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How Authentic Is Created Content?

Updated: May 7, 2019

Every day, platforms showcase content that is both curated and created. With the high-expectations of social media, it’s hard to tell if accounts are posting to inform or attract specific reactions from their publics. Many accounts post content on their profiles with indicators that it is an advertisement, for example “#ad” or “sponsored.” These indicators are helpful for audiences to recognize altered content, because there is likely an incentive to posting it. With millennials using platforms like Instagram to depict and plan their every move, it’s only logical to analyze if the majority of online content is genuine, or just for “likes.”
Travel images receive the most attention on social media.

In an article published by Forbes, “Here’s How Much Instagram Likes Influence Millennials’ Choice Of Travel Destinations," Andrew Arnold describes the process millennials go through when choosing where to travel; an activity based on how picture-worthy a particular place is. Arnold states, “more than 40 percent of those under 33 prioritize ‘Instagrammability’ when choosing their next holiday spot. With 97 percent of millennials saying they would share a positive travel experience on social media, according to NewsCred Insights, online platforms are crowded with inauthentic content that is intentionally looking for the publics approval. This content is not blatantly “sponsored,” yet carries the same traits as an advertisement, a controlled method of delivering messages and gaining media placement.

Think of a personal profile as a business or organization. Regina Luttrell states in Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect, “in taking steps towards becoming increasingly successful on a social level, organizations must break the habit of self-promotion.” Luttrell states that many executives focus on promoting all the successes within the company instead of engaging with its consumers. If taken into context with personal profiles, millennials, at times, self-promote more often than not, and forget the inauthenticity that this content depicts. Though the content is of the person, most of these posts fail to engage with the audience, and will result in short-lasting followers.

Throughout the course of the past three months, I have extensively analyzed my social media habits and closely monitored the engagement of my followers on each post. For every post that I tagged another person, I received 15 percent more likes than I did for those I didn’t. For relatable captions, I received triple the amount of comments than I did on those that I did not make engaging; and for informative content, including posts with trending hashtags and project updates, I received above average retweets and favorites. According to Luttrell, “this means that conversing, engaging, and developing online relationships with consumers using organizational social media channels can influence how the organization connects and build relationships with its intended audience.” In other words, by using authentic language, successful results are the only outcome for a brand, whether it be personal or business. Using engaging content helps depict the online persona’s tone and sentiment, which attracts followers to the content.

This insight proves that content marketing is currently driving a revolution, and that the more authentic a brand’s storytelling is, the greater the value of its posts.

With 80 million Instagram posts per day, consumers can only hope that not all of the content is self-promotion, that is, if they don’t contribute to the nonsense.

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