The Worst Content Marketing Is What Everybody Else Is Doing: How to Get Ahead and Stay ThereContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the PlatformRise of Social Media in Ecommerce [INFOGRAPHIC]How eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Getting Real About 'Fauxthenticity'
Posted on April 16th 2014
Many brands want their gold star simply for showing up in the social environment. They believe that they’re somehow ahead of the shift by virtue of just being there. Their arrival is often reluctant, reactive and triggered by fear, through a competitor’s presence or a panicked “why aren’t we doing this?” email from somebody in the c-suite. And regardless of their join date, most aren’t quite sure why they’re there to begin with beyond having accepted that they’re supposed to be. So without a strategy, a sense of purpose or a fundamental understanding of the space, the tendency by and large, is to fall comfortably back onto the familiar. And in the familiar, we find a voice that while perfectly suited for a Sunday FSI, is completely counteractive to a medium defined by it’s consumers. So inevitably, they do what comes naturally. They continue to self promote, embellish and dictate but with a few subtle adjustments. And in doing so they give life to a phenomenon I like to call “fauxthenticity”.
Fauxthenticity is how I describe the tendency some brands have towards assuming we’re all complete idiots. It represents a very deliberate and measured effort to manufacture transparency through not so clever copy, a monologic tone and the usage of yesterday's tools and resources (i.e. stock photos). But it goes beyond just creative laziness. It pretends that a brand's participation in a community has anything to do with people. Or that the Social revolution has legitimately changed the way they do business. In short, it’s the bastardization of realness.
How to spot Fauxthenticity? Many brands are guilty of it but here a few of the more obvious cues:
Tradtional paid media units re-purposed for Social channels. Yes, this still happens.
Deleting negative comments. We love you but only if you love us more.
Join the conversation! The statement in and of itself is annoyingly disingenous and overused.
Pleading with fans to “tell us about your favorite _______________” and then ignoring their replies.
Baiting fans with questions that suggest what they say really matters “what do you think of our new __________________?” We don't actually care we just want to appear "social".
Excessive use of “we”. Isn't it bad enough you want me to talk to a logo?
Excessive use of !!!
RT/Like/Share if you think babies are cute!!! A baby actually dies everytime one of these is posted.
Implying that endorsements and/or engagements with paid bloggers, partners, employees, agencies, friends or relatives are just serendipitous encounters with super-passionate fans. Not actually legal in most states.
Late, thoughtless or irrelevant adoption of memes/trends. Think the “real time content” bandwaggoners still clamoring to duplicate Oreo's infamous Superbowl tweet.
Editing what is presented as "real time" conversation (example: “see what they’re saying about us”) to include only the most positive mentions.
Dressing up all of the above as “engagement” “transparency” and “conversation” legitimately believing it to be so.
Now that we've got that out of the way, I’m not here to suggest that fauxthenticity should or will disappear entirely from the collective brand narrative, in or out of the social space. I'll even admit to being an accessory to it a few times (or more). We’re all putting on a bit of a show to one degree or another, no matter how “authentic” we claim to be. And brands still have to protect themselves, particularly those in highly regulated sectors.
But fauxthenticity is often symptomatic of an organization’s deeper seeded resistance to change. It reflects a brand’s ambiguity around who they are in the context of the new social economy and a total indifference for the wants, needs and expectations of today’s consumers.
Identifying fauxthenticity requires an honest and often humbling look in the mirror. But by examining and resolving it’s root causes, you may just unlock your organization’s modern brand identity.