Occasionally we hear people saying that you have to ‘fake it until you make it’ and whilst there is value in the idea that if you only stick to doing what you know how to do, you won’t grow and develop. But when it comes to creating communications faking it is really not recommended.
There is enormous potential in social networks for brands who get their activity right. But alongside great rewards, comes great risks. And there is huge risk in inauthenticity: brands that get caught out creating content that is not ‘real’ can find that, at best, there is a total lack of engagement and at worst there is a backlash as people realise that the brand is cynically trying to co-opt a theme or subject without actually having invested any time in understanding what it is all about. This is the case for any leisure pursuit and endurance sports are no exception.
Top five tips for keeping it real
- Don’t over-reach: you might want to expand your product range into a new sector, but if you don’t have an understanding of that sector, don’t try to invent one
- Ask the audience: if you want to create content that will engage with a particular audience, asking people who are in that audience is to help you create content is a sure-fire way to end up with authentic content
- Don’t be fooled: in any specialist sector there will be people who are faking it for their own reasons and they will be more than happy to ‘help’ you be authentic. That will be like two drowning people clinging on to one another. Do your research and figure out if the people you are thinking about engaging with really do walk the walk before you work with them
- Social networks are the ultimate listening devices: start off by spending time listening to what people are talking about in their social networks. That will give you a great sense of the tone of messages, the types of content and the subjects that really get the people who make up your target audience excited
- From little acorns, great oak trees grow: if your brand is prepared to start small, ask questions, engage with just a few people, listen rather than talking then you can start to build your knowledge base and your reputation at the same time. Soon enough your brand will stand tall as an authority and voice worth heeding
Ultimately there is no magic formula, but hopefully these tips will give you pause for thought because if you do communicate in an authentic way, the potential rewards are huge. However the opposite is also true.