This blog post is written by 2 Moms Media, LLC intern-extraordinaire, Kristen Rybicki…
It has been a privilege and, honestly, overwhelming experience to grow up in the age of social media. As a student, it’s exciting to be among the guinea pigs that determine which new media completely take off (hello, time-sucker known as Facebook), and which need some work before they are forgotten about (still waiting on Google+ to be worth all the hype). However, with so many ways to access people, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to catch people’s attention connect with them when it comes to business. Out of all of your followers or fans, how many have you actually interacted with?
My professors sometimes seem to have a difficult time with this as well. While they already have years of success in the professional world through traditional modes of outreach and communication, they now have to teach us about the technological tools we generally know how to use better than they do, and still prove the same point: connect, engage, be real, be authentic – however way you want to say it.
So for the past four years, I’ve been hearing these same phrases over and over again. They have become catchwords in marketing/advertising/PR classes, and in the real world. Every time I have to create a PR plan or design a PSA poster, I have to consider its authenticity and if I am directly engaging my target audience. However, something came along to rock my world via tweet from Sara (@selfmademom). She posted an article from the New York Times dubbing “authentic” as overused and on its way to meaningless. So now what? How are we all supposed to act? If “authentic” is out, but the idea behind it still stands, where does that leave all of us marketing/advertising/PR/social media students, professionals, and fanatics, aside from drowning in various media and hundreds of followers and fans to cater to?
My thought is that the answer is quite simple: the authenticity is within those hundreds of fans and followers. What I mean is:
– Talk to them, not at them.
– Don’t say that you’re authentic; prove it.
– If you think your audience or target market would find an article or piece of information you saw interesting, tweet it. It shows that you are relatable and not just there to promote your clients’ business.
– Ask questions and find out what’s on your audience’s mind! If someone you follow, yet hardly know, tweets about something that catches your attention, whether it be something relating to your business, or a general inquiry about the best restaurant in your city, answer them. Create that dialogue. If your first instinct is to read and say “Oh! I know something about this!” then there is your authenticity. Act on it and really put these social media tools to use. If I can engage in an intelligent conversation with someone from my bed, in my pajamas, with a facemask on, I’ll take it! Authentic, right?
Authenticity didn’t leave us when letters stopped being written and phone calls turned into emails – the ways of doing so just changed, right along with the rest of us. Translate authenticity into however your medium of choice allows it to be presented, and dive right in.
Kristen Rybicki is a Senior at Loyola University Chicago studying Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing, and Dance. She has been working with Caitlin and Sara at 2 Moms Media, LLC since May, 2011.