Be authentic!! How often have you heard someone say that and wondered in the back of your mind, “Well, yeah…but what does that MEAN?”
It’s a big word that everyone keeps throwing around, but do we really understand what it means to be authentic?
Let’s define authenticity real quick: To be authentic is to be original, genuine, reliable, and true to one’s beliefs. A few other words we could use are credible, legitimate, and real.
In the online world, it’s super easy to hide your identity behind an online persona – to project the person you want to be and hide your real self. However, this creates a world of false identity, misleading information, and worst of all, lack of trust.
And no one knows who to trust.
And then an even bigger problem arises: We tend to avoid people we don’t trust.
Because of this, when someone shows up who is transparent and real about who they are and what they do, people get excited! They want to be around that person because they know what they’re going to get.
Authentic people are emotionally mature and function fully as human beings. They don’t attempt to do or be what they can’t or aren’t. They learn how to be genuine and personable and approachable, without being fake.
Online, your brand and you are the same things. It’s something I say over and over – you’re not branding a company or a product, you’re branding you.
Here’s what it means to be authentic in the online world:
- Be realistic – don’t expect the world (or your clients and customers) to bend in impossible ways. Expect people to be human, and be okay with being human yourself.
- Accept yourself. And accept others.
- Be thoughtful – put yourself in other’s shoes and react in ways that honor their limitations.
- Have fun – but don’t be hostile with your humor. Poking fun at others for entertainment or to make a point is never okay.
- Express your emotions. Don’t try to hide that you sometimes have terrible days. Some days, it’s hard to function, and we all have to admit that.
- Learn from your own mistakes. Don’t hide the mistakes you made in the past – let those issues refine who you are today!
- Have realistic motivations.
But, can You Sell with Authenticity?
Yes, you can. Ultimately, online selling should be done in an authentic, relational way or people have no reason to come back to you. It used to be that in order to get certain items, you had to go to a specific location. Now, if you don’t like the person/website you bought something from, there are hundreds more lining up to sell to you. The main reason to return to the same seller twice is relationship.
And no one wants to have a relationship with someone who comes across as fake.
Here are a few ways to be authentic in your online business:
Be encouraging, share your story. Foster social conversations around your business. Accept criticism when it comes, but don’t let it pull you down!
Tell your own story about how your product changed your life.
Focus on the Individual
Your audience is not a homogenous mass! As individuals, we speak in different ways to different people, and your brand should be no different. Consider whether you’re addressing those who know your business well or those who are just getting to know you.
Keep your ear open for changes in the consumer landscape and tune in to what is important to your audience. Your people are designing reality, what is important, and what is trendy and interesting. Listen and engage in a candid manner, and your message will resonate.
People can spot inauthenticity a mile away. People expect brands to speak in real voices, and that the people behind the brands will share their real, authentic truths. This is how we connect, by sharing a little piece of ourselves with the world!
People can spot inauthenticity a mile away. People expect brands to speak in real voices, and that the people behind the brands will share their real, authentic truths. Real connections with real people happen when we let go of who we think we NEED to be and allow ourselves to be vulnerable and authentic. Stop holding yourself back and connect by sharing a little piece of yourself with the world! Do you need a safe place to be real? I’d love to invite you to join me in the #ThinkSocial Society (Discounted just for you) where we hold each other accountable to our presence and personality online. This membership group is a wonderful community where entrepreneurs of every kind can meet and share life in a real, caring way. I’ll see you there!