How to Attract the Right Audience and Influencers with an Authentic Brand Persona
What do you do after building an active and engaged audience online?
Your business needs to move past the marketing campaign level and enter into a human-centered approach by creating an authentic brand image with your audience.
Once you have an interested community the key to lasting success is loyalty — in order to establish this you will want to be both reliable and transparent. This means that your leads and customers want to turn to you as their main source and recommend your business to others. As you reach out to them and put their needs and desires above your company promotions you can establish authenticity that is long lasting.
According to a report by McKinsey Research 87 percent of consumers shop around with only 13 percent staying loyal to brands. This makes it more important than ever to connect with potential buyers on their level in order to retain them as customers.
In order to become a strong influence in your target market you need to have several things in place:
- Fans and followers on social media who are truly interested in your brand
- Endorsements from other customers or influencers — this does not mean you need a celebrity to do a shout out for you
- A product or service that stands out from the rest and is highly recommended
While connecting with high level people can help your brand to a certain extent — it’s really the actual consumers and reviews that people will look up to the most. For example, a celebrity can bring in the entertainment factor such as the commercial ads for Progressive Insurance, but it’s the actual results and experiences that carry weight.
This is especially true on social media as customer service is being handled more and more on Facebook Pages, Twitter, and even on Instagram. If you’re not responding to your community on a regular basis they will quickly voice their opinion and move on. Not enough brands are engaging with their customers, as reported by Marsha Collier on Twitter via Digiday:
Just publishing great content and automating your social media marketing is not enough to build influence online. As you connect with the right leaders in your industry who can recommend your brand you are able to get to the very core of your audience and reach them through trust and communication.
AdEspresso by Hootsuite conducted their own experiment on Instagram with negative results from purchased followers:
It’s clear that by attracting real followers who are truly interested in a product or service your brand will be able to increase your sales and create advocates for your brand. When people share their actual experiences with their friends, family, and co-workers the payoff can be great. Paying someone to increase your numbers or to endorse you can actually hurt your reputation and bottom line.
So how do you establish an authentic brand online? Here are several ways to have true influence in your community:
Get past the ad blockers
Consumers are increasingly savvy against ads, fake news and bots. In fact, they are using software to get rid of these intrusions on their computers and mobile devices. The only way to reach them today is through actual referrals from other buyers and influencers. If your brand is appearing like a constant advertisement then you will quickly turn people away.
It takes time to craft original, helpful content and provide value for your community. Give them a reason to read your articles and share your products or services on social media.
Check your connections
Are the people in your social networks and email lists quality followers? Evaluate the relationships that you have online and choose to associate with influencers who can truly recommend your brand. If they have a large number of authentic followers themselves people will perceive your connection with them as trusted.
One single recommendation can help spread the word about your business far more than what advertising can do. Make sure that the brands or individuals who are vouching for you actually represent the niche that your company is in. If a chef is spreading the word on a new sports product the message will fall flat and be out of sync with your audience.
Choose your social media channels carefully
Not all social networks are going to work well for your brand. Where is your target marketing active in the most? In many cases most people are turning to their mobile devices to gather information and make a purchase. Depending on what you have to offer Instagram may play a big role in attracting customers.
Take the time to do your research first before mapping out a marketing game plan and know which networks are being most widely used:
Use campaigns to build awareness
Once you have decided which platforms to focus on the most it’s time to create a buzz about your new product or service. This can be done with the help of both smaller and larger influencers who can share your content as well as through existing customers. It’s important to use your own branded voice and allow others to express their own unique voice as well. If you created a canned post or tweet your message will have little weight with consumers.
In places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram be sure to tag or include actual individuals and encourage your followers to tag their own connections as well. Include a branded hashtag with your posts and tweets that your community can easily recognize and share.
Authenticity is the backbone of today’s online marketer whether you are a business, author, or individual. Creating lasting relationships is the key to success along with producing content, services, and products that are a true benefit to your customers. As you offer high value with a genuine interest you can establish your brand as a go-to resource for years to come.