Last week we covered how to maximize your brand, but what is your brand? How do you maintain your truth and keep yourself in the space of authentic marketing? If we buy into the idea that your business is you and marketing is your story (which I do, by the way), then how do we keep it authentic, interesting, and consumable? More and more, we find that selling a product or service, in and of itself, is not enough. You need to engage your audience, you need to make them want to be a part of what you’re doing and if you’re disingenuous, they’ll feel it. We all will. Consider the last time you saw a commercial and your knee jerk reaction was “ew, that’s yucky”… chances are, the entity making the pitch wasn’t being authentic. We need to believe in what we’re doing in order to sell it, effectively.
Guy Kawasaki is terrific at this. When he recommends something, we believe that he loves it. And I believe that’s because he truly does love what he’s recommending. I trust him. That’s what we need to create… Trust. I don’t recommend anything that I don’t love. I believe that comes through in my pitch. I’ll recommend something that I love, even if there’s nothing in it for me. (although there’s always something in it for me, even if the something is nothing but building trust within my tribe).
Wayne Dyer was masterful at this. I believed everything he said to me. His authenticity was so strong that I would never give a second thought to his motives.
Now, here’s the caveat. It’s in our societal culture to think that someone can’t be authentic if they stand to profit. That’s just not true, though. Build trust in your community, and people know that when you recommend something it’s because you really believe in it, whether or not you profit. Taking the time to build that trust is key. Profitability is not sustainable, in the long term, if you don’t build the trust, and then honor that trust with your tribe.
So How Do We Create Authentic Marketing?
- Tell Your Story – Why are you in business, doing what you’re doing? Chances are, if you’re reading my website, if you’re involved with my work, you’re a spirit centered entrepreneur. And knowing that, I have to assume that you’re in business to make a difference in the world. You have a mission and you’re committed to fulfilling it. So what’s the story? I know you have one. Tell it.
- Embrace the Phoenix Phenomenon – When you tell that story, tell it from the perspective of the phoenix. My story is of the survivor. I come from hard scrabble, abusive circumstances. I was engaged in a marriage that, quite frankly, sucked, for 23 years. I raised two children to adulthood, homeschooled them, created a homelife that I had no blueprint for, and then I struck out on my own. I rose from the ashes of my situation and in doing so, I give hope to those that come after me. I could not have done it without the women who came before me and I give hope to those that come after.
- Involve Your Community – Whether it’s a local fundraiser, or a social media campaign, encourage your customers and prospects to get involved in charitable endeavors. Lead the way by getting involved yourself, and using your influence to get others involved. Remember: Authenticity speaks volumes. If you’re not engaged, that will be obvious. Pick a cause that you really care about.
- Choose a foe – The big bad corporation? Outdated perceptions? Racism? Homophobia? Who are you, as a business, battling? For me, it’s misogyny against women in tech. But I will stand up for injustice, anywhere. It’s something I’m passionate about and I donate my time (web development, social media, music) for all causes that I feel strongly about.
- Don’t say you’re authentic. Be Authentic. Creating an authentic brand, social media campaign, etc. will require you to show up for the campaign. Be prepared to create the campaign that you’re talking about and stand behind it.
- Let’s talk about #hashtags –
A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash character (or pound sign)
#in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end. Searching for that hashtag will then present each message that has been tagged with it. A hashtag archive is consequently collected into a single stream under the same hashtag.
Facebook, it seems is penalizing posts that have hashtags.
Create a clever and useful hashtag, or research hashtags currently in use. A clever hashtag can make a post go viral.
- Use Social Media – so people will tell you all the time that you shouldn’t be political on your social media platforms. I have to say that most of the time, they’re right. I used to stay as far away from politics as possible. But then I had an epiphany. If my politics offended someone so much that they didn’t want hire me, then we were not going to work well together, at all. That’s not to say that we can’t have differing views, but if coming across my views would offend them so drastically, then they were not my target demographic. And that’s ok.
- Share your triumphs – share your failures! As much as people who follow you love to hear about your success, they also learn from your mistakes, as much as you do. Share your lessons – share your experience, strength, and hope, surrounding the experiences that aren’t exactly triumphant.
- Lift one another up – This is so simple, but we tend to forget it. If we all share each other’s triumphs, if we all create a community of sharing, we can only move forward together.
- Truth Will Out – This one is so important. If you’re pretending to send love vibes all over the planet, but in reality, you’re being a horror, you will be found out. Make no mistake, the truth WILL out. Everything else does not matter. Authentic marketing requires authenticity. The end.
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