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If you can’t be authentic, just forget about a social media strategy

August 18, 2009

My friend and former coworker, Aaron Managhan, posed this question to me recently and it’s the topic of this post: With regard to marketing, what do you think is the most important aspect of social media?

I’d like to say I’m no marketer, but that’s just not true. If you’re representing a brand (even your own) on some kind of social media platform, you’re a marketer. And if you’re marketing on social media, one noun, more so than any other, should be at the forefront of your strategy:

Authenticity

I write it in big, huge letters because this still seems to escape many people and companies (especially on Twitter, which (too) many people continue to treat as a toy).

The reason authenticity is so important is because, unlike with billboards or TV ads, you’re talking person-to-person on social media, even if you’re addressing a crowd. You need to realize that signing into Facebook or logging onto Twitter is the same as walking into a bar for an evening of professional networking. You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a professional meet-and-greet and dive right in to a product pitch would you? In fact, you’d probably spend most of your time keeping things personal and informal (“How’re the kids?” etc.)—so follow suit with social media (see #4 on this list).

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