In a world that seems to be filled with fake news and fake lives on social media, online authenticity is what makes you stand out from the crowd and make a mark.
This shift from “perfect life” to “this is what life actually looks like” has been a big part of 2019 and will only continue to influence how everyone presents themselves on social media and online as a whole.
But exposing what your kitchen looks like every day is scary! Let alone sharing some of your deepest fears with an online world, open for anyone to judge. But you can overcome it.
I won’t say these 8 steps will allow you emotional freedom overnight but applied over time and with practice, you’ll be connecting with people around the world, showcasing your authentic self online in no time.
1 - Know Who You Are
Good news: you’ve already completed this step! You've had years to hone your craft and who you are and while we’re always growing and changing - you already have a voice and perspective, it’s just time to share it!
Being your authentic self online isn’t being what everyone else wants you to be, it’s being and sharing who you are and what makes you that way.
Mik Zazon, a fitness health coach, is a perfect example of this. She used to try and be what everyone told her she should be. She did this to the point that it was detrimental to her health. When she decided to embrace her own perspective not only did her health flourish, but her business did as well.
2 - Try Different Approaches
You know who you are and what you are trying to say, now you need to figure out the best way to get your message out there. Everyone else may be writing blog articles, but you aren’t much of a writer - try YouTube videos instead!
The point is to find the best way for you to communicate and get your message and your true self in front of people.
Even when you’ve found the channel you work with best, try changing up how you deliver your message. For example, on a blog, you may start writing very long 2,000-word articles, but realize no ones reading them. You could switch up to shorter 500-1,000 word listicles with lots of images and breaks in your text.
Experiment with different ways to deliver your message and on different platforms to discover what people respond to the most about you.
3 - Do What Interests You
I am asked this every day “What do I need to do to be successful?” While I can answer that question in a general way (build a website, connect with people, commit to your business) - when it comes to specifics, every business has the thing that will work for them!
What’s most important is, what aspect of business growth do you enjoy and will put effort into? Think of it like this: What do I pay to do or what am I already doing now, for free?
This may be interacting in a Facebook Group or creating in-depth guides for a friend. What do you get passionate about without having to be prompted?
This is your authentic way of interacting online, continue it! If you absolutely hate SnapChat and procrastinate interacting on the app, then including it in your business growth and trying to be “authentic” there will never feel right. But if you’re constantly on Facebook, interacting in Groups, then creating a Group around your business will help your authentic self shine!
4 - Support Those Around You
It may seem counterintuitive, but honestly supporting those building their business around you will help your personality and business shine.
Showcase the businesses and the people that support you and that you love. Genuinely feature them over and over again (not sponsored posts on Instagram or with affiliate links). People love to see others supporting each other instead of undercutting each other. Not only will your genuine kindness be appreciated and seen as a breath of fresh air, but it will also attract others to find out more about you and your business.
5 - Continually Invest In Your Growth
Your authentic self isn’t someone stuck in time, you should evolve and change as the world does around you. With that, look to invest in yourself with new courses in business, personal skills, or anything that will help you discover new heights.
Don’t be afraid to share these new ventures with your followers online and showcase what has helped shape this new version of yourself.
This may not even be classes, but tools to better communicate with people. Maybe you have a new camera to make better YouTube videos or you moved your website to a new platform to connect with your audience in a new way - allow your online community to grow and learn together!
6 - Focus On What Makes You Comfortable
While you should get out of your comfort zone a little bit when you’re getting online and trying new things, make sure you are doing it on your terms and you’re comfortable!
Looking good is a nice thing, but if you feel good about what you’re putting out there, you’re relaxed and comfortable - those around you will feel for comfortable, too. But how does this translate to online relationships?
When you create a website, having the most modern designed website may be the hot new trend, but if you’re not comfortable navigating an ultra-modern site and it doesn’t resonate with you - have a website that does! Maybe you still love the low key 90s websites, great, move forward with that design style and make it your own!
The same thought process can apply to what you’re wearing in images for your website or social media. If you rarely dress up, don’t go take professional photos in dressy clothes - wear your jeans and a t-shirt!
This idea is actually what makes Yale Art School’s
website so interesting. It's run by design students and constantly changing. It is by no means an example of fantastic web design, but it gets the job done while incorporating its message that the student’s vision comes first.
Be comfortable with the image you're sharing with people and don’t feel pressured to put out something different simply because everyone else is doing it. People will appreciate your honest and different take simply because it’s your individual self.
7 - Commit
You have your voice, you’re working through what resonates with people, you’re continuing your growth and making sure you’re comfortable on the platforms you’re using and how you’re sharing your message, now make sure you commit to showing up and sharing your message.
This is probably the hardest part of being authentic online, it’s truly showing yourself and expecting others to care and respond to it.
Personally, this was my biggest struggle with my own brand. I felt embarrassed to be “talking” to the “entire internet” and have my friends and family see it (for some reason talking into the internet void was not hard for me!). But I decided to go for it and my friends and family, of course, showed me nothing but support.
While starting, this may not be comfortable, commit to doing it and stick to it! It will get easier and you’ll find that people are there to support you showing your authentic self online!
8 - Tell A Story + Involve Your Audience
If you’re doing all of the above, and not seeing anything move the needle take a look at the story you’re telling.
People love a good story.
It’s why we have a history of storytelling and continue to invent new ways to communicate. We love reading books, listening to the radio, watching TV, Watching YouTube videos, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook - we’re searching for the next story.
Make sure your online presence continues to revolve around a story - but not just that - a story that you include your audience into. You share your story because you know you’re not alone in your feelings and desire, you build an audience because people relate to your story, make sure you incorporate them!
As you tell your story, whether it’s a YouTube video or an Instagram post, engage your audience by asking questions throughout and building to a conclusion every time!
Your online authenticity isn’t an online persona, it’s who you are and how you connect to people...but online. While there are tricks and strategies to connecting to more people faster, if you want to build trust and relationships that will last, your authenticity is what matters most.
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