Image Source: Unsplash
Building your brand on social media is an essential step for marketing your business. However, it’s important to do so with care. While it’s great to have fun with your brand personality and show off your brand in a positive light, it’s easy to represent your business in a false light when trying to make your business look good. If you build a reputation for false perceptions, you can lose a lot of customers fast — and eventually, your business may eventually fail, too.
Being scrupulous while developing your brand is key to a long-lasting business. Let’s explore what it takes to build a genuine social media presence that helps you grow while steering clear of reputational (and legal) issues.
Present Your Products Realistically
We’ve all seen products that look 10 times better in social media ads than in real life. Fast food burgers show up on-screen with perfectly shaped, glossy buns, while real estate agents and influencers may curate picturesque images of their neighborhoods and use wide angles to portray grandiose properties.
When consumers see the real-life versions of unrealistically portrayed products, they’ll wind up disappointed — and if they share their experience online, your reputation will take a hit. Misleading statements can also make you liable in the event of a false advertising lawsuit.
Rather than painting a picture of something that’s too good to be true, share images and videos of your products that are realistic and undistorted. You can even focus on providing value on social media, instead of relying on flashy images, to build consumer interest and trust all at once. For instance, real estate agents can educate buyers about market trends and simply use realistic images to compliment their helpful content.
Develop a Brand Communication Style (and Commit)
One way to ensure your social media presence remains accurate to your business is by developing a brand-specific communication style. Create guidelines around what you’ll share with your audience and how you’ll express your brand. These guidelines may include your:
- Brand message: The value that your company promises to deliver to its customers, which can be expressed through your social media strategy.
- Brand personality: The human characteristics that your brand displays through its voice.
- Brand values: What your company believes in. This can be as simple as “generosity” or “inclusion.”
- Core topics: The primary topics your company posts about on social media.
Make sure all your guidelines are specific and true to the reality of your business. Then, commit to following them whenever you craft your social media posts. When you’re no longer following social media trends simply to go viral or follow what your competitors are doing, your social media presence will feel like a real representation of your customer experience.
Learn About Your Reputation on Social Media and Review Sites
Odds are, you love your own brand. However, not all of your customers are looking through the same rose-colored glasses as you. To know whether or not your social media presence is actually realistic, it’s important to understand how people actually feel about your company and your products.
Listening to your audience on social media and review sites can help. Pay attention to what people are saying about your company, whether they’re commenting on your posts, mentioning your brand or its leaders, or tagging your page. What do customers love (or dislike) about your company?
Make sure to not oversell yourself in the areas that people perceive you to be the weakest in. Doing so may change perceptions about your company online, but you can’t fool customers who actually purchase from your brand.
Adjust Perceptions Before Your Social Presence
While it can be tempting to use social media to make your weaknesses look better, it’s important to take a realistic approach. Before changing how you portray your company on social networks, make improvements to your products or customer experience first. Turn customer criticisms into action items and proactively work to elevate your company.
As customer perceptions improve, you can start to claim additional company or product benefits without running into false advertising issues or disappointing customers.
Match Your Social Presence to Your Business Reality
When your social media messaging differs from the reality of your products or customer experience, your reputation can slowly crumble. Consumers regularly discuss their experiences online, so if they’re constantly disappointed, you won’t have a sustainable business. In fact, you can even get in trouble for false advertising in serious cases.
What you advertise online should always match the actual experience that customers can expect to get. Stick to simple touch-ups when you’re editing your photos and videos, and stick to a brand communication style that stays true to your company. Additionally, use social media platforms and review sites as tools to understand your reputation and what needs to improve first.
Author: Adrian Johansen
Adrian Johansen is a writer and marketer in the Pacific Northwest. She sees life as an opportunity for learning, and loves to share knowledge with others. You can find more of her work here.