Despite the prevalence of social media platforms for several years now, companies seem to just not quite be able to crack it. Through some need to treat every platform that comes along like every platform that ever has been, despite them having vastly different effective voices and mediums, is insanity.
And yet, every single day a search through the twitter accounts of emerging and startup brands will indicate a massive disconnect: People still don't understand that, at its core, authenticity wins on social media.
If every action you take on social is guided by the consideration for what will be honest, helpful, and genuine to your followers - and not what is going to sell me the most products - a few funny things happen.
When you aren't tweeting half-truths that favor your brand, or trying to bend stories to best reflect the part of an industry you live in, you aren't at risk anymore for getting caught up in a web of lies. Consequently, PR disasters rarely befall companies that practice more honesty on their social media channels.
People as a whole, fundamentally, enjoy being treated well. The brands you want to tell your friends and family about are not the ones that came across as shady, they're the ones who told the truth.
They're not the ones who messaged you asking them to buy their product, they're the ones who said "thank you" just because you took the time to comment on their Instagram picture.
Temporary webshops and one-off affiliate marketers are all about making sales in the short term, but ongoing businesses are equally concerned with building their brand.
Treating social media as a branding tool rather than a selling tool, at least initially, is a great paradigm shift that can help marketers utilize it better and for the right purposes.
Everybody has a unique conscious and there's no one-size-fits-all solution to business ethics, but most people feel better when they can put their heart and reputation 100% behind what they do.
For social media, that might mean that building a genuine community in which your brand is a thought leader is much more rewarding than just trying to hi-jack hashtags to flog your products.
Social media is a not a linear projection, it's a game of slow, meager, but genuine growth until you hit a point of critical mass and then your efforts start to snowball.
It's a game of patience, but it's once that doesn't ever come to fruition if you can't learn to play with a more gentle marketing touch than you would in traditional paid media. Learn to master it, however, and you're sure to be rewarded.