In advertising circles, the longstanding catchphrase is “content is king” for online strategy. The phrase is a description of the methodology many advertisers use to boost rankings and secure followers (and their loyalty). The theory holds that a business or organization must be churning out regular, insightful, useful content to maintain their followers’ attentions. The statement is also attuned to algorithmic shifts on most social media channels; more likes and shares equals more exposure and a greater audience. Therefore, consistently churn out content to grow your business, the theory holds. Content is king.

However, a new phrase and motto is slowly superseding the “content is king” paradigm. “Be authentic” is fast-becoming the rule and standard for all advertising campaigns. What’s authenticity? Authenticity means creating truthful posts and maintaining an honest “white hat” social media strategy with real followers, likes, and comments. There are hundreds of companies that now sell engagements for your account and create fake followers, likes, and comments that make your account look trustworthy. If you think your social media company has purchased these engagements or if you’re looking for a social media strategy, it’s vital to recognize authenticity now before you take any further steps on your accounts.

Of course, “content is king” and “be authentic” are not mutually exclusive. The idea is to create authentic content. However, the authenticity movement does have connections to content-averse methodology. This is because the content is king strategy has spawned an industry of shoddy writing and content. Fake news if you will. In the race and push to meet the demands of the content is king strategy, some advertisers have forgone more insightful, authentic stories and are churning out fake, non-substantive, spammy content. Nowadays, you can pretty much buy anything online to suit the content model; you can even enter other people’s content into an online application that uses artificial intelligence to rewrite it so it doesn’t look like plagiarism.

The content is king model has its drawbacks. Be authentic is the new standard for all advertising campaigns. But this rule is more than just theoretical. There are real penalties nowadays for being inauthentic, and these penalties can make or break your social media accounts.

The latest news from Instagram has sent many organizations panicking to fix their social media accounts. Instagram announced it would be taking a much tougher stance on all “inauthentic” engagement on its platform. Wired Magazine describes the resulting chaos:

In a section of the forum [BlackHatWorld] usually reserved for sharing the best deals on obtaining fake Instagram followers, concerned users started at least 13 threads to discuss the policy change. “The beginning of the end?” asked one user. “It’s happening,” wrote another, posting a link to Instagram’s press release, which promised to “begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity.” BlackHatWorld users squabbled long into the night over the extent of Instagram’s purge. By Tuesday afternoon, several threads had descended into chaos. Applications had already started to go offline. It was an illicit growth hacker’s worst nightmare—suggesting that this time, perhaps, Instagram might actually be on to something.

What’s the serious issue with inauthentic followers? In a sense, it’s not much different than buying fake reviews for your business. When a user sees an account with 10,000 followers versus 500 followers, they assume that account has social currency or approval. They assume 10,000 of their fellow users have somehow either vetted or approved of this account. That assumption might drive a user engagement that could place their own account at risk. Many social media strategists are not afraid to call this blatant fraud. More from Wired:

Likes, comments, and followers are the currency of Instagram. They are the metrics by which we determine a profile’s worth or an idea’s popularity, but they can be difficult to amass. From this stems their power. An account with tens of thousands of followers inherently seems more legitimate, and trustworthy, than one with three. When an account reaches 10,000 followers, it’s granted access to one of Instagram’s most coveted features: the ability to embed links in Instagram Stories. For a relatively link-averse platform like Instagram, the feature is a big deal and could be used to drive traffic to a particular site or brand. For influencers, who make all or part of their living promoting products through Instagram, the stakes are even higher. Payments for these deals are determined based on perceived reach, so a higher follower count often translates directly into a significantly higher paycheck.

Advertisers who use these black hat methods are reluctant to classify this as fraud however. Their theory is that these fake followers are priming the pump, as they say, or jump-starting an account that would inevitably have organic success no matter what. Instagram is not buying that theory however and has begun warning accounts to stop using these inauthentic services immediately or risk their accounts being edited or blocked.

Cote Media is 100% authentic in all its social media strategies. We use only white hat methods to grow your account. Why hire a company like Cote Media when you might sign up for an online follower growth subscription service? With Cote Media your accounts are safe, secure, and authentic.

Contact us today to secure your account and its authenticity.