It can be hard to define brand authenticity as it is more of a feeling than a product or service. When a consumer trusts a brand and repeatedly chooses it over others, this is the result of brand authenticity and something all companies strive for. This article will outline the ways to understand your audience to create brand authenticity and a meaningful connection on social media.
When brands are authentic especially through social media a personal connection/loyal follower can be formed. In fact, 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when choosing the brands they like and support. Obviously, this is not something that happens overnight, it involves truly understanding your customers’ values and delivering on them over time.
51% of consumers define feeling connected to a brand when the brand understands them and their wants—that is, demonstrating empathy. To fully understand your audience and demonstrate empathy means utilising audience data, content performance and social listening.
Audience data can come in many forms, 1st party data (CRM, website visits or purchase history), transactional 3rd party data (credit card purchases or loyalty card history) or self-reported data from consumers such as surveys.
You can use 1 or 2 of these data sources but to get the most effective and well-rounded audience profile all 3 sources should be used.
The next step to fully understanding your audience is to review all current and past social media content. What type of content have you posted? What has worked well in terms of engagement? What hasn’t worked well? And what is the overall sentiment of your brand?
This is where Zavy comes in as we can accurately measure the net sentiment of your brand at an individual post or overall brand level. Zavy allows you to see how your social media posts are performing over time to diagnose what resonates with your audience. Not only can you see your own net sentiment and performance but also that of your competitors. Giving you a competitive advantage and strategic focus for the future of your social media campaigns.
Another important step is to conduct a social listening analysis which involves monitoring your brand’s social media channels and wider digital activity for any customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand.
Now this is a massive task to do if you don’t have the right tools. Zavy has scraped hundreds of thousands of websites and social media pages to help brands understand what is being said about them. We have a “Conversation” tab in our dashboard which gives a total sentiment of the brand, mentions in media articles and a trend of activity. Another advantage of this is brands can check performance over time, with the ability to filter between pre-set date ranges.
There are many top line marketing benefits for a brand that clearly understand their audience, these include;
- Tailoring offerings and marketing messages to suit specific customers
- Improve the customer experience by making them feel valued and understood
- A potential for more effective and efficient advertising which will drive higher response rates and ultimately sales
However, more importantly authentic brands thrive because they rise above the noise and clutter produced by social media and generic digital marketing. A genuine message makes stronger connections with people and it differentiates your brand. If your company is “real” you are easier to trust and that can generate long term brand loyalty.
Just look at Apple, Chanel or Nike, they all fully understand their audience’s needs, wants and values allowing for the consumer to feel valued and closely connected with the brand.
Top brands like these have used their audience insights to create better content. Nike has recognised that social issues are very important to their audience and are taking the lead in flighting these issues, such as gender and racial equality. By standing up for the values of others and being authentic in their approach it has not only created a higher response rates and hence sales but also lifelong customers and brand advocates.
Not only do Nike create campaigns around social issues, their content on Instagram is purely sports men and women from all walks of life telling their story of how they found sport. Little to no content is branded and it focuses on the connection these people have to sport and by and large Nike.
The nature of social media has allowed brands to get closer to their customers more than ever before and brands that do it well can open a genuine two-way dialogue. This allows for brands to better meet the desires and values of their customers. If brands are not authentic to their customers, it can create distrust and anger. For example, if you are a brand that vocalises the importance of positive body image but then has size 0 models in a campaign it is easy to see how they will be confused and distrusting.
Social media is all about connections, people join to connect with friends and family, get inspired, keep informed and more. Brands are now a part of this connection but only if they are relatable and “real” which brands can only achieve if they understand their audience.
- Must truly understand your audience to be authentic
- 3 steps to understand your audience - audience data, content performance & social listening
- If your brand is authentic you will rise above the noise of generic social media and digital campaigns, create stronger connections and differentiate your brand.
Sometimes, social media marketing can feel like shouting into the wind – you put in a huge amount of energy but you don’t know whether anyone is getting the message.
We used the Zavy score to identify the top three posts of 2021 from the brands in our Top 25 Australian Scoreboard. Here is what we learned.