This month, I saw articles in three major magazines on the search for authenticity in social media.
In Vanity Fair, Josh Duboff wrote an article about how social media is “essential to modern fame” and gives a thorough account of how celebrities are using social media to expertly market their product: themselves.
In fact, Duboff states, “Casting decisions are sometimes made based on which actor has the largest social-media following.”
What? You mean actors aren’t hired on the basis of their acting skills?
Apparently, not always.
So if celebrities are landing deals based solely on their social media followers, can’t you do the same?
Here, some lessons straight from the experts:
1. Be authentic
In the Vanity Fair article, Duboff was consistently struck by one word.
Every single celebrity and public face spoke about the quest for authenticity on their social media accounts.
Duboff credits Rihanna to be one of the first celebrities to make this social media authentic shift. Around 2012 she took over the management of her own accounts and started to post content that actually sounded like her. It was this shift that accounts for her social media success. Once Rihanna showed her authentic self, her numbers went through the roof.
Your green organization can do this too.
So often environmental organizations all sound alike. Instead, display your authenticity prominently. Flaunt what makes you special.
2. Avoid oversharing
This has to be mentioned in conjunction with authenticity. In the quest for ultimate transparency, it’s all too easy to overshare.
As always, the key is in the balance.
Some level of true transparency is necessary to reach an authentic social media voice. People really do want to know the “real” you.
And in fact, today’s supporters, clients, customers and donors expect it of you.
So tell them about your boring staff meetings or a mistake you made, but just don’t give away the company secrets while doing it.
3. Be imperfect
In this month’s Writer’s Digest, author Barbara O’Neal encourages writers to form that intimate bond with their online fans, even if it “can feel like jumping naked into a hot tub with a bunch of strangers.”
O’Neal goes on to remind us that “A sense of intimacy requires a certain amount of imperfection.”
This is as true on social media as it is in real life.
No one likes that person who has it all together. Don’t we all relate a little better to someone with some flaws like ours?
Like the oversharing example, the key here is also in the balance.
Be imperfect, but don’t be a screw up. We also don’t really like that person.
4. Be consistent
Supporters won’t like it when you flip flop on an issue.
Do your research, hold a staff meeting on your official position, and stick to it.
5. Engage your audience
Fans don’t like it when celebrities incessantly plug themselves, and they won’t appreciate it if you do either.
Social media is not only a place to talk about how awesome you are, but to engage in conversation.
Asking your supporters a question opens the door to real dialogue, making it feel like that intimacy you’re curating isn’t just one-sided.
As a bonus for you, it’s a great way to understand your donors or clients better.
6. If you don’t have something interesting to say, be quiet
In the Vanity Fair article, Duboff quotes Oliver Luckett on the intricacies of celebrities taking over their own social media accounts.
So often I find environmental organizations and green businesses say the same thing so often it becomes stale.
Luckett’s advice rings true for you too.
If you’re a celebrity on social media, you better have something interesting and connective to say to people. If not, work with a professional and make something up, you know?
A green cause really shouldn’t have to make something up. But, you might have to work a little to find something interesting and connective and relevant to your organization.
And when you don’t? Then please, don’t post simply for the sake of posting.
7. Curate good content
As Duboff points out, while we all want to believe that these accounts are entirely spur of the moment responses, that celebrities post pictures of themselves scarfing on a burger because that’s what they actually had for lunch, we really should know better.
Even the celebrities who manage their own accounts are continuously marketing their product (ehem… themselves) and likely have a team of people who are helping them curate the appropriate content for the appropriate time.
Do this too. Plan your content ahead of time, ask your team for help and always double check with someone before you hit Post.