At the start of each year, you plan how you will create compelling content to promote your brand. You may plan your budget, leverage agencies, or repurpose existing content.
But even if you feel like you’re doing everything right, your audience might not engage with your content. Furthermore, your target customers may use ad blockers and not even see your content.
So, what’s going wrong?
One reason for this could be that your content might not come across as authentic. No matter how many people viewed your content, they didn't feel a connection.
Consumers don't want to be marketed to. Instead, they want a brand that focuses on building trust as well as relationships with their customers.
The 2019 Edelman report revealed that only 34% of those surveyed trusted most of the brands that they purchase from.
So, how do you build trust with your audience?
To help you understand, I have with me, Dr. Linda F. Williams. She’s the Founder of Whose Apple Dynamic and will help you discover why authenticity is your most powerful marketing strategy.
What is Authentic Marketing?
Dr. Linda said this about authenticity:
“If you are going to have a value-driven business, where you know you're going to adhere to certain personal values that you have, then you cannot do that and be inauthentic.”
Authenticity is what helps you connect with your audience. This strategy is not a tactic. Instead, authenticity is what a brand’s purpose should be.
Authenticity is beneficial as it helps businesses to:
- Establish a relationship with the target audience
- Build a community
- Enhance the customers' experience
- Genuinely add value to the customers
Authentic marketing is an art that involves a brand effectively communicating who they are. Most brands feel the need to communicate that they are perfect. But, authentic marketing calls for a brand to reveal its human side.
You can do this by communicating to your audience what you do and what your brand is all about. When executed correctly, your audience begins to understand that your brand stands for something.
How Can You Leverage Authentic Marketing?
Let’s take a closer look at how you can leverage authentic marketing to your advantage:
1. Identify What Makes You Authentic
One of the ways through which you can leverage authentic marketing is by identifying what makes you authentic. You can do this by figuring out what motivated you to set up the business in the first place. A majority of entrepreneurs venture into a business to fulfill a need in the niche.
The endeavor towards meeting that need is fraught with challenges and mistakes. Still, there is a thrill that you get when you meet that need for your customers.
You can communicate the frustrations, challenges, mistakes, and thrill that you get from your business through storytelling. That's what authentic marketing is all about.
Don't create content that hides or dials down on the challenges or frustrations. Instead, communicate your experience through storytelling.
2. What Does Your Business Care About?
Dr. Williams is an entrepreneur in the coaching and consulting industry. She started marketing to B2Bs on LinkedIn, where she shared her education and work experience. However, Dr.Williams was fighting a traumatic past.
She decided that instead of fighting that, she should lean into that past and be real about it.
And it was that decision that makes her business authentic. She uses the seven years of healing from her traumatic past in her marketing.
Dr. Williams cares about helping companies to achieve their visions. She understands from experience that she can't help her clients if she can't be honest about the mistakes she made and how she was able to achieve success.
How can this help you build and grow your business?
You need to figure out what you and your business care about.
Don't communicate the answer to this question to your audience by creating content similar to everyone else in the industry. Instead, create content that has intrinsic value.
This is content that is original and sincere. Let go of that urge to market and focus on tackling topics honestly and critically. Honesty will help your content resonate better with your audience.
This is because it communicates that you understand the issue, and you know how to solve it. It also makes you empathetic towards your audience.
3. Educate Your Target Audience
Taking the initiative to educate your audience leads to long-term results. This strategy helps you build your reputation as an industry expert.
Educating your audience is a soft-sell approach. Since you have built your reputation as an expert, your target audience is likely to purchase from you.
One of the ways through which you can educate your audience is social media. You can share How-to videos or behind-the-scene videos that can educate your customers about your products or services. Alternatively, you can produce podcasts that touch on relevant topics in your niche.
But why podcasts?
Because 39% of people between the ages of 25 and 54 listen to podcasts monthly. You can take advantage of this trend to create a podcast that educates your customers about the latest trends in the market and help them solve their problems too.
4. Don't Hesitate to Take a Stand
The world we live in is continuously bombarded with events or issues that affect the lives of your audience. Today, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic.
The common question from customers is — what are businesses doing to show that they are helping out?
You build on authenticity through credibility. This credibility means standing up for what you believe in.
Additionally, it means your brand should be prepared to take a stand on certain issues, cultural events, or movements in society. By doing this, your brand gets to build human relationships that can lead to customer loyalty.
For this, you should look for an event or issue that has something to do with your product. To do that, you need to understand your target audience.
What are the issues affecting them?
Once you identify the problems, create campaigns that communicate your stand.
5. Humanize Your Brand
How can you humanize your brand?
By being transparent in your content.
Every business has a unique journey. Instead of hiding that journey, share it with your audience.
Furthermore, connect your journey with your mission and vision. Be true to what makes you unique compared to other similar brands in the niche.
Emotional content communicates your passions, beliefs, and emotions to your audience. They’ll be able to relate to your brand better when you humanize it.
Ready to Get Started with Authentic Marketing?
Today's customers don't want to be marketed to. They are tired of the marketing jargon and the sales pitches.
Instead, they want authentic brands; ones that genuinely care about what they’re doing and about their customers.
One of the ways that you can respond to this shift is by identifying what makes you authentic.
Then showcase what you care about, take a stand on issues, educate your audience, and lastly, humanize it to improve its authenticity.
Do you have any questions about authentic marketing or any tips to add? Share your insights and experiences with us in the comments below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.