Let’s get real here for a minute. The internet is overrun with misleading information, cheesy stock photography, and so much noise that it’s almost impossible to stand out in the crowd. Companies are now learning that it takes much more than surface-level marketing retargeting or a quick commercial before a video to get your attention.
Why is this important? Well with all the fake news, filtered imagery, and exaggerated benefits, consumers are demanding change. They want to purchase from companies that are real, trustworthy, and reliable. It’s never been more important to be authentic. Here are a few small tweaks to make your company more authentic.
Show off the People Behind the Scenes
A great way to look authentic is to showcase your employees. Companies with a great internal culture often naturally do this. You should consider if there’s a way you could put more of your talented people front and center. Give consumers a face to the company they’re working with. You don’t need to create large, drawn-out bios for each team member. A few short sentences, pictures, or interesting facts can go a long way to developing an authentic look.
Say Bye-bye to Stock Photography
Stock photography is dead. No one wants to visit your website and see the same cheesy posed imagery we’re all used to. Perfect lighting, fake smiles… there’s no personality. Consumers want authentic candid shots that are real and unfiltered. They crave spontaneity and unique shots that they can make an emotional connection with. With the example above, you have your “perfect” stock shot on the left. Everyone is smiling, it’s neurotically clean, and finished off with the cheesy look over the shoulder. On the right is a very different look. You have people caught in the moment, being engaged in their work, and busy work areas. It’s real, raw, and authentic.
Take the time to invest in your photography and set up a photoshoot. You’ll get the exact shots you’re looking for, plus they will be unique to your company which will help you stand out. Don’t have a budget for a photoshoot? Try sites like Unsplash or Death to Stock that provide real, genuine, and candid shots that can help make a significant impact with your site. (extra bonus – they’re free!)
Do you regularly blog? Usually, blogging involves sharing tips and tricks that highlight your company’s area of expertise. Blogging is a great way to learn about new topics and learn from one another. But why does it just have to be about your industry? This year, try opening the cloak and showing off some of the inner details of how your teams function.
If you’re not ready for that kind of transparency, just look at Tesla. Back in 2014, Tesla released patents for any company to use their technology in the interest of advancing electric vehicle technology. By sharing information and new ideas with the outside world, you show consumers that you’re constantly on your game and pushing to be better. Who doesn’t want to work with or buy from someone like that?
Create and Share Reliable Content
The internet is plagued with fake news and flawed information. When it comes to creating authentic content for your company, provide reliable and meaningful information for your followers. Don’t just regurgitate what others are saying. Provide insight and deeper thinking on a topic. Provide suggestions or solutions that can help your consumers. Link to your research sources. Adding that extra bit of effort will go a long way with your followers.
Even if you’re not creating the content, take a critical eye look at the articles that you share. Is it from a reputable website? Is the author credible in the field she is writing about? You can even check out something controversial on Snopes before you make a comment. The key is to be as discerning as your followers.
Do Some Reflecting
With a new year comes new goals. Take those targets and make sure that they’re not going to do any damage in areas like culture and creativity. Envision how you will achieve them and what it means for your career and work relationships. No matter where the search takes you, being more emotionally connected to the company’s goals will make you more authentically motivated. If you’re looking to make one positive change for you and your company in 2017, strive to be authentic.