the story behind successful athletes. It sells striving for a goal and winning.

Tell tales that your audience would be interested in. If you own a hair salon, for instance, share makeover videos or the story behind a baby’s first haircut. Emotionally-driven messaging that prospects and customers can relate to will perform much better than ‘hard sell’ social media messages.

Bonus Tip: Try these 3 game-changing shifts to become a marketing expert for your small business!

  1. Imbue everything with your “why”

Don’t forget to share your company’s story as well. What sets you apart from the competition? Why do you do what you do every day? This purpose (i.e., your small business’ Mission and Vision) is the reason why people will choose to buy from your company over others.

Let it shine in your small business’ social media presence, from your voice to the type of content you share. For example, let’s say that you started a clothing boutique that only stocks locally-produced, handmade clothing.

You could share a video of a blouse being constructed by hand to showcase the craftsman element of your pieces, and then briefly explain why this process is central to your company—because you believe that partnering with local craftsmen is the key to building a stronger community. If you truly believe in what you’re doing and saying, people will take notice…. And this authenticity can convert social media lookey-loos into loyal, paying customers.

Expert Strategy: Grab our free branding guide to develop your company’s Vision, Mission, and Values today.

  1. Open a two-way street

Think of social media as a conversation rather than a monologue. Whether you are active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or all of the above, use your chosen platform(s) to engage with your audience. Respond to comments, feature a “social media follower of the week,” or set up social media surveys asking prospects and customers to weigh in on your next design/flavor/scent/promotion.

A great example of this is Lay’s. The company is known for its “Do Us a Flavor” competition, where consumers pitch new potato chip flavors for the chance at winning one million dollars. Not only does this generate a significant amount of publicity, but more importantly, it gets fans involved in the creative process and enables a personal connection.

Expert Strategy: Some social media platforms like Facebook allow you to create polls directly from the platform. For platforms without this functionality, use a simple, free service such as Survey Monkey and then paste the link into your posts.

  1. ‘Fess up when you mess up

Part of being authentic on social media is admitting when you make a mistake. No company or brand is perfect and at some point, you will flub. Perhaps you’ll miss a product delivery and the customer will head to your Facebook page to complain about the poor service. Whatever the case, just follow these simple steps after a social media mistake:

  1. Respond quickly
  2. Acknowledge the error
  3. Apologize
  4. Empathize with the person’s feelings
  5. Provide a clear solution

By responding to an unhappy social media comment in this way, your small business can minimize fallout and demonstrate that you truly do care about customer satisfaction. Your audience will forgive the mistake… but not an attempt to cover up the situation or pass the blame.

  1. Develop your unique voice

Just like your company has a unique story, it also has a unique voice. Think of this as the way that you speak to your audience and describe your brand.

One example: Dove, which promotes female empowerment and self-love (the majority of their audience consists of women). Check out their social media profiles and you will find messages like “Every girl deserves the opportunity to reach her full potential. Click ‘Learn More’ to get hands-on resources from the #DoveSelfEsteem Project.”

Find your unique voice and way of interacting with your audience. It may not happen overnight but as you strengthen your brand and become more experienced with social media, you will naturally develop a certain way of speaking with your audience that is unique to your small business.

  1. Promote transparently

If a brand or influencer pays your small business to advertise on your social media profiles, it’s always best to disclose the promotion. Failing to do so makes it look as though you have something to hide—and your prospects and customers won’t like being tricked.

Therefore, use the hashtags “#promotion” or “#ad” when appropriate. Also, be sure to disclose any affiliate relationships within your content, such as if you receive compensation when visitors click on links within your blog articles.

Pair the 6 strategies above with Community Futures’ FREE guide, “10 Game-Changing Social Media Tactics for Small Businesses!” You’ll learn:

  • 5 common social media mistakes that entrepreneurs make
  • How to create a content and social media calendar
  • And more

Click here to download your complimentary copy now!