Social media seems to be the heartbeat of today's culture, which I think could be a very good thing along certain guidelines and stipulations. While social media should never replace real life relationships, I do believe it should mirror the same qualities that are needed in real life relationships.
One of the most important qualities that social media users should carry over from their real life relationships to their online community is authenticity. Authenticity is what everyone craves, whether they admit it or not. Authenticity is vulnerability. Authenticity is being raw and real. Authenticity is about the struggles in life. Authenticity is about the joys and celebrations in life. Authenticity is all about being honest and true, and unashamedly the real you.Authenticity is all about being honest and true, and unashamedly the real you. Click To Tweet
We are all wired to crave and desire authenticity, so let's pull off our masks and be what we long for. Let's set the example. Social media as a whole has a bad rap, but we can change that if we're willing to step up and be seen for who we truly are. It's time that we're all honest and bold, whether we're sharing the good or the not-so good. Let's BE the example.
If you're not won over by this little pep talk, please keep on reading further. It's up to us - the bloggers, biz owners, and social media influencers to help turn this ship around for good.
WHY AUTHENTICITY IS SO IMPORTANT IN SOCIAL MEDIA:
It's Inviting // When you're genuine and open on social media, you're essentially creating the perfect atmosphere for others to walk in to. Everyone wants to feel welcomed, and by creating a tone through your social media presence that's inviting is the perfect way to first welcome others into your community. When you welcome guests into your home, you're welcoming them into your real life world. You're not going to put up fake decorations or play music that really isn't your taste. You're going to open up your arms and say "make yourself at home!" and that's exactly what you should be doing on social media, as well.
It Helps You Become Approachable // When I first started blogging, I looked up to many successful bloggers who seemed like they had everything together. All of their content was curated perfectly and their lives seemed to be so easy. Sometimes I wanted to reach out to them for advice, but I never did simply because I didn't think I'd be acknowledged. When you're truly yourself with your audience, they'll feel comfortable to approach you with any questions or conversation. When you're authentic through the good and the bad times, it opens up the door for others to approach you and say "me too".
It Helps Create A Safe Place // Many of us use social media to help find a place for us to fit in. This isn't a bad thing. Think about how many people use social media to find a place to resonate or retreat to, because they don't have that at all in real life. This is the case for so many and it breaks my heart. When we choose to be real and down-to-earth with our community, we're forever cultivating a safe place for them. Just as authenticity helps you become more approachable for others to share "me too", it also helps to constantly be creating that safe haven for those who really need it. I want to encourage you to be on the lookout for those who engage with your content on the regular. Reach out to them and strike up a conversation. You never know how much someone just might be needing that one-on-one connection.
It Helps You Stay True To Yourself // Being completely honest here, I don't always want to be unashamedly real online all of the time. It's not a matter of being fake for me at all, but instead, choosing to leave out some details. Every time I have pushed past my comfort zone to share every detail of how I was feeling, I grew. Each time, I learned in a deeper way what it means to be true to yourself. Sometimes I needed the extra assurance from others to know that it was okay to feel what I did, and other times it was a declaration for me to actually hold myself accountable to how I was growing.
Related Reading: Keeping Your Authenticity As An Online Influencer
It Builds Trust // Just like any relationship, the relationships you make on social media have to be built on trust and honesty. Whether you're on social media to build your brand or you're on it just for fun, being genuine is always the route to take to build trust online. When you're being honest, you're community will pick up on it and cheer you on all the more because of it. This is why I encourage bloggers and social media influencers to only partner with brands they truly love and believe in. It's so clear to your audience if you're promoting a brand just to receive compensation for doing so. This is also the same reason why I'm only for growing your social media channels in a genuine and organic way. If you're buying followers and engaging in fake "growth" methods like follow/unfollow. Your audience is made up of real people. Real people notice. When they notice you're not being authentic, you'll very quickly lose their trust. So, don't become a sell out. When you're genuine and true, people will notice and will continue to trust you.
Related Reading: 5 Key Reasons To Stop Follow/Unfollow
It Showcases Real Life (The Good & The Bad) // It seems like many people associate authenticity with just the messy and unfiltered parts of our lives. The thing is, that's not what authenticity is just about. Authenticity is about being real and transparent about both the joyful and the stretching parts of our lives. It's about sharing our struggles and celebrating our accomplishments. The other day on Instagram, I briefly shared about this as part of my first post for The Imperfect Boss campaign for May. While yes, it's important to share about the messy parts of our lives and experiences, it's just as important to share the good things about our lives! I'm someone who really strives to keep my humility, and it took me awhile to learn that I can share my joys and accomplishments while still remaining humble. You should join in with #theimperfectboss community over on Instagram!
It Builds Community // At the end of the day, when you're truly yourself with others online, you're building community. When you keep yourself authentic online, you're constantly cultivating a healthy environment for not just yourself to grow, but for others to grow. Just like authenticity, we all crave and desire community. In order to have open and honest community, we need to first be genuinely ourselves - flaws, gifts, and all. Whether you're wanting to grow your brand or simply grow your online relationships, authenticity is the key to achieving true and thriving community.
Why is authenticity so important to you in social media? What points here really hit home for you? Are there any points that aren't here that you'd love to share? Let's be the example. Let's be authentic. Let's chat!