The Benefits of Keeping It Real [Time]

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I was on Facebook the other day when I spotted it: An ad for an app promising to make you look flawless by Photoshopping your face beyond recognition. Can you imagine? A whole new you for $1.99 in the App Store. And that got me thinking about brands on social media.

The social status quo, along with Twitter scheduling software and brand management programs, has made the Internet of brands a little too safe. Bland, really. And there’s nothing worse than being a bland brand. The remedy? Getting real [time].

It might be scary to go out there and be authentic, transparent and unfiltered—but it’s the best way to make an impact today. Does that mean pull a Kanye and rant on Twitter all day? No. So what does it mean? How can you be more #authentic on social media as a brand? With one powerful change: Post in real time.

Scheduling social content is ok from time to time. Maybe you found some great articles that you want to share this week. Maybe you don’t have a whole lot of time to be consistent on your social media channels because you’re traveling. Whatever your reason, it’s cool.

You don’t have to convince me that it’s the right choice for you. Go ahead and schedule, but know this: You need to engage in real time, too. Grab your phone and take a look once a day at what’s trending and jump into conversations that you believe you can participate in. Comment on posts, share and retweet, and reply to conversations where you can add value.

Another way you can commit to more real, authentic communications is by adopting new platforms that don’t require you to highly curate your social presence. Through Snapchat, you can be more of-the-moment and more casual because your posts aren’t permanent. Snaps disappear after their viewed, which means that you can be authentic without feeling the pressure of having to spend a whole day on each of your social posts. You can show your real culture, your real people and your real brand without having to worry about the post living on a social “museum wall” forever. It’s a peek behind the curtain. A glimpse of humanity and reality that can connect people directly to what you do and why they should care about your brand.

Periscope also takes advantage of this real-time goodness in a way that allows people that aren’t able to attend your events or efforts a way to feel like they’re participating. You can livestream your events or goings-on, which gets people engaged in real time, but you can also save these recordings to your channel so people can watch them later. The best part? Because the focus is on live video, you don’t have to worry about making it look like a Hollywood film.

Yet another way you can stand out? Engage with your audiences. So few brands really do this. Most just post into the void and wait for people to click on their website or pick up the phone. Engagement means more than just hitting “Like” on those that have responded to your tweets or Facebook posts—it means responding back, it means reaching out and commenting on the tweets of others and it means really paying attention to what your audience is talking about.

Now more than ever, it’s difficult to stand out online and off. Instead of trying to make an impact by being like everyone else, be brave and be yourself—in real time. In a world of Photoshopped faces, perfectly coiffed social presences and robotic auto-tweets, it will definitely capture attention.

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About Author

For the past twelve years, Aimee Woodall has stretched the boundaries of non-traditional marketing and public relations strategies.   Aimee Woodall is the owner of the Black Sheep Agency, a Houston-based strategic brand shop specializing in cause-driven marketing, public relations, social media and community outreach. You can contact her at 832.971.7725 or email aimee@theblacksheepagency.comTheblacksheepagency.com

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