If you’ve been around here for awhile, you already know how passionate I am about authenticity. Authenticity is one of the most essential character traits that you need to be successful, especially if you’re an online influencer. Nowadays, our culture is extremely driven by what they read online. In order to make an impact on others, we must stay true to ourselves and to our audience and remain authentic in all that we do, say, and live out.
As influencers, every day we’re faced with decisions that will affect our authenticity in one way or another. Will we compromise our authenticity to get ourselves ahead faster than the genuine way? Will we compromise our authenticity to try and be someone who we’re really not? Will we compromise our authenticity to build ourselves up for the moment, but to ultimately live a lie?
These are the tough questions that we need to be asking ourselves each day. If you feel in any way offended by these questions, then maybe it is time for you to just sit down and chat honestly with yourself. Yes, I’m giving this to you straight up and honest. Dig down deep and don’t lie to yourself.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions. They’re essential to your authenticity. ” username=”SummerTelban”]
Before going any further, I want to share as a disclaimer that I struggle with keeping my authenticity, too. Just because I’m passionate about it doesn’t mean that I’m not tempted to give my authenticity up to further myself sometimes. If I’m being 100% honest here, I think that the fact that I’m passionate about authenticity can make it even more of a struggle somedays. I’m just keeping it real, friends.
WHY IS AUTHENTICITY SO IMPORTANT AS AN ONLINE INFLUENCER?
Authenticity is the heartbeat of every kind of successful leadership. If you’re looking to create connection and conversation with others it has to be honest and true. As online influencers: bloggers or social media influencers, we have to gain the trust of our audience in order to not only further our brand, but to essentially further our reputation and community with our followers. Our readers and community will only devote themselves to us if we’re trustworthy, honest, and genuine in our influence for not only them, but for ourselves. When we’re being authentic, we’re automatically more relatable and easier to connect with. Authenticity is all about being the real you; nothing forced or fake.
The call for us influencers to be authentic is NOT an easy one, but it is the only way we will ever truly grow and develop – as our brand and as people.
HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT I’M BEING AUTHENTIC?
Well, this is a huge question as there are many different things that make up the characteristic of being authentic. If you’re truly wanting to make sure that you’re being authentic, then I can almost assure you that you’re on the right path. Because authenticity is such a large topic, I have decided to break down some factors into different categories of what I have found helpful for keeping my authenticity as an online influencer. If you’ve stayed with me this far, kudos! Let’s dig in.
[bctt tweet=”9 Ways To Keep Your Authenticity As An Online Influencer >>” username=”SummerTelban”]
HOW TO KEEP YOUR AUTHENTICITY AS AN ONLINE INFLUENCER:
1. Check Yourself & Your Motives Daily // If you wake up and go to attack the day with a sound mind, you will get far. So, every day before you get hustling on social media or your blog, have a chat with yourself over coffee and get down to the heart of what you’re doing. Remind yourself of the mission you have by being an online influencer. Remind yourself of the “why” behind your influencing, for the “why” is the passion that fuels you each day. Ask yourself the tough questions that are relevant to your influencing. Be real with yourself about your motives, and if they’re out of line, get them back in line. Only you can get this deep with yourself. If your motives aren’t pure, that will eventually show through for all to see. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
2. Think About What Your Audience Sees // As an influencer, it will always be important to think about what your audience sees when they view your brand or see your postings online. Are they excited to see your material? Are they bored of your content? Do they think you’re sounding too salesy or pushy? Try and put yourself in their shoes to see if you’re fulfilling their needs as someone who’s a part of your community. Now, please don’t misinterpret this as you should only put out content for your audience’s interest. While that is widely important, if it’s not what’s real for you, don’t put it out there. Don’t trade in your authenticity for approval. Your ideal audience will always find you in time.
3. Choose Sponsored Content Wisely // This is probably the tougher one for bloggers. If we can be paid to write, why not, right? While, yes that’s completely awesome for us, we need to make sure the sponsored content that we’re accepting actually fits into our life, brand, niche/blog’s focus. And yes, lifestyle bloggers, that goes for us, too! Just because you identify as lifestyle really does not mean you can post whatever you want. If a sponsored post doesn’t align with your overall focus, then just don’t do it. What’s even more important than that is that you’re spending the time on being authentic and honest in your sponsored content. If someone read through your entire post and felt as if everything was forced, then was that sponsored post worth it? Was it worth the money to possibly lose an audience member? Was it worth the money to compromise your authenticity? I know I’m getting deep here, but this is an essential area to make sure that authenticity is always present and ringing true.
4. Be Consistent In Your Content // Consistency will forever be a key part in growing a brand and community. Consistency helps your ideal audience member to easily identify what you’re all about, which in the end, helps them find comfort and an honesty in your content. Be consistent in your content, friends! This ties in with accepting sponsored posts. While yes, it’s totally okay to have a good few topics to focus on, you have to make sure you’re being effective in those. Are you posting too much about one topic at once? Or are they spread out nicely? Consistency in your content summed up basically means to not confuse your audience.
5. Have An Accountability Partner // Wether you think keeping your authenticity is a struggle for you or not, you should seek out some kind of accountability with a person who’s not afraid to tell you how it is. Sometimes we need the extra eyes or a different point of view to better put our authenticity into effect. While I have some great blog friends that fit this for me, my forever accountability partner will be my husband. He’s not afraid to tell me when I’m wrong or if something seems a bit forced. It’s NOT easy having an accountability partner, but if you’ve got big dreams and big plans, I can honestly say that you’ll need one to grow. If you never get outside of your own mind, it will be a very tough road for genuine growth.
6. Back Up What You Say // Authenticity is the opposite of being fake, so if you’re wanting to stay authentic, always back up what you say. If you’re always spewing out content but never have anything deep and meaty to back it up, then your audience will start to question your authority and reputation. I have seen this happen too many times with bloggers. They launch a webinar with some decent teaching tools, and then pitch their brand new e-course at the end of it. People buy the e-course and then they end up learning nothing. I have experienced this before and I have to say that I have no respect for this blogger now. They’re sitting here launching e-course after e-course and making tons of money off of them, but there is no meat in their content. People are paying hundreds or more for information you can find anywhere online. It’s sad! Well, after some time, others started to notice the same thing. This is just one small reason on why you have to keep your authenticity as an influencer.
7. Listen & Be Responsive // Any good leader has to be a good listener. It’s just something that goes hand-in-hand. Leaders want to know how to provide what’s best for their audience and they want to hear their input on how to maybe do that. Listen to and understand what you’re audience is expressing and then see what you can do about it. Follow through. Always. This goes to answering each email you receive to each comment your receive. It’s a ton of work, but it will make all the more difference.
8. Choose The Straight & Narrow Road With Social Media // I have seen way too many bloggers and social media influencers completely abandon what they stood for all to get a quick (fake) following. Listen, buying followers on any social media platform does NOT make you legit. Don’t compromise your authenticity all because you want a larger following faster than you’re earning it. If you’re being ingenuine (intentionally or not), you will never experience real, earned growth. Just because you don’t “feel” like you’re being inauthentic doesn’t mean that you’re not being just that. If you WANT something, you have to WORK for it. Yep, I said it and will keep saying it. When you’re buying or forging your numbers in anyway (including follow/unfollow), I can guarantee you that people will eventually notice and question your authenticity. So, for the sake of real growth and being authentic, will you just choose the straight and narrow here? Sure, genuine growth take time and requires patience, I promise that it’s way more worth it in the end, never mind the fact that your numbers and engagement will be real.
9. Get Raw & Real // While being polished and put together is a great part of being professional as an online influencer, there comes a time where you could come across as “too good to be true”. Know that it’s okay to just get raw and real with your audience when it’s appropriate to. This is a whole other level of becoming relational, and it’s probably one of the most important. Share the messiness of your behind-the-scenes and tell them about a bad day or experience you had. Let them know that you’re human! The best times I have ever had with a reader of my blog was after I have shared a deep story of mine. It helps create special connection and let’s your audience know that you’re just like them. Be relatable. Be real. Be relational.
To those who’ve actually made it through this entire post, you’re amazing. I really hope this post will be effective when it comes to keeping and growing in authenticity as an online influencer. The authentic way is NEVER the easy way, but it’s the most rewarding way. Let’s chat.