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Mastering social media with authenticity

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Did you know that the average person spends about 145 minutes on social media each day? 

In today's fast-paced digital world, the art of maintaining genuine connections relies less on face-to-face chats or telephone manner and more on your reputation and image on the lively world of social media. 

Here, brands are expected not just to exist but to thrive, embodying personalities that are approachable, entertaining, and informative. The question is how can businesses navigate this digital landscape whilst maintaining their authenticity? 

Authenticity on social media means presenting your brand's true personality consistently across all platforms, engaging genuinely with your audience, and staying true to your values, making every interaction meaningful.

Boost Flying Start business adviser, Chris Trickett, suggests taking an authentic approach to your socials and shares his expert advice on how to harness the power of social media to captivate and inspire your customers and turn them into your community.

4.9 billion people across the globe are using social media. On average they spread their time across 7 social media platforms. Winning the battle for their attention requires more than just a presence; it demands a strategy.

Here are some top tips to transform your dull or dying social media account into a force to grow your business and develop your online reputation.

Breathe your brand

Your brand is your story, your personality, and your voice. It’s essential to ensure your brand is compelling and consistent. All your marketing and communications should resonate from the established vision, and values of your brand. If you haven’t identified what these are, then you may struggle to retain a consistent tone and presentation. 

The first step is to identify who you are (what is your brand voice?) and who you want to engage with. Whether it's a witty tweet, an insightful LinkedIn article, or a vibrant Instagram post, your content speaks volumes about your organisation and should always be aligned with your brand, your values, and your audience. For new or early start businesses, knowing your audience is the key to early-stage communication planning.

How to elevate engagement 

Success on social media hinges on more than just crafting excellent content; it's about actively engaging your audience in meaningful ways. Here’s how new and early start businesses can keep engagement practical and impactful:

Prompt your audience to interact with questions

Kickstart conversations by asking your followers about their opinions on industry trends or the content they wish to see. This straightforward yet effective strategy encourages engagement and shows your audience that their voices matter. 

Consider starting with a simple quiz, Q&A session or a poll to spark conversations. 

If a notable statistic related to your industry caught your attention, it's likely to interest others in your network. Similarly, if your sector made the headlines today, or your organisation has some news of their own, then use it as a conversation starter. 

Stay current, authentic, and engaging. Everyone seeks connection online; give them a reason to reach out.

Respond promptly and personally

Make it a priority to reply to comments and messages. A personal touch can transform a simple interaction into a loyal relationship. It's not just about acknowledging their comment but engaging in a way that is genuine and considered.

Encourage user-generated content

Your followers enjoy sharing their stories, photos, or videos. It’s often why they joined the platform in the first place. Invite them to contribute content related to your brand. Reposting user-generated content not only boosts engagement but also strengthens community ties and adds authenticity to your brand. 

Tip: Keep in mind that images of faces resonate incredibly well online, so encourage real people to appear on your feed. This approach will make your brand feel more human and interesting. (See our I use Boost posts for reference!)

Regularly review and refine

What gets measured gets managed. Analytics provide critical insights into your audience's preferences, enabling you to tailor your content more effectively.

Analytics reveal which engagement methods are most effective for you. Focus on metrics such as comments, shares, and time spent on posts to refine your approach. Remember, a strategy is dynamic. You refine it over time. 

If your analytics show that your video content posts generate more leads than still images or your blogs, then adjust your strategy to emphasise that medium. 

Right now, short form video content is the most powerful and effective however, if it’s not a fit for your business, then test different approaches to figure out what is. Your analytics contain the insights you need to make these important decisions.

Tip: Consider asking your customers how they heard about you, to better understand what is most effective in your marketing mix.

Show don’t tell

In a world of short attention spans, visuals are key. Use high-quality images, videos, and infographics to convey your brand's story more effectively.

Visuals not only boost shareability, but they are easier for your audience to remember.

Tip: Explore AI (Artificial Intelligence) image and video generators to enrich your social posts or use free stock image sites like Pexels for your latest updates. For testimonials, consider overlaying text on a branded image using free tools like Canva.

Modern smartphones produce high-resolution images, perfect for instant content creation. Sometimes, a raw, behind-the-scenes look can make your post stand out, even against high-quality content. 

A quick piece to camera on your smartphone to let people know how excited you are to be nominated for a new award or to launch a new product embraces authenticity and shows the face behind your business. This will produce genuine engagement and authentic connection. 

Stay ahead of the curve

The only constant in social media is change. Keep ahead of the latest trends, platform updates, and emerging technologies to ensure your strategy remains relevant. Experiment with new formats and tools such as live videos, stories, or interactive polls.

Staying innovative not only captivates your audience but also positions your brand as a forward-thinking voice of your industry.

The key to mastering social media lies in striking the perfect balance between strategic engagement and authentic storytelling. By understanding your brand, engaging with your audience, and posting authentic content, you can transform your social media presence into a powerful extension of your brand's story. 

Remember, at the heart of social media success is the ability to forge genuine connections. 

As you navigate the ever-evolving world of social media, remember these platforms are more than just promotional tools. They are often the main touchpoint to connect with your community. As a new or early start business entering the digital marketing space, remember; Know your brand style, commit to engagement, develop your creative flair for visual storytelling and keep a keen eye on your analytics.

Most importantly, keep it real. It makes every post count.

About the author

Chris Trickett Boost Flying Start 400

Chris Trickett is a chartered fellow of CMI and a qualified business adviser for Boost’s Flying Start programme. He has extensive experience producing digital communications for the world’s leading brands. 

Chris draws on his extensive experience to advise new and early start businesses on their branding, communications, and digital marketing.

The Boost Flying Start service is for early-stage businesses that have traded for less than three years, and aspiring individuals with a great business idea. It is aimed at leaders who have a bright and growing vision for their new business. This service will focus on building business and financial acumen and the core skills to establish a new business and drive sustainable growth. 

For more tips on managing your digital presence join Boost’s Flying Start masterclass: Understanding Social Media on May 29th – delivered by Boost business adviser Chris Trickett.

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