In this day and age, being a brand on social media comes with several opportunities, but also with challenges. Self-promotion and being/staying authentic can be two of those hurdles.
Should popular brands halt their self-promotion tactics in favor of authenticity?
My answer to that question is no, and here is why:
If a brand is “popular” than that means that the company is well known. The consumers are aware of what the brand stands for and the kind of value it provides for them through their products and/or services. By suddenly halting self-promotion there would be a shift in how the brand is perceived by their audience.
It can be argued that the shift could be of benefit, but that shift could also be a hinderance. The change can have a negative effect because their efforts of not self-promoting can be seen as ingenuine. Consumers are accustomed to seeing the brands they follow presented in a certain manner, but when they suddenly change it can cause a peak of curiosity. If that change is not properly done, then it will not be received well either. With that said, self-promotions should not be overdone. They have to be balanced along with other content and effectively used.
Is it ever really possible to be authentic on social media?
I say, yes… for individuals. Not exactly for businesses.
In terms of individuals, being authentic is possible. Although there is a large sentiment of everyone being inauthentic on social media, it does not mean that it cannot be done. Personally, I think that if the posts you choose to put up represent what you regard as your true self than you are being authentic. If those posts are perceived as authentic by others or not, it does not matter. At the end of the day it is up to you to decide what makes you true to yourself. However, a business’ authenticity on social media is a bit more complex. They have to cater to their consumers’ thoughts because their perception of the brand matters tremendously. Furthermore, they have to keep up with the ever changing market and internal company changes. Ultimately, I think that they can achieve levels of authenticity, but not full authenticity.