Author Glennon Doyle says, “There are not two of you- Internet you and Real you. There is only one of you. If you aren’t kind on the Internet, then you’re not kind.” If you are trying to keep your internet life and real life separate, chances are you will either feel or come across as inauthentic. That’s not good for your business or your heart.
First, let’s talk about what it means to be authentic because I think there are a lot of varying definitions. To me, being authentic means that the choices you are making, the statements you are saying, or the actions you are taking all line up with your own set of values and is something you would stand by in a year or two years. Being authentic doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone everything about yourself, but instead that what you are sharing is the real you; who you are, how you treat people, and what you believe. That’s not to say you have to share everything you believe unless you want to. Another thing to keep in mind is that being authentic does not mean you cannot choose to protect privacy in your home life, relationships, or financial life. As a business or influencer or social media user (*cough* all of us *cough*) this can be a hard line to walk.
Here are a few ways I have been able to remain authentic online.
ONE: I don’t “photoshop” – I add filters and change exposure to my images, but I don’t photoshop out zits or change my size. It is important to provide an honest representation of you or your product for your followers.
TWO: I value consistency in what I share, but I am not afraid to change. I am not owned by my brand. If my brand needs to shift direction then I allow it to do just that. Life is not only one filter and as you grow so does your content. Be sure to acknowledge this and be mindful of changes you make. Note: I do not recommend changing all your branding and content overnight and alienating your community.
THREE: Show some behind the scenes! You don’t always need to have a full face of makeup on or a clean room (my number one struggle) to connect with your people. Instagram stories and Facebook Lives are a great way to show the unedited life you live. I highly recommend holding Q&A’s, showing what happens behind the scenes of an Instagram photo you posted in your feed or showing the realities of being an entrepreneur (because it’s not always pretty). The reason to do this is to show not only how awesome even the unglamorous parts of your life are, but it is a great way to connect with people who might think your Instagram Feed is exactly what your life looks like. Pull the curtain back, show your imperfections and the response you get will be inspiring.
FOUR: Be passionate about whatever you are sharing with others! There is nothing more frustrating than scrolling through a feed where you can tell the person doesn’t believe in the brand they are sponsoring, is just putting on a preset for a photo because it went with the feed, or tweeted about whatever was trending even if they have never shown an interest in it before.
FIVE: Don’t endorse brands, people, or causes just because it pays the bills. It is important that you are sharing things that you believe in, especially if you are recommending them to your community. If you wouldn’t recommend it to a close friend, turn down the opportunity. There will be others.
SIX: Don’t just do it for the money, fame, or glamor. You want to be offering something to the world! Identify not only what you want to offer but why. If you are sharing your style and love of fashion do it to inspire other young fashionistas, or if you are sharing your wellness journey do it because you want to show others how to progress in their own journey. Maybe you share your social media knowledge not to show how much you know but to make the challenge of staying up to date a little bit easier and help others grow their own platforms.
No matter what you do be sure that anything you post online is something you would do or say in real life! If you would never eat kale then don’t post a recipe for a kale smoothie or a pic of you drinking it. Be you. Share your heart. If everything you post online is a reflection of who you are and who you aspire to be, your tribe will follow.