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5 tips to amplify your brand’s trust and authenticity on social media

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Public Relations

Did you know that 68 percent of consumers follow brands on social media? Imagine all those people scrolling through their feeds, looking for brands they can trust and connect with. But if your brand is already out there and hasn’t built that trust and authenticity yet, you’re missing out on many opportunities. 

Think about it: in a sea of endless posts and ads, what will make your brand stand out? It’s trust and authenticity! These are the magic ingredients that could potentially turn casual followers into loyal customers. Without them, your brand is just another name lost in the crowded digital space.

And Janita Pannu, the founder of OPIIA, understands this as well as anyone. As an expert in digital marketing, she has witnessed firsthand while running her agency how brands can transform on social media when they focus on trust and authenticity. She knows that these qualities aren’t things you can just buy—they have to be earned. Janita understands that true connection goes beyond flashy ads and superficial interactions. It’s about telling real stories, sharing genuine experiences, and consistently showing your audience that you value and understand them.

To put this into perspective, it’s helpful to look back at how social media has evolved. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to the early 2010s, a time when social media wasn’t a marketing tool but more like a digital scrapbook of life’s moments.

What was social media like back in the day?

Back then, social media felt like a lively virtual hangout where ideas flourished and genuine connections were made. People shared snippets of their lives without fear of judgment, connecting with like-minded folks and showcasing talents that might have stayed hidden. The atmosphere was more authentic and personal, and that’s exactly why these platforms skyrocketed in popularity.

Take Tumblr, for example. This platform was a haven where users could freely showcase their artistic talents, celebrating everything from fandoms and memes to niche subcultures. It was a vibrant, creative community where imagination thrived.

Meanwhile, over on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, the scene was different. People were sharing snapshots of their lives, capturing the little moments, the big adventures, and everything in between. It wasn’t about building a brand or curating a perfect image; it was about sharing life as it happened, one photo or video at a time. 

Before Twitter became the go-to platform for breaking news and hot takes, it was like a mini online diary where every thought was best expressed in a few characters. Parody accounts were everywhere, adding playful chaos to the mix, but it was easy to spot the official ones because they had those bold, blue checkmarks on their profiles.

Getting that blue checkmark was a big deal. At that time, only the most famous and notable personalities or public figures could be verified. Having one was a clear indicator of a page’s authenticity and was considered a symbol of trust.

Fast-forward to now, and while the platforms have evolved, the core principle remains the same: trust and authenticity are still essential today. However, the way people interact with these platforms has changed, with more emphasis on polished content and strategic branding/marketing. This shift highlights the importance of keeping these qualities alive in the digital age.

The Twitter Blue fiasco

Take, for example, the Twitter Blue fiasco. It began in October 2022, when Elon Musk made headlines by acquiring Twitter. With his takeover came a wave of changes, including the introduction of paid verification just two weeks after he took control.

For $8 a month, users could get verified without the usual proof of identity requirements. But things quickly took a turn for the worse. Verified parody accounts started popping up everywhere, causing chaos on the platform. This sudden influx of fake verified accounts freaked out a lot of ad agencies and brands, leading them to stop advertising on the platform. Even though they temporarily suspended sign-ups just two days after the relaunch, the damage had already been done. The very foundation of Twitter’s credibility was shaken, all thanks to Twitter Blue.

One year after Musk acquired Twitter, the platform’s monthly user count has dropped by 15%, and ad revenue has plummeted by 54%. The Twitter Blue fiasco is a cautionary tale about the downsides of making big changes without really thinking them through and planning strategically – or letting the almighty dollar steer your strategy without thought. When those changes affect the core of what makes a social media platform work, the risks are even greater. The chaos that followed the introduction of paid verification showed just how fragile trust and credibility are in the digital age. It also highlighted the importance of thoughtful implementation and the potential fallout from neglecting the foundational elements of user trust and platform integrity.

Tips on how to achieve trust and authenticity in social media

Building trust and maintaining an authentic social media presence isn’t easy. Imagine a space where users often share carefully curated highlights to seek validation. In such an environment, authenticity can feel like a rare gem. The idea of paid verification—widely criticized for good reasons—goes against the very principles that made social media verification meaningful in the first place. Sure, you can buy the blue checkmark and flaunt it like your favorite model or actress, but true credibility and authenticity? Those can’t be purchased. They must be earned! Recognizing this challenge, here are some tips to help your brand establish a more genuine and trustworthy presence:

  • Craft compelling stories: To connect with your audience, make your storytelling relatable and engaging. Share stories that reflect your brand’s journey, values, and mission. Let people in on real-life customer experiences and success stories. Show behind-the-scenes moments that reveal the heart and soul of your operations. Introduce your team, giving your brand a human face that people can relate to and trust. Visuals and videos are your best friends here. Use them to bring your stories to life, adding layers of authenticity with genuine voices and heartfelt messages.
  • Stay relevant: Make sure your content is relevant and timely to cater to your audience’s current interests and needs. Stay updated on industry news, popular culture, and seasonal events that matter to your audience. By continuously adapting your content to reflect what’s happening in your local community or country, you show that your brand is in tune with its audience and responsive to their evolving interests.
  • Engage with your audience: Actively listen to your audience and engage with them on social media platforms. Engaging with your followers shows that you value their input and are committed to building a community around your brand. You can do this by hosting live Q&A sessions, running polls, and encouraging user-generated content to make your audience feel involved and heard.
  • Take accountability: Be proactive in addressing any issues or mistakes that arise. Demonstrating accountability and a commitment to improvement shows integrity and builds trust with your audience. When something goes wrong, own up to it, apologize sincerely, and outline the steps you’re taking to make things right. This approach not only mitigates negative impacts but also reinforces your brand’s reliability, humility, and dedication to excellence. 
  • Partner with a reputable agency: Achieving credibility and authenticity on social media can be challenging, but partnering with a reputable agency like OPIIA or similar social media agencies can provide your brand invaluable support. The firm offers expertise in digital marketing strategies and can help transform your brand’s presence on social media, ensuring that your message resonates authentically with your audience. With their assistance, you can navigate the complexities of social media marketing and establish a solid and trustworthy online presence for your brand. 

When everyone is bombarded with ads and influencer promotions, people crave real connections and honest content. They want to engage with brands and individuals who are genuine, not just putting on a show. Authenticity builds trust, and trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, including those between brands and their audiences.

Janita Pannu
As a multidisciplinary entrepreneur, Janita Pannu is deeply passionate about providing businesses with the strategic marketing solutions they need to build meaningful brands and drive bottom-line results.

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