Building Brand Authenticity on Twitter

Building brand authenticity on Twitter - #TwitterSmarter chat with Janet Machuka - December 10, 2020

You’ve probably heard hundreds of times that it’s critical to be authentic and yourself on social media. And yet, there are also so many people who struggle to rip off the mask they’d put on for social media and masquerade as someone they can only wish to be. So how do you go about developing brand authenticity? We invited digital marketing trainer and #TwitterSmarter chat regular, Janet Machuka to share her insights. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Janet Machuka
Topic: Building Brand Authenticity on Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What makes a brand authentic?

Reliability and transparency are fundamental qualities of an authentic brand. When you prioritize those two characteristics in your communications and operations, you become the go-to brand for your audience.

That’s why Twitter is a great channel for customer service. It lets you communicate your policies and activities to your customers in a clear and transparent manner. As Janet mentioned, even if you’re going through a crisis, Twitter is an ideal channel to showcase your authenticity and convey the right message to your audience at all times.

As Seannon also pointed out, consistently posting original content, offering value in every piece of content you share, and boldly projecting your unique voice is all important to develop authenticity.

Q2: Why should you be authentic as a brand?

Apart from increasing your sales, there are so many other reasons.

When you’re authentic, you develop an engaged community, which in turn widens your network. The more people you have on your side who support and believe in you, the better it is for your brand and sustained business.

What’s more, authenticity is also a great way to build brand authority. When you consistently share content about your niche topic, you’ll get better at talking about your industry and conveying your message. You’ll become an influencer within the industry—and you can avoid unnecessary hate speech against you. To reach that point, though, you have to fearlessly project who you are.

AD put it succinctly: Authenticity is the only quality that’s sustainable.

Q3: Can you measure your brand’s authenticity?

You can measure your brand authenticity in a couple of ways: reflection and analysis.

When you’re reflecting, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you established credibility by being honest and transparent with your audience?
  • Have you continuously maintained your social media activity despite changing trends and demands?
  • Have you made an impact in your audience so they can relate to you?

Once you’ve reflected on how authentic you are, look for stats that can prove that. Check your social media analytics like impressions, likes, retweets, and comments, and also your website visits, referral clicks, and sales.

Look at your network—your follow count, people who’ve added you in lists, people who’ve subscribed to your lists, mentions, and conversations. If all of these stats are growing, even if at a small rate, then you’re on the right track.

Another great way to measure your authenticity, as Rachel from Express Writers pointed out, is to survey your audience directly. Ask them how they perceive you. If you get constructive and honest feedback, you’ll then know that your audience cares enough to give you feedback in the first place. It means they want to see you succeed. Heed them.

Q4: What are some ways to be transparent with your audience on Twitter?

Firstly, own up when you make a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, but when you are upfront and apologize for what went wrong on your part, it’ll help you stand out from the rest.

Remember the social media best practices: be consistent, acknowledge every tweet that mentions you—with or without the tag, and always give credit where it’s due. You can also make your brand more personal by sharing behind-the-scenes content, such as snippets, images, and videos about how your business is going, the people involved, and your processes. All of that makes your audience connect with you more easily, and shows that you’re open and transparent about what you do.

Our friends from Interpose shared some more excellent ways to be transparent with your audience. Live up to your promises. Inform your audience about what you do with their information and the measures you take to protect it. Be clear in your communication and use simple everyday language—educate, instead of broadcasting.

Q5: Why is it important to write your own content?

When you write your own content, it comes from the heart. It’s a reflection of your business and it directly addresses your audience. No one knows your business and your target audience better than you do—that’s why it’s essential that you speak to them in your own voice.

Not everyone writes great content from the beginning. However, everyone can and needs to write. Instead of re-sharing others’ content all the time, learn to express your ideas in your own way. When you do that, you’ll discover that no one else can communicate as uniquely as you do.

As Lance reminded us, some brands aren’t one-person businesses. They need others to write their content. In that case, make sure you hire people who speak your voice. Offer training and seek out only those who align with your philosophies, because when your audience reads your content, it has to sound the same. That’s how you ensure continuity and develop your credibility. Don’t compromise your voice.

Q6: How does content personalization boost your authenticity on Twitter?

Personalization shows people there’s a real person behind the handle. It helps them connect with you, and to see you for who you are, beyond the profile picture.

A great way to bring personalization on social media is to recognize other people and address them by their names. For instance, if you’re on a Twitter chat and you see other brand profiles interacting, take the extra step to get to know the person tweeting from behind that profile. It’s always nice to know who you’re conversing with.

We’re all human, and it’s ok to display feelings. Whether it’s an emoji, a GIF, or an incident from your own life experience, don’t be afraid to express how you feel. You don’t need to share personal stories, but you can still be human. Vulnerability signals to others that they can always depend on you to be genuine.

Taylor from GiveWP also explained how personalizing your copy shows people that you listen to them and create content to serve their interests.

Q7: How should brands respond when their authenticity is threatened?

Don’t panic. It’s the cause for all bad moves. As our guest suggested, approach the situation with empathy, acknowledge, and try to reassure the other person.

That said, though, as Christine pointed out, if the other person is attacking you without reason, then don’t be afraid to speak up. Always be polite and considerate, but to yourself as well.

Q8: Name some brands that are great at showcasing authenticity on Twitter.

Janet’s top references for personal brands are Elsa, Christine, David, Mashudu, and Kulshani. Among the larger business brands, Janet’s favorites are Airtel Kenya and Twitter.

Carla mentioned some more great brands, such as Content Marketing Institute, Mari Smith, WinnieSun, Women CEO Project, and Social Media Today.

You’ve likely come across these brands without paying much attention to them. Go on and have a look at their profiles again—there’s so much to observe and learn.

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks a lot for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Janet, have a look at this Twitter Moment that our team member Joana put together. If you have some time to spare on Thursday, come join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

Say hello: Personal blog | LinkedIn | Twitter