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Brands + Social Authenticity with Freshwire CEO Shawn Amos

Meet Shawn Amos: A former record producer, a lifelong pop culture custodian and the CEO of digital content creation agency Freshwire. Shawn thinks that when it comes to social media, brands need the courage to embrace spontaneity.

GMR:

What are the common threads you're seeing between brands that are finding success in the social world today?

SA:

The brands succeeding today are the brands getting comfortable stepping outside of themselves and talking about subject matter other than their businesses. Social media continues to build this world in which brands are embedded into the everyday conversations that consumers are already having with each other. It challenges them to act more authentically because, if they don't, they're just misfits. They look uncomfortable. The brands that are really succeeding are learning to talk more about the things they actually dig - the things that real people are talking about. They're learning to build and sustain two-way conversations around things they care about.

GMR:

"Authenticity" is a word we hear a lot in the brand world. What is your advice to brands who are trying to decipher what that means to their consumers?

SA:

For starters, being authentic doesn't mean being everywhere. Not every platform is right for every brand. Brands have to identify the platforms that are the most natural fit for their voices and their consumers, and use them to inspire real, two-way conversations. In order to be authentic, brands have to have the courage to let the conversation go wherever it may go. It's a somewhat daunting leap for a lot of businesses because, before the social media revolution, brands went to great lengths not to engage with their customers. Social media has completely democratized that relationship. Being authentic in the social space isn’t unlike doing it in the real world – brands have to be kind, engaging and open to outside voices.

GMR:

For some brands, developing a more “human” voice on social media comes as a bit of a contrast to existing corporate messaging. Are discrepancies between traditional and corporate messaging something that brands need to reconcile?

SA:

Not necessarily. Social media has definitely altered the way brands convey their messages, but not specifically the messages themselves. I think it's most important for a brand using social media to first identify and solidify their messages within the organization and then get strategic about turning them into social content and conversations. Really thinking about how different facets of their brands extend across peoples real lives and passions. Social conversations don’t have to be at odds with corporate messaging. They’re a different piece of the puzzle.

Shawn Amos is CEO of Freshwire, formerly Amos Content Group, a joint venture between Fleishman-Hillard and GMR Marketing. Freshwire is a digital content creation service helping businesses and brands express and sustain their online voice through the creation of original editorial and video content.

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