MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Are You Authentic?

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I've been thinking about what it means to be authentic.  This is perhaps one of the most overused words of the past few years, particularly as it relates to our use of social media.  Forbes has written about it, raising valid points about whether companies and individuals are truly authentic, or just using social media as another outlet for building their brand. Entrepreneur.com recently wrote about finding your voice (as did we last year!) and aligning with your brand.  And, Social Media Today has curated at least 750 articles that reference the term authentic.

So, I started looking around for a baseline, against which to measure true authenticity. It turns out I didn't need to look too far. The best example of unlimited exuberance, clear intentions, consistent messaging and bountiful joy is my dog. Yes, you read that right, my dog Whisky (and perhaps your dog too!) expresses his brand (a true mutt) in every action he takes. He loves his soft squeaky toys and throws them in front of me to entice me to play with him. Doesn't this sound a bit like tweeting (or is that squeaking)?  As we walk through our neighborhood, at the dog park or at the beach, he eagerly approaches other dogs and humans - confident in the connection he will make. Sounds a bit like LinkedIn to me (and yes he does remember them the next time he sees them, it just takes a quick sniff).

Whisky does have a Facebook page, but he doesn't update it very often. He doesn't want to post his status unless something meaningful has happened. If he were active on Pinterest, he would pin items related to dog toys, treats and rescue shelters. These are the products of high interest to him and are consistent with his brand. He is happiest when playing with a soft, squeaky toy or snuggling with his family. As a rescue dog himself, he wants all homeless dogs to find families to love them.

Does your social strategy provide your audience with the content and interactivity that they crave and demand? Do your posts reinforce your brand, yet provide a fresh voice? Social interaction is conversational and should not sound like a lecture. It should not simply be a rehash of existing marketing materials, but provide a new perspective. The unbridled enthusiasm of dogs gives us a view of activity to which individuals cannot help but respond. This should be the goal of any social strategy - engagement. If your content is authentic, your audience will engage and help you meet your goals whether they are related to awareness, lead generation, influence, product feedback, event attendance or more.

What's your perspective?