Branding & Authenticity – Can You Have Both?

Hiring someone to create your social media content – is that allowed? Does that discredit you as a person? Does it make your account “fake”?

The first thing I do when I get a new client for social media is write their branding document. Without this, everything else would fall apart. A branding document outlines the author’s persona on social media – essentially, it establishes what kind of content will be posted or engaged with and what language will be used on which platforms. To a lot of people, this sounds like some kind of script, a rulebook for how to stay in character and play the role. In reality, it’s so much more than that.

Branding is essential for consistency. Consistency is essential for engagement. Engagement is essential for discoverability. And finally, most importantly, discoverability is essential for website traction and sales.

The chain works like this: Having a consistent brand means you consistently post the same kind of content, the same style of photos, the same style of writing. It’s an art. If a user likes that style of art, then they’ll support the artist with a follow.

Now, imagine for a moment that there’s a talented portrait artist. They’ve been doing realistic, bright-colored portraits for a few months now, and they’re starting to get a few commissions for their work. They paint a commission and send it back and it’s done in a dark, impressionistic style. The client didn’t get what they signed up for, and they’re not happy. Suddenly the other clients withdraw their commissions. They have no idea what to expect from this artist anymore.

It’s the same with a social media page. Users commission us, in a sense, by giving us a follow. They like the content we’ve been producing, and they want to see more of it. Posting something outside the lines of the style they signed up to see will make them withdraw their commissions – we lose followers.

Followers are important in engaging with our posts. The likes, shares, and comments actually boost posts in trends and hashtags and search pages. The more engagement you get, the more easily discoverable your content will be. It’s as simple as that. So if you have no followers to engage with your content, you’ll never be discovered. If you never get discovered, you’ll never get traffic on your website, and then you’ll never make a sale.

So staying consistent in your content is actually critical to gaining sales.

To circle back to the original question, does this make you inauthentic on social media? Not at all. To phrase it another way, is the artist inauthentic for painting in the same style every day? No. That’s one dimension of their life that people want to see. We can acknowledge that yes, they may have an interest in dark impressionism, but that’s not the side of the artist we’re interested in.

In this sense, people are a lot like diamonds. We have multiple facets of our personality that make up every part of our beautiful selves. But not everyone in our lives are familiar with every single facet. They can’t be, if we want to keep our sanity. Does showing only one facet of our humanity make us any less human? Not at all. Branding a social media platform to focus on one element of your life does not make you any less authentic. It makes you an artist. And most importantly, it keeps you sane.

Published by Sadie Rose Verville

Photographer in the Pacific Northwest

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