Transparency and authenticity now matter more than ever in the realm of digital marketing services. Being genuine and sincere is key to a successful digital marketing campaign.
After the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica fiasco, many users cut ties and rested on their Instagram or other social media platform presence. It’s no secret: Facebook’s authority over the social media world wanes.
Facebook made major alterations to its news feed algorithm in early 2018–perhaps already seeing how their paid ad revenue system was coming back to haunt them. No matter the case, if you’re a digital marketer, reaching your target audience is more difficult than ever.
How can you tackle these new challenges?
Your new content marketing strategy should boil down to one single word: authenticity.
1. Influencer Marketing Requires Authenticity
According to a LINQIA survey, 81% of marketers use the power of influencers.
Because influencers can operate as consumers and brand ambassadors, they have a higher inherent authenticity than a company.
This explains why beauty YouTubers and Instagram influencers can convert so many viewers into buyers. You can leverage an influencer’s current audience for your own product. Of course, the more related to their audience the product, the better the ROI.
Not everyone can afford the S-tier influencers like Kim Kardashian West. But, you can make use of micro-influencers.
These people have smaller audiences but, when used properly, they can produce competitive ROI.
Approach micro influencers like you would a normal customer: with authenticity and personalized content curation. After all, if you want this person to sell your product, they have to believe in it.
Using canned, standard advertiser content won’t do you any favors when it comes to wooing influencers anymore. You’ll need to refresh your content marketing strategy in order to cultivate these relationships.
Authenticity is the #1 way to make these seeds bear digital marketing services fruit.
It can also help instigate user-generated content. Then, you get into a feedback loop of influencer and user-generated brand content.
This feeds authenticity because your brand did not create it. The fans created it.
You can spur this kind of engagement by supporting your advertiser content with action.
2. Actions Always Speak Louder to Users Than Digital Marketing Services
This is an old (albeit modernized) adage, but it still rings true today — even for digital marketing services.
Content curation and content marketing strategy can only take you so far. After all, part of authenticity means backing up what you say with action, right?
For Uber’s competitor Lyft, this action worked out in their favor.
In 2017, after one of President Trump’s many immigration orders, Lyft made a definitive statement as pictured above. They also donated $1-million USD to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
At the time, Uber’s CEO was also on President Trump’s Economic Advisory Council until about one month after Lyft’s public statement. But the combined effects of Lyft’s action in tandem with its ad campaigns (and Uber’s bad publicity) helped Lyft.
Now, as of March 2018, Lyft is growing faster than Uber, passing $1-billion USD revenue.
Words attract audiences, but words supported by action makes them stick around.
3. Authenticity Helps Overcome Market Saturation
84% of millennials reported that they did not like nor trust traditional marketing.
Instead of hearing commercials on the radio or on the tv, we get them sent straight to our emails. We see banner ads on websites, social media or other platforms. Although we often forget it, so much of the millennial day-to-day life involves advertisements.
Along with over saturation of ads on the market, millennials also hit personal saturation.
Speaking as your typical millennial, I don’t even notice banner ads anymore. Email subject lines trying to tempt me with sales make little impact.
What does get my attention, however, is self-aware marketing strategies.
Content curation and advertiser content need to pass the authenticity test. In doing that, you can make the most of your digital marketing services.
You won’t be just another generic headline like “It’s Party Time: 30% off Party Products”. Instead, follow the example of brands like ColourPop. We profiled them in our B2C influencer trends article earlier this year.
“Can we brighten up your Monday?” is a direct question with personal overtones. But this approach doesn’t just extend to email marketing.
Authenticity should feature in all of your content marketing strategy for brand cohesion. With a consistent content schedule and brand cohesiveness, you can develop a reputation.
That’s one more thing authenticity can improve: reputation and brand loyalty.
4. Authenticity Builds Reputation and Brand Loyalty
Even just twenty years ago, consumers bought into “legacy shopping” — an offshoot of brand loyalty.
Think about when you were a kid: did your parents always go to the same grocery store?
Did they automatically think “Best Buy” when they needed electronics? Maybe your parents preferred Ford cars over Chevrolet cars because their parents had that preference.
This is what “legacy shopping” is all about. But millennials, killers of many industries, eschew this trend regarding advertiser content.
Some attribute this to millennials being “generation generic” while others say it has to do with information. Today, people shop with online reviews, news articles, and YouTube unboxings to help them make their decisions; resources previous generations could never have dreamed of.
This is where authenticity plays an integral part in digital marketing services. Content curation and authenticity both help build a reputation for your audience. Just think of the recent Arby’s Twitter ads:
The fastest way to get ready for her birthday dinner pic.twitter.com/Cho4ZcmpMG
— Arby's (@Arbys) April 17, 2018
That’s right: Arby’s just made a Sailor Moon reference. But, without all of the other pop culture references to support it, this ad would feel inauthentic.
On the flip side of that coin, you have companies like Amazon and Facebook. Some of their initiatives like the Amazon Spheres are forward thinking. But many of their moves come off as self-serving, especially when it comes to data manipulation and management.
But you can gain brand loyalty by listening to your audience and adjusting. The first step, like with a bad habit or addiction, is admitting you have a problem. Then, you address it and move forward, showing thanks for your audience.