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What is Authentic Engagement?

Whenever you get advice for how to run your social media strategy, one of the things you’ll always hear is that you need “authentic engagement” and to “spark a conversation” with your audience. But you might be left wondering “what the heck is ‘authentic’ engagement anyway?” And you might even wonder “Have I been ‘UN-authentic’ up until now?”

A great example of authentic engagement on social media comes from our brilliant clients at Shine On.

Shine On is a large - multi-million dollar - women’s clothing store - they have an online store, as well as 2 physical stores in Auckland and one coming in Christchurch in April.

They have 120,000 fans on Facebook and for them, social is a critical part of their marketing strategy. For Shine On, authentic engagement comes naturally and is led by their Founder and Leader, Fee, who is just as invested in helping her customers live fulfilling lives, as she is what clothes they wear.

While Fee is busy wearing the many hats needed to run a successful, growing multi-million dollar business, she is a leader who has social media engagement at the top of her to-do list and she engages with her customers on a regular basis. One of the things that Fee and her team understand well is their customer's needs, struggles and mindset.

Their audience is typically middle-aged women who are style-conscious, trying to juggle busy lives. Many are interested in self-care, self-growth and living their best lives. Here are some examples of their posts that have nothing to do with their products - though those posts do very well!

On the left, there’s a post on body positivity that got some really great engagement - ShineOn is well known for being size and age-inclusive in their product range so Fee is doing great to share this with her audience.

In the middle, there is a post on efforts to give back to the community through donations - something they do really well. In this post, Fee shares that they have donated over $100,000 in the last 5 months thanks to their customer's support.

And on the right there's a post that no doubt would resonate with their audience - it’s a quote about stopping the toxic culture in glamourising over-working. It certainly got some people talking.

Here’s a post that got some pretty impressive engagement - Fee posted a photo of their signage going up in their new Christchurch store that’s coming soon and they got over 700 likes and over 100 people commenting.

I don’t have a screenshot but Shine On did a poll asking their fans in Christchurch what they want to see stocked in the store - they have a huge product range so they need to know what people down south need.
That’s such a great thing for a business owner to be able to do with their customers - people often have to pay thousands on market research for that info.

Another great example from another great client of ours - Lone Star.

This one comes from last year in the dark depths of lockdown when the hospitality sector was facing hard times. Lone Star actually came out of lockdown and 2020 in general in really good shape thanks to all the hard work their team did. Included in that was their continuously authentic approach to social media content.

During lockdown, so many of us were spending more time in the kitchen and we were missing our favourites from local restaurants, Lone Star included.

When Lone Star fans started asking for recipes for favourites like their famous ribs and Dixie Chicken, Lone Star had a dilemma on their hands. Should they give the people what they want - by making the recipes pubic - even though it means giving away their recipes that they have spent years perfecting?

Ultimately, Lone Star said yes and they launched a series of 4 Lockdown Challenges via video where you could follow along with their Executive Group Chef and create some of Lone Star’s best-selling dishes.

I love this example of authenticity in social content because Lone Star made themselves so vulnerable in sharing these recipes - their recipes are their intellectual property!

One of Lone Star’s core values is generosity - you need only visit their restaurant to see this value being upheld, their portions are VERY generous.
And we can see this spirit of generosity and hospitality - the core of their business - being lived and breathed in this social media campaign.

I hope this gives you some ideas on getting closer to sharing authentic content on your social channels. Thanks for watching.

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