Everyone wants to “do social,” when in reality the secret is to be social. Most everyone today is always accessible, always connected and usually sharing, including our favorite brands. Now, more than ever, people turn to social media as a way to stay connected and up-to-date with their favorites making authenticity, transparency and real-time engagement for brands a must.

We’ve all seen posts online from friends, colleagues or acquaintances telling you about their most recent meal, purchase, or experience. Odds are, you click through to tagged people or organizations to find out more. Within seconds of arriving to the page you make a decision to stay and potentially engage or jump ship altogether – all based on your immediate perception of the page. First impressions are everything, and the need for authenticity is the key to fulfilling the expectation. Authenticity builds credibility—be real, be genuine, and ensure motivations aren’t manipulative.

Relationships depend on trust and communication, making transparency and engagement two key priorities. Everyone is curious to see what’s going on behind the curtain, so why not reveal a little and invite your audience in? People like people, and that’s who sits at the heart of every company. Embrace that, and leverage everyone, from the top of the organization, all the way down. Engage, and be the leader of the conversations taking place about you and your brand. Don’t watch, do! Embrace the real-time, authentic content surrounding your brand that customers contribute. Give them something to talk about!

As discussed in the likes of Entrepreneur and Social Media Today, we are in the age of the customer—the key driver for products and the information behind them, and as always, the ever-important buying decision. In short, remember to treat your customers like insiders, that sharing is caring, and empower your brand advocates, especially employees. Talk with, not at, your customers, and build a dialogue that supports your brand and encourages all to interact. Those are the keys to finding social media success. For more details, check out Sofie De Beule’s article, here.

Kelly Weismiller

Author: Kelly Weismiller
Date: November 4, 2014