Build an Authentic and Genuine Brand by Adding Audience Value
Influencer marketing gained popularity big brands seem virtually incapable of being authentic or real. I wonder when businesses will stop hiding behind their logos and brand images, and speak to their audience as if we’re sitting at the same dinner table.
Before content creators became influencers, they created information that resonated with their readers, viewers, and listeners. They spoke from real experience, tips or techniques they use, and they speak “to” us and not “at” us. We feel like their speaking to us like our friends, no artifice or air of superiority. Content creators became influencers because their content generated a following of people that trusted them.
Big Brands and Content
Whereas corporations couldn’t let go of maintaining a professional brand image and this gets in the way of being genuine. Businesses highlight their products or services, use a “stuffy” way of speaking, and they use their years of experience to build authority. Audiences feel like they’re being sold or pitched to.
But an influencer is natural, genuine, and most of all relatable. They don’t lead with all the experience they have, the equipment isn’t high-end, and their tone is laid-back and personal. We like them because we feel we could be them- anyone could be an influencer with some hard work. Influencer content was not brand or product specific, unless it was an honest product review.
Value drives an authentic voice
Well-known brands have a huge advantage over most influencers when it comes to market awareness and money, but influencers have the credibility and trust. Simple truth is brands will never be perceived as genuine until they can get achieve the same trustworthiness of popular bloggers and YouTubers.
Some companies are finally getting it- forget the corporate image and just give us unbiased value. Frankly it’s about time. Especially since laws are changing requiring influencers to openly stating their content is a paid advertisement. Audiences will find big brands more genuine as they embrace content creation over product beauty shots. But this will require them to put value first and sales second.
Your small business advantage
As a small business you have an advantage of being able to be an influencer and have a strong brand voice. The owner of the company can author blog posts or film YouTube videos, customer service can create content about customer hurdles, and many more.
Or collaborate with Influencers in your industry, engage with your existing community, and grow your local presence. Small business can pivot to the changing landscape of marketing with more ease than a large company which may be more vested is a specific marketing channel.
The only way to produce content that’s valuable authentic and genuine is to put your audience first, care about what your audience cares about, and solve their problems.
The Path to an Authentic Voice
Businesses, regardless of size, want to grow their business and generate sales. But consumers today like to do business with brands they know, like, and trust. Influencers have all three, but so can you.
Take the time to understand your buyers- their wants, needs, desires, and problems. Once you understand them, then you can create valuable content around them. If you don’t know, then ask them via a survey. Produce content, see how popular the content is, and re-do.
See what content your competitors are producing, research additional content your customers like, their social media behavior, and other information that gives you more insight.
Where content lies
Here are some techniques to help fill-up with content ideas:
Do leads or customers ask you questions? Any common threads or themes that appear? Some questions may relate directly to your business, product, or service, and some may be unrelated to your business but still valuable to your customers.
For example, you may own a store for children and sell cribs, strollers, clothes and toys. But your customers may ask you questions about child proofing, how to know if a product is safe, and on and on. The questions relate to what you sell, but are not related to product features.
Just ask them. Create a survey for in-store use, or online with SurveyGizmo or SurveyMonkey. Keep it simple, and ask them pointed questions about their biggest challenges or questions.
Going back to the owner of a kids store, ask questions like “what are your biggest concerns about creating a child friendly home?” or “what are the most important things you consider when buying a child seat”, plus more.
Search various social media channels for comments or questions related to your business. This might take the most time, but you can get a wider sense of what’s important to your customers. Plus, you can engage with them on the spot with answers to their questions, just don’t pitch or sell in your response.
Creating valuable content and building an engaged community of followers takes time, so don’t expect massive results immediately. And be willing to use a variety of channels that your audience uses, blogs, video, social media, and email.