Let me state up front that this article is not about pay per click advertising, but rather the power of being authentic in your marketing efforts. What follows is a funny story involving those words (pay per click) that illustrates authenticity.
I was working at an ad agency several years ago and helped a client develop and launch a large website that was a directory of sorts for their industry. Along the way, they hired a marketing director. She came from another industry and was more familiar with traditional marketing methods than digital marketing. At one point, we were interviewing SEO firms and pay per click advertising was part of a proposal we were discussing. I need to point out that this person was (and still is!) smart and professional. She just didn’t know a lot about search engine marketing. Frankly, I wasn’t much further along than she was. At one point in the conversation, there was a long pause. Then, she said, “Oh! You know, I thought it was called ‘paper click’ advertising!”
We both had a good laugh and after I hung up the phone, I decided that I liked her even more. Why? She was authentic. She wasn’t pretending to be more knowledgeable about a subject than she really was and she didn’t mind admitting to another professional that she didn’t know something. It was refreshing.
Have you ever pretended that you knew the meaning of a word for fear of looking less than “uber-smart” and then grabbed your iPhone to look it up online? Or, perhaps you were on a conference call with a client and as they were talking, you frantically typed phrases into a search engine. Uh-huh. “I don’t know” is a powerful phrase. So is, “I need your help to understand this.”
Authenticity is appealing because it requires honesty and vulnerability. Veneers melt away and people can truly connect on a level that allows for open, honest communication. That’s how we get to know each other. It’s how quality relationships are built. “Authenticity” is a word that’s bandied around a lot in social media circles, but to connect, communicate and build flourishing online communities, it’s absolutely necessary. Authentic people and brands are trustworthy and credible. They are appealing and attractive, with their “realness” acting like a magnet that pulls us in and makes us want to engage with them.
And that marketing director? We became friends and still stay in touch. Just more proof that authenticity is the foundation of good relationships. You can put that on paper.
What people and brands do you consider to be authentic?