When it comes to businesses nowadays, there’s this gray area on what actually makes a business appear authentic, legitimate, trustworthy, and so on. So, it used to be just by having a nice website and a fairly decent-sized following on social media. But honestly, nowadays, anyone can do it.
It’s hard to even figure out what’s just some scammy drop shipping website and what’s a real full-fledged business. Templates for websites are abundant (and cheap), and anyone can just buy likes and follows for social media. But as a business owner, especially a new one- one that’s taking this business on all on your own, you’re going to need to focus on showing how authentic this is.
It can be hard to create this balance because you have to make sure you’re balancing out everything seamlessly, like the branding, your appearance (since you need to be the face/voice of the brand), the social media(s) content, and so on. Anyone who can fabricate a business nowadays can event the testimonials too; since everyone can do it, you need to go a step beyond to give assurance that you’re a real brand. So, here is everything you need to do to ensure that your business is authentic!
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Why Does Authenticity for Businesses Matter?
For the most part, it’s large businesses and well-known businesses that get the most trust- it’s because people know they’re a real and authentic business. When you’re a small business, especially a single person, it’s hard to gain that authenticity. Sure, you know you’re authentic; friends and family know that, but that’s about as far as it goes until you really get your name and your business’s name out there. Authenticity is not just a buzzword; it’s a critical component of building a successful and sustainable business.
By defining your values, crafting a unique story, and consistently demonstrating transparency, you can make your new business appear more authentic. Remember that authenticity is an ongoing journey, and it’s the businesses that genuinely embody their values that stand the test of time and earn the trust of their customers. But how can you even get this authenticity, or at least get strangers- your target demographic to know your business is the real deal and not some questionable scam? Well, here’s what you need to know.
What You Can Do to Bring in the Authenticity
It’s not always a cakewalk; years ago, it was easy to define a legitimate business, but scammers have gotten better at scamming. Can you tell a real business website from a fake one? Most people aren’t able to. Even with extensive research, it’s not always that easy to do either. So, here are some big and small strategies you can try.
Start Off By Defining Your Values
So, one thing you have to keep in mind is that authenticity starts with a clear understanding of your business’s core values. What principles and beliefs guide your company? Identify them and ensure they align with your actions and messaging. When your values are genuine and consistently reflected in your business practices, they resonate with customers.
How Unique is Your Brand Story?
Every business has a story behind its inception. Share your journey, struggles, and triumphs in a compelling narrative. Be genuine and transparent about your motivations and challenges. People connect with stories, and an authentic narrative can make your brand more relatable. This is something that fake and scammy businesses don’t have, so you’d immediately have the upper hand with this.
You’re Going to Need Connections
Whether you have an online business or you’re going to have a physical location, it’s going to be the connections that count. You’re going to need quality business cards, a good LinkedIn profile, join a tight-knit community, or even get on a few LinkedIn and/or Facebook groups to share your business or at least build connections with other business owners. It’s connections that count. Honestly, some of the most successful small businesses got where they are today, all thanks to building connections and even forming parasocial relationships too. Engage with customers on social media, respond to their comments, and show the faces behind your business. Humanizing your brand makes it more relatable and authentic.
You Need to Be Consistent
One aspect that separates a scammy fake business from a real one is the consistency in posting content. This includes social media and things like blog posts on their own website. Usually, for scammy businesses they may post only once, or they may post one every few months. This scam isn’t such a huge investment to them; it’s just simply a scam and nothing more. But for you, you have a business, a business that’s meant to be your entire livelihood. So, be sure to be consistent and invest in high-quality content.
For most brands, it’s best to strive to produce and post content on a weekly basis; it doesn’t need to be every day, but even once or twice a week will immediately boost credibility and authenticity. Nowadays, there are social media posting software and programs you can use, like Hootsuite, so you’d be doing yourself a major favor.
Always Stay Transparent
Earlier in this article, it was briefly mentioned that transparency counts, and honestly, it does, and it’s something you should never skip out on. Be open and honest about your products or services. Provide clear and accurate information, including pricing, features, and limitations. When customers feel they can trust what you say, they are more likely to choose your brand.
Making mistakes is totally fine; you’re human, and recognizing them rather than ignoring them is going to instantly boost how customers and others see you. This is a surefire way to let people know you’re authentic and that you’re still just learning while doing this business.
You Need to Put Customers First
It’s fairly obvious, but it’s still something that should be addressed. Put your customers at the center of everything you do. Listen to their feedback, address their concerns, and make improvements based on their suggestions. A customer-centric approach shows that you genuinely care about their experience. So, how can this even prove you’re authentic and your business is authentic?
Well, when it comes to fake businesses, aka scams, their whole point is to get money and not provide a service or even a good product. They’re not customer-focused, and their intention isn’t to be either. The intention is to grab attention, grab the money, and run- like all scams. But if you prove you’re a real business, then you’re going to be immediately trusted.
Show Off Social Responsibility
Fake businesses or those that aren’t authentic aren’t going to show what they believe in, so that’s where you can do things differently. Demonstrate your commitment to social and environmental causes. Participate in initiatives that align with your values. Whether it’s supporting a local charity or adopting eco-friendly practices, showcasing your efforts can boost your brand’s authenticity.
Customers honestly care a lot about what businesses think and what they’ll do. So don’t think of it as being insincere when you’re demonstrating charity work or donations; let people know on your website and social media. Let customers know you’re dedicated to a cause. It’s so important.
Read Also: Pro Tips on How to Build Customer Loyalty
Nowadays, dropshipping seems to be everywhere, seriously everywhere. Even with fashion and home decor, there are hundreds if not thousands of drop shipping websites that all have an authentic-looking website, but then the item you get back is of horrendous quality. It’s a major bummer; there’s no doubt about that. But with that said, you’re going to have to forever focus on quality over quantity.
You need to prove you’re not some generic drop shipping website (if you’re selling merchandise), and if you’re doing a service, then you have to prove you know what you’re doing. So, be sure to press on the quality because this is sometimes will be that very thing that’s going to separate you from everyone else.
It’s Okay to Own Up to Mistakes
This piggybacks on transparency, but it’s totally fine to own up to mistakes. No business is perfect, and mistakes can happen. When they do, own up to them, apologize sincerely, and take steps to rectify the situation. Acknowledging your errors and demonstrating a commitment to improvement can enhance your authenticity. By being open about something you did wrong or something that’s going wrong (that’s out of your control), you’re showing you’re able to take accountability for it.
Always Add Value
This is especially true when it comes to educating your community, customers, industry, etc. Never be afraid to share your knowledge and expertise with your audience; people love the stuff, especially if shared in an entertaining way. Provide valuable content, whether it’s through blog posts, webinars, or tutorials. By educating and adding value, you position your brand as an authority and build trust. Sure, there’s a lot of work that goes into it, but you’re doing yourself a major favor, too.