“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Regardless of how you feel about this over-shared Oscar Wilde quote, it holds some truth when it comes to how you should interact online. Meaning, you just be yourself.
Society is obsessed with ‘how things are done’ and ‘who’s doing it best’. And it’s great to see great online marketers post, share and tweet. They are often excellent at providing examples of what to do. What’s scary for most people are the stories of unsuspecting marketing “experts” who make huge mistakes. No one wants something they do to be so bad, a twitter hashtag is made up just for them.
What no one talks about is how rare it is for something like this to happen to the average person. The argument for being yourself online is much more compelling: no one wants to be bored, and the quickest way to bore someone is to try and be someone else.
Second, the whole point to being on social media is to make connections. If you’re on social media with the intent to connect, the people you connect with are only going to want more from you: more posts, more content, more shares. If you’re being inauthentic, keeping up with this facade only means more work. And who wants more work?
Last, you want the people who sign up to your newsletter, purchase your products or go to your events to know exactly what they’re getting so there are no surprises. The last thing you want are demands for a refunds or people unsubscribing because what you’re offering them is “not what they expected”.
Here are five ways you can be your authentic self online:
- Follow people who you like and you think of as authentic. Who you follow says a lot about you. By following and getting to know people you like, you’re telling your potential followers who you are without really saying anything.
- Share content you find entertaining and interesting. This one might seem kind of obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to remember that in addition to who you follow, what you share says a lot about you too.
- Type like you speak. When it comes to how you share, think of how you would send content to a friend or a group you’re familiar with. The language you use to share with people you know and people you don’t, shouldn’t really be that different.
- Don’t forget your website and blog! The online assets you own is where you can really let your authenticity show. If the tone of your voice is different on your website and blog than it is on social media, your followers and readers might wonder who you really are. Make sure every piece of content you publish has your you-ness.
- Make it you, down to the smallest piece of content. The devil really is in the details. Imagine you meet someone who is impeccably well-dressed every time you see them, but one day you notice their nails are dirty. Maybe you just check it once, or maybe it’s something you can never ignore again. Either way, you noticed it. Keep a consistent voice online by making even the smaller pieces of content speak to who you are. For example, instead of having a ‘Subscribe’ button for a blog, how about a ‘Commit’, ‘Get More’ or ‘Fill My Mailbox’ button instead?
These are just some of the ways you can start being your authentic self online. For more examples of how other people have successfully (or not-so-successfully, it’s arguable) found a way to be who they are online, check out Penelope Trunk, Seth Godin, Tracy McMillan and Richard Branson.