My professor in university once said: “In general, people do not like when being advertised to”. Think about it, does anyone really enjoy for example commercial breaks? Well, there are always exceptions, but most of us are probably not overly excited about them.
Nevertheless, advertising is very much a necessary evil. How else would people find out about the stuff that fulfills their various needs and wants? Also, many of the new and cool technologies and services available today would not even exist without advertising and the money poured into it.
When it comes to social media and companies’ presence there, many marketing professionals and social media specialists are now underlining that there is an increasing demand for authenticity. In general, marketing messages are not experienced very authentic. They have an agenda, they are selling something. But what is this authenticity in marketing that everybody’s desperately after? If you Google it you may find more than one answer. Personally, I understand authenticity as something honest and transparent. Authentic brands stay true to what they are, and are not misleading for the public.
The demand for authenticity is real, but there is nothing new about this. Social media was originally created for people and for their interactions, not for companies and their messages. But when you dig deeper you realize that people have always been looking for authenticity when making purchase decisions. In the past consumers just did not have access to information like they do now. Before social era and www, companies had greater control over information and their own image but that does not mean there was no need for authenticity, the demand was not just as high as today.
The social era is demanding authenticity but where did this demand originate?
Social media has become an integral part of everything. It is mainstream, and companies and brands now have the required confidence to be there. The fact is that social media has become a lot more commercial than it used to be, and this holds the key to today’s authenticity demand.
We now have access to vast amount of information and we are bombarded with enormous arsenal of ads and other messages every day. There is just no way we can or even want to embrace all these messages. Most of the time we are filtering away the irrelevant messages that do not exceed the critical threshold for adoption. The natural solution to this information overload is that we are trying to back up our decisions with the help of other people’s comments, reviews and recommendations on things. Although, there is nothing new about this, the rise of social media has amplified the phenomenon by making it easier and more convenient. This is how it was with the social media from the very beginning. Today, when social media is a mainstream for all human communication, it is only natural that businesses are there where their customers are. However, this evolution has led to that people’s newsfeeds are growingly getting filled up with marketing messages. Hence, the demand for authenticity has also increased. We have a built-in desire to be able to empathize with the things we are dealing with.
Social media is here to stay and there is no return to the past. Consumers today are more empowered than ever. We want to get information from reliable sources, and we are expecting ever increasing transparency and authenticity from companies. This is where Employee Advocacy comes in to help. There is no better way organisations to act human than through and with the help of their employees. As being said, human to human is the word of the day.