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Social media marketing — authenticity over all

How transparency, honesty and authenticity in social media marketing lead to brand loyalty with consumers.

5 min read

MarketingSocial Media

Social media app icons on a phone


Social media is everywhere, and nearly everyone including brands and businesses have a presence on one social media platform or more. With so many brands vying for the attention of their consumers, it’s essential to ensure a successful communication strategy in order to boost brand awareness, build trust and create stronger relationships with potential buyers. This starts with being authentic while also trying to balance customer expectations and aligning with the brands overall marketing strategy.

So how does one remain genuine online while also staying true to the company message?

With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and many more popping up each week,  it’s easier than ever for companies to reach their target audiences and increase their visibility.  

And while Meta remains in the top seat for social media advertising with 90% of respondents using Facebook and 79% using Instagram for marketing, there are new social media platforms such as BeReal that are gaining momentum and targeting consumers in a more organic and authentic way. Association of National Advertisers offers insights into the popularity of the app and notes authenticity is the biggest draw amongst Generation Z. 

When PepsiCo discontinued Sierra Mist and launched Starry, the marketing team decided to target a younger audience with a more vibrant campaign that would resonate with Generation Z. Specifically the brand is using TikTok as the main social platform to meet their audience where they are. 

Michael Smith, senior director of Starry brand marketing commented that the strategy for Starry is different across the three main platforms they use. “Our consumers utilize several social media platforms, but we’ve been leveraging TikTok and Instagram most as these are the platforms that are driving culture and where we see the highest concentration of our consumer activity taking place,” said Smith. “On each platform, we’re able to activate in highly creative and irreverent ways, engaging authenticity with our fans.”

Authentic social media marketing strategies are about more than just gaining followers and likes; it’s about fostering a genuine connection with audiences and giving a real-life experience. By understanding the importance of authenticity, businesses can create social media marketing campaigns that are both effective and impactful.

In addition to brands committing to authenticity in their campaigns, some brands are leaving social media in search of alternative ways to connect with their consumers. Following Bottega Veneta, Lush Cosmetics also left social media due to a lack of genuine engagement, proving that authenticity is increasingly crucial for brands to remain competitive. 

Lush Cosmetics announced a need for greater authenticity overall in their marketing efforts and choosing to focus on other methods of customer communications. The announcement in November 2021, posted on their Instagram, noted they were making this shift in order to protect their consumers from the negativity found on a majority of social media sites.

“We decided these platforms are currently just too dangerous for the well-being of young people and until they take action to provide a safer environment for their users, we were not comfortable being present there,” says Brandi Halls, chief ethics officer of Lush North America. “As a brand that puts the well-being of our staff and customers at the core of what we do, engaging on these platforms is no longer aligned with who we are and where we should be.” 

Lush currently targets customers via email, mail and their website. They also developed an app that let users immediately contact the company with product and service inquiries. Using YouTube, Lush posts makeup tutorials and product launches.

Brands and companies alike need to realize the significance of a well-thought-out social media strategy. With the use of social media, businesses can have two-way conversations with their customers and learn how to make their products better. With the appropriate approach, brands may strengthen connections with their target demographic. Consumers expect brands to be genuine and match their values. 

Brands that are authentic and honest in their messaging are more likely to gain customer loyalty and have more engagement with their consumers. This push for authenticity has helped Lush Cosmetics to remain true to their values and concentrate on cultivating meaningful relationships on platforms like Pinterest and YouTube.

How to remain authentic with your social media strategy
Brands must be careful to avoid using social media as a sales tool. Consumers recognize deception and value authenticity. Consumers are more likely to choose brands that they can relate to. 

Ways to remain authentic:

  • Generate original content that engages their target audience instead of relying on marketing methods.
  • Focus on building relationships rather than growing a follower count.
  • Engage with them by responding to comments, asking questions and genuinely connecting. 
  • Be transparent and honest. Trust is important and essential to build a solid relationship. 
  • Be consistent with the brand messaging to grow recognition and trust. 

Credibility and trust are dependent on authenticity to ensure success.

Brands should take cues from PepsiCo’s Starry campaign and work to create a presence that fosters trustworthiness and loyalty with their targeted audience. Understanding that connections matter is key. In turn consumers will appreciate the effort taken by brands leading to increased customer loyalty and engagement


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