Web of lies: being honest with your brand on social media
Most of us put our best foot forward when it comes to our social media updates. Whether on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram, we always strive to present ourselves in the best possible light. Now more than ever we have a love/hate relationship with social media. But love it or hate it, we just can’t live without it. It’s like “Reality TV” that is anything but real. It may not be normal, but it certainly feels normal.
It’s no different for brands. Many companies try their best to maintain their image online, hiring people to run their social media channels and make sure their feeds are regularly updated with quality content. While we expect filtering in one-way or another, many brands are overly creative with the truth on social media. But try as you might with this approach, you just won’t win. People have a sixth sense for authenticity, and can often spot insincerity and BS a mile off.
Authenticity fail no 1 - faking positive reviews
A lot of people look to online reviews before making a purchase, so some companies think they can get ahead by writing their own, paying others to do so, or even deleting the bad ones. But people aren’t easily fooled: a quarter of customers have seen fake reviews online and many know how to spot them straight away.
Reality check – don’t hide your bad reviews and comments, listen to them. If you interact with these people and show that you genuinely want to improve the experience, you show your human face. By interacting with troll like reviews - the type of customers that would rant about anything - you show up their unreasonable attitude and people will take what they say with a pinch of salt.
Authenticity fail no 2 – unrealistic product placement
When it comes to working with social media influencers – people with huge followings on various platforms – the lines start to get blurry. Companies regularly pay to have their products used or reviewed by influencers for exposure but the lack of transparency in these transactions often rubs consumers up the wrong way. Guidelines have been brought out by various regulatory agencies to encourage social media influencers to disclose their paid-for posts as advertisements but these aren’t always strictly enforced.
Reality check – make sure the influencers you work with are on brand and they themselves are authentically living a lifestyle that although may be a little…erm…forced shall we say, still fits with your brand. Working with influencers should be a two way street and you should be helping them get the credibility of working with you too. You can tell a good fit by how keen an influencer is to work with your brand. If they drive too hard a bargain, don’t bother. If your product is a good fit for their audience they will be keen.
Authenticity fail no 3 – buying followers
Buying followers is another dishonest practice. For as little as £2, anyone can inflate their follower count on social media. While some argue it’s a pretty logical way to attract popularity, be careful not to look like you can’t attract real followers.
Reality check – if you want people to follow and talk about your brand, produce interesting content. Nothing is more embarrassing than appearing to have 20k followers, but only 2-5 likes on each post. Social media is an opportunity for your brand to show some personality. Make people laugh. Make them think. Motivate them on Mondays.
In a world full of in-authenticity, we think the only way to stand out now is with honesty, credibility and trust. Your social media is yours to do whatever you want with it – have your voice. We’re tired of the ‘reality’ BS and we urge you to give it up too. Let’s all stop keeping up with the Kardashians.