Driving through a rural part of the Rocky Mountains for a hike, I noticed on the side of the road, in the middle of a field with caribou grazing off to the left, three younger women decked out to the nines. Odd, I thought. This isn’t the type of place you go dressed up… it’s for hikers.
And, if you’re not familiar with the wildlife, it can even be slightly dangerous.
I took a second glance at them and realized what was going on. The ladies drove to this rural area not to hike or take in the wilderness… they were there for a photoshoot. They had the tripod and camera all set up, and when I looked closer, I saw they even had spare clothes on the ground, likely to change into for a different aesthetic…
Like so much of social media, this was a well-thought-out set-up. All dolled up, probably for the gram… I’m judging here, but these women didn’t strike me as the outdoorsy type, yet they seemingly wanted to give their followers that vibe.
This is analogous to much of the online world. The web and what people and businesses post for others to see have become a carefully curated highlight reel or signal. While it may look attractive to doctor or stage content, people at large have become content connoisseurs who can smell the real from the staged a mile away. Staged content doesn’t have the shelf-life it once had.
Content consumers (which is everyone) yearn for the authentic glimpse… an unveiled look into the lives, thoughts, and processes of people and brands. They want the unvarnished. They want to be able to relate (read Your Company is a Person and Wear Your Weaknesses).
Social Media Today wrote,
“An overwhelming 90% of Millennials say brand authenticity is important, proving that younger consumers prefer ‘real and organic’ over ‘perfect and packaged’.”
“After more than a decade of pouring money into partnerships with big-name influencers, marketers are increasingly wagering on less-expensive deals with amateur creators, blanketing the internet with relatable, authentic-feeling content…”
People have consumed so much social media content they can easily spot the disingenuous. Outside of movies and TV shows, they are turned off by overproduced content.
If you’re a content creator (which should be every entrepreneur), understand that dressing down your production isn’t bad. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t ensure your messaging is on point. And quality cameras, sound and lighting won’t hurt, but keep it real.
The greatest content creators these days, the ones amassing large followings and spinning out multiple business lines because of it, are candid, consistent, self-deprecating and authentic.
Show me a photo of a man with food stuck in his teeth, and I’ll show you an honest and interesting person.