What Does It Mean to Be Authentic?
3 minutes

What Does It Mean to Be Authentic?

June 20, 2024

Be authentic. Sounds easy, right?

Starry-eyed content creators may believe that if they feel authentic, that’s all they’ll need for their brand to come across that way.

Feed heartfelt prompts into a generative AI tool and heartfelt authenticity will come out the other end, right?

If only.

The AI Sludge

As Facebook, X, Linkedin, and even Pinterest add more AI capabilities, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) may feel pressured to dabble in AI-generated content on social media. Unfortunately, much AI-generated content falls under the category of “sludge,” or low-quality content without a clear call to action that fails to resonate with audiences.

For brands looking to reach public sector decision-makers, this is far from ideal.

Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center conducted a study of Americans’ use of generative AI. Researchers discovered that only 23% of adults had used the technology, and of those who did, many used it for work-related tasks.

If you’re in the majority and have never used generative AI tools like ChatGPT or DALL-E on your social channels, you’ve probably encountered several AI-generated posts in your feeds.

Sludge muddies the waters around your brand and distracts from your overall message. Stand out by pursuing authentic connections.

Social Media Spotlights Authenticity

Here are some benefits of using social media to cut through the sludge:

  • Enhanced Engagement: Interact directly with consumers in real-time, fostering two-way conversations and building community.
  • Increased Trust and Loyalty: Share genuine stories and values to build trust and loyalty through transparency and honesty.
  • Personalized Marketing: Deliver tailored content to specific segments, making consumers feel valued and understood.
  • Instant Feedback: Receive immediate consumer reactions and adjust strategies based on their input.
  • Humanizes the Brand: Showcase the human side of your brand with stories and behind-the-scenes content to foster relatability.
  • Builds Community: Create groups and pages to connect consumers with each other and your brand, enhancing loyalty.

What’s Your Personal Preference?

Authenticity has always been prized on social media. Not sure where to start? How about with you?

Think about the brands and accounts that you follow personally. Why do you follow them? Is it because you find their content informative? Funny? Whatever the case, people follow brands because of genuine interest.

Authenticity on social media starts with understanding who your brand is. What’s your story?

Public sector marketers should keep this in mind when approaching social media: while generative AI can help you brainstorm ideas, it’s the people behind the content that bring a brand to life.

So, What Can Marketers Do to Build an Authentic Presence on Social Media?

Here’s some tips to get you started:

  • Build a brand story using data from social listening apps or native platform insights to create a narrative arc that clearly defines the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
  • Post a diverse mix of content. Customers often like to see a mix of personality, testimonials, and sales-focused content.
  • Engage with key audience personas. Don’t be afraid to respond to comments. Community is a cornerstone of social media, and brands should feel empowered to respond to queries and comments when appropriate.
  • Run A/B tests to see what people think of the brand.

A Sludge-proof Plan

While some may argue that as generative AI evolves it will be able to create better content, but skepticism remains. In a recent study conducted by Deloitte, Research Manager Chris Arkenberg discusses this very concept, touching upon how “synthetic personalities” could “challenge this authenticity, and perhaps disrupt the currency itself.”

Unfortunately, recent forays into this field have not gone well. For example, in 2023, Meta debuted in-stream AI chatbots intended to look and respond like popular celebrities. Much of the general public found the experience weird or even creepy and dystopian.

But that’s not to say you should shy away from AI completely. Even the best of us get stuck. Who hasn’t stared at a blank page and felt the weight of every word not yet written?

AI can be your brainstorming partner by making the elusive word concrete. Use it to get started, build on an idea, or revise. But always intervene; never skip the human step. (More tips here)

As marketers chart a path forward, these experiments should serve as a reminder that authenticity remains king.

Generative AI can be a powerful tool to augment your content strategy, offering innovative ideas and efficiency. However, the core of authentic content lies in genuine human connection and storytelling.

For more information on creating authentic connections in your marketing, contact Solutions@GovExec.com today!

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