Labour Authenticity & Analysis in Social Media Marketing

Sne Prasad Alam
7 min readJan 5


Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Transcript of Podcast

Hello. Hello. Hello. So, for today’s podcast I have a very, very interesting topic to talk about which is building a social Media following. Now this usually sounds like a very, you know “how-to” type situation where it’s like do this, do that, do that but that’s not what I’m going to go into. In fact, I’m going to focus on the perspective of the importance of going past vanity metrics, which basically is a term that describes only looking at likes and comments and shares basically numbers that we see on social Media all the time that we usually compare each other to each other, and beyond that, basically the usual superficial ways in which we measure success on social media. And then I’ll also further add a little bit more on this topic by talking about authenticity labor online, which is a very interesting concept of basically how we portray authenticity in a performative way, in a lot of ways. As that is what is successful and what we crave online, even though everyone well, you can’t say everyone, but a lot of people do it in a very performative way or it is planned authenticity.

Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

You can think of girls, for example, models on Instagram who pose cellulite or their stomach roles to show authenticity whether or not it’s good or bad, which obviously I think it’s great to show real bodies. It is a very planned, quote unquote authenticity by them. This will be basically backed by two research papers, one by Richard Rogers in Otherwise Engaged Social Media From Vanity Metrics to Critical Analytics and The Labor of Visual Authenticity on Social Media exploring Procedures and Audiences Perceptions on Instagram by Phoebe Maris, Sandra Bandraka and Fulker Hanushka. I probably butchered those names, but they were great papers and definitely add a lot of value to this topic. I myself also am a social media intern, marketing intern at a Dutch startup that is producing the world’s first solar car. So, I have the added perspective of working in branding and social media from a company’s perspective which is usually a bit overlooked when it comes to topics of social media and brand building, follower building.

So, first of all, I’d like to go over what it is to be a social media intern and what the company I work for, our goals, what the goals are. So, at the startup I work at it as one of our major goals to grow a loyal fan base. This is a long and hard process with many platforms being used. However, with startup, teams are very small. This definitely means that there is less resources to go around, less people, which makes it hard to hone in on specific platforms and create content that is unique for them because as we know each platform has very different audiences, especially as a company.

Photo by Bastian Riccardi on Unsplash

For example, with our company LinkedIn and Twitter we usually use for more company updates such as investments and milestones. Basically, very related to the core of the company and our status. This drives up our reach and impact by a lot because that’s what we know the audience on LinkedIn craves and react to the best. The other platforms we use are Instagram and Facebook. I’ll mainly focus on Instagram since that is our biggest platform next to LinkedIn.

We use this [Instagram] more for company branding and aligning ourselves with being authentic and true to our brand identity. We have many associations that we want to convey that we use our brand identity book for. However, this is where we show our company people and, for example, we have a Pet Day shoot where we showed off the company employee's pets with our car and other things like that or talking about all the different languages and having people speaking different languages. So, it’s basically allowing for more authentic fuels to the company while still having a very polished look. So, that is a reality of working in this company for social media marketing. Just as a general, a big part is also trying to avoid cringy posts or cringy corporate marketing posts, which happens a lot. And I think it’s a very difficult line to walk on, especially when you want to have a certain image of your company, yet you still want to appeal to the originality, uniqueness and authenticity that users crave. So, before we delve a little more into that, I will cover the two papers. So, the first one is by Richard Rogers and this one talks about vanity metrics to critical analytics.

Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

So basically, you can see it as an alternative metrics or alt-metrics and these can be used to measure reach and impact of social issue networking on social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook or other platforms. This might include measures such as the number of unique contributors to social issue campaign, the longevity or durability of the concern being raised, and the set of actors who specify the concern in the same way but who may not be allies. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that there’s an alternative way of measuring your social media performance and that is going beyond the usual metrics and looking at impact and reach. And reach can be also seen as both the followers you have and reaching people and giving impressions and impact on people who aren’t your followers. This can be done through joining trends, hashtags or just having good content that is very engaging, that gets pushed out to more people. So, this author, Rogers, basically highlights the importance of not just analyzing the superficial metrics that we see, but delving deeper into the information and actually paying attention to the impact, the conversations the content is taking part in. How people react to it and not just look to the immediate first circle of impact, but beyond that, maybe you appeared in a newspaper or somewhere else, which is a big job of the PR team at our company to look at the information that is being spread about us and as well as on social media to see how other people react to us, even if it’s not instigated by our own content and to respond to them and be active in that matter.

Secondly, is the authenticity by the three authors and this article is called The Labor of Visual Authenticity on Social Media exploring procedures, audience and audience perceptions. On Instagram the author suggests that there is a relational congruence or alignment between how content producers intend to be perceived and how their audiences perceive them in terms of authenticity. The congruence is maintained through the use of symbols of authenticity such as presenting a real side of life, being transparent about sponsored content and presenting an unedited self in videos. However, obviously this is different for companies, but we do try to do this through one of our videos that we had a lot of people around the office. We went around obviously it’s pre-planned, but we filmed them and they talk in their native languages and respond to us, which performed really well and is a very authentic show from our company to show our people.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

And through these articles you can really see how important it is to combine looking beyond just the visual or the superficial metrics of like share comments and to go beyond into seeing how do you express yourself in an authentic way while still remaining true to a company, to a brand. Basically, this is a very interesting topic. And I think it is very important for anyone who decides to go into social media marketing to keep this on your mind, to see how to analyze your content, how to analyze and be better and reach more people and have more impact, especially as a startup who’s getting their voice out right now. And we don’t have the luxury of big brands and the money and budget for that. So beyond that, authenticity is of course very subjective to each and on every different group reacts a different way but you must try your best to reach the audience and present yourself in the best way possible.

So that concludes the podcast for today on social media and building a following through the lens of a social media marketing in turn at a startup.



Sne Prasad Alam

Bachelor student at University of Amsterdam. Studying Political Science and Media & Information.