How does a brand build trust in an online world polluted with misinformation and constant noise? How can advertisers get attention with positive messages that build long-term relationships and lasting brand value? My recent experience at SXSW gave me lots of opportunities to hear how brands are remaining authentic and true in a social media landscape that is facing issues around misuse of personal information and fake news.
The biggest takeaway: If your brand stands for something in social media, it had better do so sincerely and consistently. It takes a very long time for brands to build trust, and one wrong move to lose it completely. Consumers are rapidly learning the difference between fake and real. When consumers search for more information (and they will), let them see that your advocacy is more than hot air. For instance, if you communicate for a brand that stands for helping disadvantaged women, be ready to prove authenticity with concrete examples of the brand doing meaningful things that make a difference.
Authenticity requires more than words. Use social media to give your audience something they can relate to – something real. If you don’t, people will see through the tinted lens you’re offering…and they might even call you out! Not surprisingly, smaller brands are ahead of the curve when it comes to transparent conversations. Great examples of this can be found at patagonia.com/actionworks and benandjerrysfoundation.org.
It also became obvious at SXSW that, when it comes to social media, the only constant is change. New trends, new tools and new voices were everywhere. Today, brands have no choice but to innovate and expand their content on an ongoing basis. Another insight: For effective engagement, video is no longer optional. It’s expected. Your video content doesn’t have to be expensively produced, but with millions of gigabytes of video available online, it has to be smart and well-made. Also, if your content depends on audio, you can amplify your message with a great soundtrack as well. Quality earbuds are universal and can provide a deeply immersive experience for your brand.
Using current tools and techniques to make your messages stand out gives you a huge advantage. But what matters most for brands is having something meaningful and real to say. Get that right and your social media marketing will be 90% of the way to greatness.
Tania Romano | Digital Art Director