Vulnerability: the new way to build a following

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Being vulnerable with your audience is a way that can get you more followers.

In an era of polarised politics, confused truths and media agendas, the brands that are real, raw and authentic are strangely compelling.

Most marketers have heard that 2017 is the year of video; but I think it goes beyond that;  it is the year of authentic connection. Here’s two marketing avenues that will continue to be fruitful for brands with purpose:
 

Video, Vlogs and Live Streaming

We all know how insanely popular vlogging is with audiences, and that Zoella propelled herself to fame largely due to her sharing her social anxiety, and showing that she wasn’t perfect.

Carrie Green, founder of the successful Female Entrepreneur Association has started a vlog, and explains her reasons for doing so - that these types of videos get a lot more engagement than a heavily edited video.

The rise of live streaming also encourages authenticity, too. We can’t hide behind a script or hours of editing to make ourselves appear ‘perfect’. We just don’t know what will happen on a live broadcast. Marketers are shifting from writing traditional blogs and articles, to sharing their passion for their business via video, therefore connecting the potential customer with the person behind the brand.


Another area that is encouraging brands to discuss vulnerability is the attention mental health has had over the last ten years. Mental health and emotional wellbeing are no longer considered such taboo subjects; opening up and discussing your fears, worries and insecurities seem to bond us to each other. We feel more connected to someone if they share a vulnerable part of themselves, and I believe it is this emotional connection we are looking for in a world that seems to be in chaos.

Experiential and Live events

If vlogging and live video are as close as you can digitally get to the real, authentic nature of a person, then experiential and live events are that bit closer.

I believe the phenomenal rise of brands such as the dj trio Above and Beyond (who build their live identity around shared connection and vulnerability) is not just down to what they do - but who they are.

At the moment, there is a global proliferation of festivals - an event primarily designed for lots of people to enjoy music, but also to come together and collectively share experiences.

Those experiences are witnessed and felt; and then translated onto the web in a plethora of emotive comments, posts and shares.


Social media is popular because it allows us to experience a shared connection; albeit a virtual one. However, it is also a double edged sword, because if you put yourself out there, the entire world is watching. You have a global platform at your feet, and by showing vulnerability you lay yourself wide open to attack.

If you dare to share your story in an authentic and vulnerable way - highlighting both the triumphs and the failures, the meaningful moments and the disappointments, you may just get a following that are bonded to your brand like never before.