If you are an entrepreneur using social media to grow your business, authenticity is crucial. Today’s culture is ravenous for real-life experiences via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and now IGTV. In fact, statistics show that women now spend more time watching Instagram Stories than television!
People are drawn to authenticity.
Our society wants “real,” genuine, true representation of day-to-day life in the social media space. We crave it not only for entertainment, but I believe for connection as well. We want to know we’re not the only one who has an endless mountain of laundry and gets to work on time by the grace of coffee and dry shampoo. Am I right?
Quite simply, authenticity just means you, presenting the real you in your social media content. We are driven to follow and observe the “real lives” of others. It resonates deep in the soul. We want to see others succeed! But when it comes to sharing our own story, we get caught up in perfectionism a.k.a. fear of rejection.
So as your friend, if you are struggling with sharing the “real” you… I’m about to give you some tough love. STOP IT!! Just be you. People have a low tolerance for those who try too hard to appear as if they have their life totally together. It’s actually a turn off. So don’t do that, ok? Pinky swear.
Not everyone is going to like you. If you’re a people pleaser like me, that might be hard to hear. But it’s true. It’s also true that the “real” you will attract “real” followers who “get” you. And that’s the goal!
Authenticity is where the heart is.
It’s what gives meaning to life. If you are running an online business, you must connect to the hearts of your followers in order for them to know, like and trust you.
Here are 5 tips to be more authentic online:
- Share emotion. It’s literally impossible for a human to be emotionless, so go ahead and let it go, girl. You will have good days and bad. Some days you may feel frustration, others you may feel regret. We all relate to emotions, so don’t be afraid to share. Having said that, you also want to add some sort of value in what you share. So if you had a bad day and you’re very frustrated, be sure to also share how you overcame it. Allow your audience to connect with you so that they can see themselves in your story.
- Share stories. Humans are hard-wired for stories. Before there was ever a written word, storytelling was the best source of history, entertainment and community. Our minds seek connections between what is known and what is unknown and your story can be the catalyst to help someone to bridge an important gap in their lives. Your story can literally help someone rewrite their life story. It doesn’t have to be a grand tale. Some of the best stories are the simplest. Just be real.
- Share failures. Being vulnerable enough to share when you’ve fallen short or made a mistake is crucial to develop trust with your audience. You don’t have to air all your dirty laundry to provide a valuable lesson learned when things don’t go as planned. In my book, true failure only comes when we don’t learn a lesson. So share your tough times, but wrap it up with a lesson learned. Such an awesome value to share!
- Be yourself. When creating written or live content, speak like you normally would in person. It does you no good to try and use vocabulary that is not yours or sound like someone you’re not. If you’re goofy, be goofy. If you are casual, be casual. If you like million dollar words, use them. If you love Jesus, talk about it. Your ideal audience will connect with the real you and that’s the ultimate goal.
- Speak to one person. One of the toughest habits I’ve had to break is addressing a wide audience instead of one person. Stop saying “Hey everyone!” Instead, speak to one person and make that one on one connection. When you speak as if to one person, people pick up on that and feel like it’s a special connection. One trick I like to use is to pretend I’m talking to a good friend across the table at a coffee shop. Imagine your favorite person sitting there – you know – the one who laughs at your jokes and thinks you’re pretty cool. Talk to her.
If you’re not sure how to show your authentic self (it’s not uncommon!), ask close friends and family what makes you you – what characteristics and qualities do they enjoy about you?
It seems a little silly that it can be so scary to just be yourself. But just remember that there is no one like you. You are one of a kind! And your ideal audience is out there, waiting to hear from you!