I recently went to a networking evening and the keynote speaker (a young musician who’d been through a tough time) spoke about authenticity and the importance of it in your online marketing. I hear it a lot. I talk of it a lot. More and more, especially at the moment I am feeling the need to be it, and to be surrounded by it.
I was also reminded of it during my few days away with the marvellous Helen from Guilty Mothers Club. She helped me see through the gloss and polish, but also the mundane and generic, and delve into what is authentic to me.
I even wrote recently about it in my Keeping it Real blog, but I guess I hadn't fully listened to my own advice... well, not on social media anyway. I do believe that here I am truly me, but all over the wonderful online platforms that I find myself in, well that's a different story.
*warning - slight swears below*
There is so much bullshit online. There is sales and marketing bullshit around us in our lives and our news feeds. To be honest, I’m getting so bored of it. It’s becoming desperate and I’m longing for something more. I’m exhausted with it and it just all feels a little fake and over-done.
Being immersed in social media as I am, managing accounts and scheduling as well as researching and doing my own, I see the monotony. I can spot a mile off a badly ‘managed’ social media post. There are so many people out there constructing social media updates that have no connection or idea of the organisation they are working for. It saddens me that businesses are getting ripped off by social media ‘experts’ who can promise hundreds of followers and then just splurge out the same kind of post regardless of what type of organisation they are working for.
I understand why there is a need for help though – we are all told that we need to post more and more to get a following but we never have time so we can get other people to do it for us.
Of course need to engage and we need to retweet and we need to share. But instead of doing it in a constructed way, why don’t we just keep it real? Why don’t we show more of the real us?
Don’t get me wrong, I know there is also so much beauty online. And I love to have beauty in my feed. I love inspirational images of views and adventures and exploring and creativity, as well as fun and humour and warmth - it’s important to have that over the more negative news reports or trolling on posts. But when it becomes something that is just a little too stylised or generic I struggle. I’m not sure I quite believe it. I want storytelling, not sales speak. I want intrigue, not perfection. I want the peculiar and the unusual. I don’t want the same kind of image or post or hashtag over and over and over again because the account (or social media manager) thinks that is what attracts followers.
I’m envious of other Instagram accounts who are all glossy and streamlined and beautifully curated.
I was scared because I didn’t know how to do that myself. I didn’t believe that was me. I couldn’t give them what I thought they wanted from me.
But then I looked at some of those accounts that I adore following and just realised that I didn’t have to present myself in that way, not if it isn’t right for my audience. I don’t have to be just like everyone else to be successful in my feed. I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing just so I can get followers. I have to allow myself to be myself. I just have to do it in a way I’m 100% happy with.
I’ve recently re-started my business Instagram account after having most of this year off (I’m so ashamed to admit that, bearing in mind I run training sessions on how to make the most of your business using Instagram) because I didn’t know how to speak to my audience in an authentic way I was sure of.
I know I've said this before (but maybe I didn't believe myself, or wasn't brave enough); I realised I just had to be me. I just had to talk to my audience as if I am talking to them in real life. And I have to have in mind those people that I regularly communicate with. It’s not actually that hard – picture your client, or customer, and write as if you are talking to them. That’s how we get real authenticity, by literally being ourselves. Let’s get rid of the bullshit. My business life isn’t polished, it’s clumsy and experimental and friendly and fun. I want to express that.
I’d love you to come and see the new me on Instagram. It isn’t as beautiful or as clever or as intriguing or remarkable as others, but I’ll be sharing some gorgeous work by creative businesses and I’ll be telling a little story or two along the way.
I’ll hopefully see you there.
What’s your story? Are you happy with your level of authenticity online? Or are you struggling with the message you’re putting out there? Let me know and I can see if I can help.
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01884 266045 / 07969 044006