There’s a lot involved when it comes to marketing your business online. You’ve got social media to consider, data, analytics, content…the list is long. All of those things are important, but it’s been shown that customers value authenticity more than anything. Authenticity is a genuine voice, a dependable and reliable persona that carries through all your interactions with your customers. A customer needs to know that the way your business presents itself online is the same as it is everywhere else and especially in person. Authenticity is being united in your mission statement, purpose, and conduct – and the ability to convey as much to everything from Facebook comments, to addressing online reviews, and everything in-between.

You need an active online presence to succeed, but one that reflects the values and voice of your business. Consumers expect you to be online, in fact, they will often check out your website or Facebook page long before actually making contact. Today’s generation of consumers grew up online and social media usage is an everyday norm. It’s easy for most consumers to sniff out the brands and businesses who don’t take the time to invest in building an authentic voice. Here are a few tips on how to build that authenticity online:

  • Have a schedule and post regularly. Random posts here and there without any connection or forethought can underwhelm customers. Make a schedule and stick to it. It’s reassuring to a potential customer to see that your website is accurate and maintained, that your social media pages are current and responsive. The last thing you want is to be stagnant online, a schedule will keep you on track and help you avoid over posting. You could schedule posts for Facebook and Twitter at specific times every day, or commit to blogging on Tuesdays and Fridays for example.
  • Have one person designated as your social media manager – It could be you, it could be an employee. Do this to avoid any miscommunication, repetition, or any other problems. You’ve heard the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Don’t let that be the case.
  • Be active online – Don’t let days pass before you get around to answering questions and comments. Respond to feedback both positive and negative as quick as you can, make empathetic and sincere customer service a priority. Make sure the basic profile information on your different accounts is accurate and up to date (address, phone number, website address, etc.), you’d be surprised at how often something this simple check is neglected.
  • Take advantage of content marketing – know your audience and publish the kind of written, video, or photo material that is relevant and useful to their interests. For a quick refresher on content marketing check out this post.

Authenticity builds loyalty, and loyal customers are what makes the difference between success and failure. A single sale if fine, but a loyal customer is a repeat customer. Repeat customers mean repeat sales. If you are sincere and genuine in your online interactions on behalf of your business, customers will respond and reward you with their loyalty and continued patronage. Take these tips and consider the qualities that set you apart as a business and do your best to promote them in everything you do, especially online, and your authenticity will shine through.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter.