Can We Talk About Authenticity On Social Media?

Let’s get back to the basics about authenticity and engagement on social media, shall we? Oh, and by authenticity, I’m not talking about creating perfect content. I’m really diving into stuff like the laid-back honesty that makes content so attractive and rare, and the kind of posting we do without thinking only about the impact on our public image (that’s the moment we toss that swimsuit shot out).

On social media, we’ve largely stopped being ourselves but for me authenticity is where the magic occurs.

 Here’s why!

The people who engage with you, even when you are at your most vulnerable, are your perfect people. In the world of word of mouth marketing, those people and relationships are precious. 

But here is where we go wrong as content creators. In our quest for perfection, we lose sight of the most important thing that social media is designed for, the stuff that really moves the needle in our small businesses and i.e conversation.

We need to be social on the platforms we show up on and spark conversations by being authentic in what we say and do. Authenticity is a big needle mover for me but I have to confess it’s a word that gets bandied about a lot without going one level deeper and asking, what does it really mean?

How Can Authenticity Drive Engagement On Social Media

So what’s authenticity? It’s simple. It means being genuine and real. 

I enjoy content when life gets real and vulnerable and people show it. This involves more than just showing up on Instagram without makeup and the fancy clothes. 

Ok, so maybe this is not groundbreaking advice. We all know it but I  don’t mind saying it again. Authenticity rocks! Look, you’ll never hear me rigorously debate that having an aspirational feed isn’t a good thing or that curating a gorgeous platform that delights and inspires your followers isn’t worthy. However, honesty and transparency are also delightful ways to create communion. 

No one described this  better than television personality, activist, mother, and wife to Canada’s Prime Minister, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau when she discussed her battle with eating disorders.

To be able to see yourself as you truly are, and to be able to accept yourself as you truly are. That is probably the biggest gift a human can benefit from on all levels. We’re pulled in so many different directions that it’s tough for, especially young people to find their center. A lot of people say, “Just be yourself.” What does that mean?

For the answer we can look to one of my favourite creators, Finding Paola. 

The Story Of Paola

Finding Paola is at the top of the content game.  She is among the top ten Haitian-born, African American creative influencers that folks lean into to get the best visual content combined with first class storytelling.  When she shares content, we inhale it for its artistry and its beauty. 

Recently Paola had a son. It was her second baby but it wasn’t a curated, cute mother/son moment that got so many talking. It was a raw picture of her stapled, scarred stomach post delivery which she shared  that provoked a mammoth discussion  about the realness of childbirth.

To me that’s authenticity and people are thirsty for it. “People want truth, connection, intimacy and honesty.” Life is not always perfect and why should we always feel the need to pretend it is. 

Let’s apply this to your small business now.,

Integrating Authenticity into your business

Social media is a highlight reel. Once you admit that, you’ve already won because it means that you can use it to chase and move the needle on your dreams. You can propel your ideas and have unprecedented access to share them with millions. This has never been afforded to us before. That’s a hefty acknowledgement to make.

Got me? I want to emphasise this duality though. Social media is public but it is also highly personal. A lot of it is determined by your personality and how much your want to share, ‘undershare,’ or overshare and none of it is inauthentic.  

Some PraCTICAL steps to take

However, once you want to connect in a more meaningful way with other humans on the planet, you’ll find it necessary to become more resolute in taking people behind the scenes of your work and life. You can begin with a mind map. I do this every Sunday. I look at things moving the needle in my business, the challenges I’ll face, the wins and the losses.

Instead of being resistant to the idea that life is perfect, I openly accept the idea that it is ok to share when it is not all roses and glam.

My content begins with the idea that my business is perfectly imperfect and it’s ok to talk about the things I want to share with the world however murky it is.

TIP: You can show the scars without sharing the open wounds. 

Once you accept the link between authenticity and engagement,  your brain becomes more open to the idea about what kind of content is genuine and worthy of sharing. Here’s how that works in a business.

If you sell a product then share the inner working of how you do what you do every day, how you design, the offers you make, what challenges you face: the struggle, the finance issues, the loneliness, the inefficiencies. Invite comments. Fold your followers into your world. Service provides can share too by showcasing the difficulties that go into creating a customer experience.

A Pearl Of Wisdom About Engagement and Getting Real

 Once you’ve generated enough authentic content, your brain starts to reflexively feel  that it is ok to be you, to be real without being concerned with the judgment of others. You actually start yearning to be more real. This  is not easy.

Most creators and small biz owners never get past their notion of perfection. They fear every story will be criticised, every image scrutinised. Soon enough they sit in a prison of fear and risk-aversion. Authenticity begins to seem like a bad idea but it really isn’t.

Let’s go back to Paola. She is not superwoman. Even she had a moment of self doubt. “I told myself I would start photographing and writing more about some things that make me uncomfortable, and this was a hard one. Why did I photograph this? Better yet what am I sharing it?” 

She overcame everyone’s judgement and  told her story.

If you want to take action on what I’ve just told you hare are some tips. 

As you plan out your weekly content calendar, be open to the idea of showing some of your bruises. Allot time for building imperfect content, real stories into your agenda. Be relentless about emptying the wastewater that comes with the need to be somebody else other than who you really are, a human still learning  and evolving while sharing your gifts in the world.

Finally, what I know about authenticity is this:

  • Your creative work will always start with a desire to be perfect.
  • You have to identify what makes that desire something that comes for a fear of judgment or  the idea that you have to be perfect to start
  • You work on that fear and create content that’s authentic and shows who you are as a human being still learning and growing.
  • One you embrace that however slowly, you’ll begin to see how good it feels to share the cool things, the wins, the projects while not  discounting the hard, difficult things, for those too are equally as  precious and important. 

Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world
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Let’s get back to the basics about authenticity and engagement on social media, shall we? Oh, and by authenticity, I’m not talking about creating perfect content. I’m really diving into stuff like the laid-back honesty that makes content so attractive and rare, and the kind of posting we do without thinking only about the impact on our public image (that’s the moment we toss that swimsuit shot out).

On social media, we’ve largely stopped being ourselves but for me authenticity is where the magic occurs.

 Here’s why!

The people who engage with you, even when you are at your most vulnerable, are your perfect people. In the world of word of mouth marketing, those people and relationships are precious. 

But here is where we go wrong as content creators. In our quest for perfection, we lose sight of the most important thing that social media is designed for, the stuff that really moves the needle in our small businesses and i.e conversation.

We need to be social on the platforms we show up on and spark conversations by being authentic in what we say and do. Authenticity is a big needle mover for me but I have to confess it’s a word that gets bandied about a lot without going one level deeper and asking, what does it really mean?

How Can Authenticity Drive Engagement On Social Media

So what’s authenticity? It’s simple. It means being genuine and real. 

I enjoy content when life gets real and vulnerable and people show it. This involves more than just showing up on Instagram without makeup and the fancy clothes. 

Ok, so maybe this is not groundbreaking advice. We all know it but I  don’t mind saying it again. Authenticity rocks! Look, you’ll never hear me rigorously debate that having an aspirational feed isn’t a good thing or that curating a gorgeous platform that delights and inspires your followers isn’t worthy. However, honesty and transparency are also delightful ways to create communion. 

No one described this  better than television personality, activist, mother, and wife to Canada’s Prime Minister, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau when she discussed her battle with eating disorders.

To be able to see yourself as you truly are, and to be able to accept yourself as you truly are. That is probably the biggest gift a human can benefit from on all levels. We’re pulled in so many different directions that it’s tough for, especially young people to find their center. A lot of people say, “Just be yourself.” What does that mean?

For the answer we can look to one of my favourite creators, Finding Paola. 

The Story Of Paola

Finding Paola is at the top of the content game.  She is among the top ten Haitian-born, African American creative influencers that folks lean into to get the best visual content combined with first class storytelling.  When she shares content, we inhale it for its artistry and its beauty. 

Recently Paola had a son. It was her second baby but it wasn’t a curated, cute mother/son moment that got so many talking. It was a raw picture of her stapled, scarred stomach post delivery which she shared  that provoked a mammoth discussion  about the realness of childbirth.

To me that’s authenticity and people are thirsty for it. “People want truth, connection, intimacy and honesty.” Life is not always perfect and why should we always feel the need to pretend it is. 

Let’s apply this to your small business now.,

Integrating Authenticity into your business

Social media is a highlight reel. Once you admit that, you’ve already won because it means that you can use it to chase and move the needle on your dreams. You can propel your ideas and have unprecedented access to share them with millions. This has never been afforded to us before. That’s a hefty acknowledgement to make.

Got me? I want to emphasise this duality though. Social media is public but it is also highly personal. A lot of it is determined by your personality and how much your want to share, ‘undershare,’ or overshare and none of it is inauthentic.  

Some PraCTICAL steps to take

However, once you want to connect in a more meaningful way with other humans on the planet, you’ll find it necessary to become more resolute in taking people behind the scenes of your work and life. You can begin with a mind map. I do this every Sunday. I look at things moving the needle in my business, the challenges I’ll face, the wins and the losses.

Instead of being resistant to the idea that life is perfect, I openly accept the idea that it is ok to share when it is not all roses and glam.

My content begins with the idea that my business is perfectly imperfect and it’s ok to talk about the things I want to share with the world however murky it is.

TIP: You can show the scars without sharing the open wounds. 

Once you accept the link between authenticity and engagement,  your brain becomes more open to the idea about what kind of content is genuine and worthy of sharing. Here’s how that works in a business.

If you sell a product then share the inner working of how you do what you do every day, how you design, the offers you make, what challenges you face: the struggle, the finance issues, the loneliness, the inefficiencies. Invite comments. Fold your followers into your world. Service provides can share too by showcasing the difficulties that go into creating a customer experience.

A Pearl Of Wisdom About Engagement and Getting Real

 Once you’ve generated enough authentic content, your brain starts to reflexively feel  that it is ok to be you, to be real without being concerned with the judgment of others. You actually start yearning to be more real. This  is not easy.

Most creators and small biz owners never get past their notion of perfection. They fear every story will be criticised, every image scrutinised. Soon enough they sit in a prison of fear and risk-aversion. Authenticity begins to seem like a bad idea but it really isn’t.

Let’s go back to Paola. She is not superwoman. Even she had a moment of self doubt. “I told myself I would start photographing and writing more about some things that make me uncomfortable, and this was a hard one. Why did I photograph this? Better yet what am I sharing it?” 

She overcame everyone’s judgement and  told her story.

If you want to take action on what I’ve just told you hare are some tips. 

As you plan out your weekly content calendar, be open to the idea of showing some of your bruises. Allot time for building imperfect content, real stories into your agenda. Be relentless about emptying the wastewater that comes with the need to be somebody else other than who you really are, a human still learning  and evolving while sharing your gifts in the world.

Finally, what I know about authenticity is this:

  • Your creative work will always start with a desire to be perfect.
  • You have to identify what makes that desire something that comes for a fear of judgment or  the idea that you have to be perfect to start
  • You work on that fear and create content that’s authentic and shows who you are as a human being still learning and growing.
  • One you embrace that however slowly, you’ll begin to see how good it feels to share the cool things, the wins, the projects while not  discounting the hard, difficult things, for those too are equally as  precious and important. 

Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world

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