When meeting with a prospect recently, we were discussing the struggle to garner authentic conversations around brands on social media. Consumers are constantly looking to others for recommendations, reviews, and testimonials, and in an era when writing fake Amazon reviews is a thriving business, it’s become increasingly difficult for brands to build trust with consumers.
Fortunately, there are some ways that both new and established brands can encourage and nurture those authentic exchanges on their social media channels. When brands build trust with their customers online, those consumers will feel comfortable sharing feedback and engaging with others in the same community. As a result, a customer will transform into a brand advocate, jumping in to offer advice or come to a brand’s defense when needed, which can be priceless.
So, in response to my prospect’s dilemma, I shared an insight that many brands seem to overlook – “You can’t buy authenticity, but you can nurture it.” Think your brand could benefit from nurturing authenticity on social media? Continue reading to check out our top tips!
3 Ways to Nurture Authenticity on Social Media
Create a Facebook Group
Different from Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups are a great option for bringing your customers together in a community environment. Rather than “Like” your page, customers can join the group and come together to voice their ideas, share photos, seek advice, and discuss products or services. By providing a space where consumers can feel comfortable providing feedback or asking questions, brands can build trust among their fans, which is reflected in the authentic conversations they’ll have in your group.
In addition to the benefit of encouraging authentic conversations, Facebook Groups also assist in reaching users organically. With the latest Facebook News Feed algorithm update, founder Mark Zuckerberg expressed that the new changes were designed to “encourage meaningful interactions between people.” As a result, content that is generating more comments and reactions, such as Facebook Group posts, is more likely to be featured in a user’s feed.
Create and Promote a Branded Hashtag
Even when users aren’t consciously “joining” a group, there are other ways that brands can offer a sense of community that inspires authenticity. For instance, by creating and promoting a branded hashtag for your brand, you can encourage fans to participate in a conversation surrounding your product. When sharing about their experiences using a branded hashtag, consumers become part of a larger community, which allows them to find and connect with other like-minded individuals.
As an added benefit, promoting a branded hashtag also helps brands build user-generated content (UGC) libraries, which they can use in their own promotions on social media. It’s no secret that consumers take recommendations from friends and family members very seriously when making a buying decision, and sharing real-life posts from other customers adds yet another element of trustworthiness and authenticity to your social media channels.
Be an Authentic and Engaged Brand
All the above would be fruitless if your brand isn’t being authentic with its brand messaging being shared on social media. According to Forbes, “Brand messaging resonates on a personal level and can help justify a purchase. But nowadays, that doesn’t seem to be enough. We’ve entered the era of The Conscious Consumer. These are people who want to understand the values of the brand they are buying from and what impact their purchase has.” Therefore, to encourage authenticity, brands must operate at the same level of transparency as they expect of their customers.
The other part of this puzzle is for brands to be actively involved in these conversations with their customers. Dedicating time to community management, where you’re reviewing and responding to comments and conversations surrounding your brand, is crucial to monitoring and nurturing authentic communications.
Monitoring these conversations and stepping in as needed not only helps build trust among existing customers, but it also helps to build others’ confidence in your company, knowing that you’re readily available should they encounter any issues or have any questions. Being an active and honest member of your social community is crucial to monitoring and nurturing authentic communications. Better yet, it places you at the forefront of these conversations, and when you’re nurturing authentic conversations, you’ll be able to bask in the rewarding feeling of watching your brand advocates vouch for your business.