Social Media Authenticity

Social media is an interesting tool for businesses. We want to be authentic and genuine and form a real connection with customers, but many companies don’t quite seem to get it. Executives often want their social media channels to be cool and hip, but still bring in sales and new leads.

In their attempts to try and blend in to the “cool kids”, companies can end up going too far and revealing just how out of touch they are to their target audience.

Cool popular kidsHow companies think they look on social media (Image Source)

Steve Buscemi Kids Cool ActingHow they actually look (Image Source)

That’s the paradox of social media for businesses. Marketers are under a lot of pressure to show tangible return on investment from social media, so they want to push sales and products to their followers. Unfortunately, the more promotional content gets published, the less authentic the brand will become and people start getting turned off.

While some hardcore fans might love the deals that come up, the majority of them will get turned off. They don’t want to see a sale; they want to see authenticity.

The 80/20 rule has never been more applicable here. Only 20% of your tweets should be about your brand. The other 80% should be focused on providing content that actually interests your audience. This is a solid rule of thumb touted by marketing experts across the world, and is something you should definitely keep in mind.

What does this actually look like?

Image Source – Sonic Wikia

Sonic the Hedgehog, a once famous video game character by Sega, had fallen on hard times through terrible game after terrible game. However, the absolutely stellar performance of the Sonic social media team is singlehandedly improving the mascot’s brand image. Instead of keeping it professional, the Sonic twitter account isn’t afraid to talk like their fans, create content that their fans will enjoy, and be generally as un-corporate as possible.

Here’s a few examples of what they’ve done right…

Connecting (and sending gifts to) brand influencers and content creators.

Sonic Game Grumps Gift Arin Hanson Dan Avidan

Giving credit and recognition to fan artists.

Sonic Fanart

Even when they promote their own sales, they do it in a way that resonates with their target audience.

Sonic Black Friday Sales

Just being generally goofy.


The fans absolutely love it. Even if it seems childish compared to other companies, it’s a perfect fit with their target audience. The Sonic twitter account has become famous in video game circles as a corporate social media account that just gets it.

See more of Sonic’s tweets here.