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I think we have two different definitions of “authenticity,” especially as it relates to marketing…

Marketing Strategy – Ranking GOP Presidential Candidates According to Digital Strategy : MarketingProfs Article: “Donald Trump takeaways: Use social media to be controversial and troll the media—it’s the most cost-effective way to get mainstream media mentions. Obviously, you want to protect your brand with integrity—a line that Trump has crossed a few times—but don’t be afraid to side with unpopular beliefs or call out someone. People are starving for more authenticity.”

From marketing or digital strategy standpoints, there are certainly anecdotal insights businesses and groups can glean from the current crop of GOP candidates for the 2016 election.

This conclusion about Trump’s campaign raises a much needed question about the nature of social media marketing as it relates to authenticity, however. It’s a question I frequently get from clients, especially in the beginning stages of a campaign.

My take is that “authenticity” as a social media tactic involves more than just one way trolling towards something like the media. It means more than being controversial, glib, or quick-to-the-point (especially as a business). Instead, the authenticity that the author says people are starving for has more to do with communicating an experience that is possible.

That is most frequently accomplished by incorporating visual imagery with precise text. So, if you’re looking for authenticity to drive part of your marketing campaign, look to Instagram.

A few examples of product-oriented companies that do a good job of using authenticity on Instagram as part of their marketing are ThisIsGround and Bexar Goods. You can see the types of “lifestyle products” I enjoy viewing and interacting with on Instagram… but I’ve made quite a few purchases from both companies as a result of their marketing there. Or take Newspring Church here in South Carolina… they do a great job with their design, sites, social media campaigns, and Instagram by telling their story and giving glimpses of what it’s like to participate there.

If you’ve been in the public eye for thirty years, have billions in the bank, and once appeared on a network reality show… troll the media in search of authenticity.

If you’re looking to build a successful business or expand your organization or group, then think long and hard about the concept and how you might be able to use social media to showcase glimpses of the experiences that you offer.

About the Author Sam Harrelson

Digital Marketing and Technology Consultant and Podcaster at Thinking.FM

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