If I were to ask you what the most important thing about your biz is, which of these would you guess is the right answer (according to me anyway LOL)?
- Having a great product or service.
- Being visible on social media.
The most important thing about your presence online (or on social media) is your authenticity.
Did you guess that?
Gladys, tell her what she’s won!!! (Sorry, got carried away in game show host mode LOL)
So let’s dig into what this means for your biz… and how you can express your authenticity better online.
How to Be Authentic Online & Build Connection
What does “authenticity” mean?
Authenticity online means – being yourself. The messy parts and the rad parts.
Are you showing up authentically?
Are you telling the truth?
Are you copying someone else’s content, hashtags, or ideas because you want to do things “right” instead of doing things your way?
Are you putting on a show? Because you THINK that’s what sells online.
Well, my friend, I’m here to tell ya… you being YOU is what sells online.
And yet when it comes down to it, most of us don’t know ourselves as well as we probably should.
For example, if I were to ask you what your core values and beliefs are, would you be able to rattle off a list from the top of your head?
Most people would fully deliver deer in headlights.
And that’s ok.
I discovered this the hard way.
For realz, I don’t even want you to look at the first few years of my social media accounts and what I was posting about because I. Did. Not. Get. This. At the time.
And once I DID get this, that’s when my visibility and follower counts jumped.
And not just jumped with bots and randos. But high quality community members who are still with me today.
Authenticity means putting yourself out there. Being honest and real. Sharing your fails as well as your wins.
It’s slapping on an “everything is awesome” veneer… when everything is NOT awesome.
It’s not lying about what you believe in – or who you are – to grow an audience.
Doing that may boost your vanity metrics for the short term (AKA: numbers that don’t really matter, like the number of people who follow you or how many likes you get on a particular post)...
But it’s not gonna build a thriving biz in the long run.
At the end of the day, you need to be you… to enroll people into your vision. And then leverage those relationships to grow your biz online.
Does authenticity really matter in business?
If ya ask me, authenticity matters more than all the tactics out there.
More than posting on social every day. More than having the best email subject lines out there. More than having the ultimate no-brainer product or service.
When you are authentic, you build relationships built on trust and value. That go beyond the surface and last for years.
Now maybe you’re thinking… ok but aren’t filters lying? Isn’t getting plastic surgery or fillers or fake tans being inauthentic?
Isn’t all of being online (especially social media) just a big fat fake out? *screams into the void*
In some cases… yeah.
I’ll give you a silly example (one you’ll probably recognize if you’re into pop culture).
If you know anything about the Kardashian crew, then you know they are NOTORIOUS for photoshop fails on their Instagram accounts. Seriously, like slimming their body parts with filters and apps.
Check this Zoomed in shot of a pic from Koko on IG…
Total photoshop fail. (Unless claws are the latest body modification we all need to get in line for. #yikes)
Point being, clearly fake. Clearly inauthentic.
And you know what happens every time they do this and get caught?
They get dragggggggged by their fans—and in the media—for it.
Now, I’m not saying it’s hurting their business really. They seem to be doing just fine. LOL
But the perception of them is that they’re fake.
And while a certain percentage of the population is cool with that—AKA will still spend money with them—I personally don’t get it.
And I think you're more like me…. you want to connect authentically with the audience you’ve built or are in the process of building.
You want a business built on relatability. Real connection.
You're a heart-centered leader who got into your biz to genuinely help people, right?
Thought so. Then you probably want to connect authentically.
But if you aren’t clear on who you are, knowing exactly HOW to show up authentically (and consistently) can be a challenge.
How to express yourself authentically online.
So let’s say you’re hearing all this and you’re like, “Yes, I’m in! I wanna connect authentically online! Sooooo just how do I do that?!?”
I’m gonna help ya out.
Part 1: You start by getting intentional.
When you think about your long-term goals for your biz and your life, what does that look like?
Why is that future important to you?
And what are you willing to commit to in order to make it happen?
When you start thinking about your content and how you want to show up and engage authentically, it’s time to consider your vision, your values, and your beliefs.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Who are you?
- What do you care about?
- Why do you care?
- What do you have to say?
These are critical to helping you get clear on who you want to help in your biz. AKA define your ideal client or customer – and then create a detailed profile of them.
Then you’re ready for the next step.
Part 2: You get brave.
Yep, the other part of this equation is being brave enough to put the real you out there. To share your story. Messy parts and all.
Here’s an example from my own biz…
You know I’m a vegan, right?
I choose this for health reasons. Because my body isn’t like most people’s. For realz, my intestines are actually on the wrong side of my body. And wrapped up in knots.
Baby, I was born this way.
(And yes, I’m channeling this queen’s energy as I say that. LOL)
Anyway, I’ve discovered that when I eat certain foods – or don’t give my gut a chance to rest (which is why I intermittent fast) – it causes me actual pain.
TMI? Probably. But it’s the truth.
But even with all that, does that mean I eat clean 24/7? Or that I’m perfect?
I’ll totally sneak in a gluten free, vegan donut. Or some fries every now and then. And I’m a sucker for a spicy cacao latte.
Not to mention I’ll totally mix up foods the rest of my family thinks are disgusting, like plantain chips with ranch seasoning. (Try it, you have no idea what you’re missing!)
But what I’ve realized is… when I post about those things… when I authentically share my interests and how I live my life (and WHY)… I create insiders and outsiders.
Insiders are the people who get me. Who like me for who I am and resonate with me.
Outsiders are everyone else.
If someone chooses to unfollow me… or unsubscribe from my email list because they don’t like what I have to share… or they decide they don’t resonate with me…
They opt out.
And you know what? That’s OK.
I welcome that. Desire it even.
Because I’d rather spend time with my “HELL YES” people.
Not chase the people in the “Meh” squad or those who aren’t feelin’ my vibe. I’ve decided I’m not gonna dim my shine for likes and follows. I’d rather have a core group of “hell yes” insiders than a megacrowd of people who don’t really give a shit or aren’t engaged.
I feel like many other business owners fear that. And they will literally make themselves smaller – try to shape themselves into a box they don’t belong in – to please everyone.
Here’s why you shouldn’t concern yourself with that…
What happens if you’re not authentic online.
When you try to be perfect… when you try to please everyone and be FOR everyone… you don’t end up connecting with anyone.
You slide into the middle, the no-mans land of business.
Playing it safe and being disconnected is never gonna make you successful.
You only need to find YOUR people. Resonate and connect with them – and only them – to create a thriving biz.
When you create insiders and outsiders, you create PASSION.
You create that certain group of people who say “HELL YES”… instead of “Sigh, I guess.”
Don’t you want to be a person who inspires a HELL YES?
Don’t you want a community of people around you who are *all* HELL YES – totally in with you on your mission and your vision?
That’s what you get to do when you put your gorgeous, quirky, amazing full self out there.
Share your mess… share your heart.
Be real. Share your passion. Share who you are and what you care about.
Don’t aim for the middle, my friend. It’s the literal deadzone of business.
What happens to your biz when you share yourself authentically.
The best way to answer what happens to your biz when you share yourself authentically is through a story.
A few months ago I got up on stage – in front of hundreds of people…
…and admitted that my marriage was a friggin mess.
For years I stood on that stage, presenting at the same conference each year… and felt like a fraud.
Meaning, I knew people were looking at me and were thinking I had all my shit together.
But I didn’t.
So, I was actually lying. Because I wasn’t being authentic.
I had a ton of shit going on in my life on the daily, yet every day all I did was post the pretty things I thought would inspire people.
So it looked like things were perfect: Working out at the gym. Eating healthy foods. Glossy photos with my fam.
I chose to focus on those things because they felt safer.
Now, I’m not one of those people who goes around bitching about her life all the time, playing victim, or vaguebooking* when something is bothering me.
*Vaguebooking = posting an intentionally vague status on social media that prompts friends to ask what’s going on.
*cue 1,000 eye rolls*
So while I wasn’t going that nonsense, at a deep level, I was choosing to slap on a veneer – when my energy was very much NOT there.
And one day, it all came crashing in on me.
My husband and I decided it was time for an intervention.
And for us, traditional has never worked. So instead of going to therapy (again)…. we chose something a little different: a leadership training.
So we could begin to communicate with each other better. Be leaders in our own lives AND in our family.
And I realized in this training is… inspiring people meant being real. Telling the truth.
I get to be a leader in my biz and in my life. I get to show up authentically and inspire those around me.
And model the ideal behavior for others – including my young daughter.
So that’s what I did. I literally got on that stage and told thousands of people the truth.
About my marriage. My struggles. How I felt. I let it alllll out.
Now remember… this was literally a COMPANY EVENT.
The company I’ve worked with for—and peers I’ve worked along side of—for nearly a decade.
I got up there and I put my mess on a platter for them:
Heeeere ya go, guys! LOL
I did this not because I wanted pity or empathy. But because I knew that if I wanted to connect, I needed to drop the armor and be real.
So for 15-20 minutes on stage, I shared my story.
Messy tears and all. Yep, even the snot. Which old me would have been super embarrassed and ashamed about.
And you know what happened?
I got a standing ovation.
And afterwards, dozens of people (
mostly women, obvs) came up to me with tears in their eyes too.
And shared their stories—and their hearts—with me as well.
And you know what? That felt GOOD. That felt REAL.
But I gotta tell ya… until the very moment I got up on that stage, I was filled with fear. Straight up terror.
Now, I’m not saying you have to share your deepest, darkest secrets in your business. Depending upon what your biz is, it may not be important or even relevant to do so.
Like, if you’re a cheese shop, maybe you don’t need to share how your pregnancy has given you wrinkles and cellulite and hemorrhoids…
But if you’re in the fitness industry – or have a personal brand like I do – and you know that kind of honesty will resonate with your community…
Maybe you could open up about that. In a way that is authentic to you.
And not try to be so perfect all the time. Because no one is.
In fact – being authentic, honest, and real will probably HELP your biz.
Here’s the thing… no one you see “winning” has never “lost.” Every single one of us have been in a zillion shit shows.
Honestly, for me, they happen almost daily. The only difference is I choose to manage the breakdowns… and turn them into breakthroughs.
Rather than curl up on the floor in the fetal position and completely shut down.
I’m intentional about the way I want to show up. Live my life. Share online.
Intentionality is such a clutch piece of success. And most of us don’t even think about that.
We think TACTICS. We think STRATEGY.
But your intention behind those tactics and strategies is really what make the difference.
So is your intention to inspire a whole lotta HELL YESes in your biz?
Is your intention to connect authentically? And to create authentic relationships?
Because sometimes knowing what you DO care about – and knowing what will inspire the HELL YESes from others – can be confusing. Overwhelming. And doubt-provoking.
That’s why I’m here to help you. And why this guide is so powerful.
When you download it, you’ll be guided through a series of questions and exercises that will help you define your intention.
And clarify your vision, values, and beliefs.
So you can figure out who you are – and what your message gets to be – in order to inspire others.
And then you’ll be shown how to take these core convictions – and turn them into intentional, authentic, relevant content that connects.
You’ll even explore what your online offer should be. And how to communicate allll this to that ideal person you mapped out.
This guide walks you step by step through this. One simple exercise at a time.
And with all this in hand, you’ll ultimately be able to connect better with your community.
Whether you have one right now, are in the process of building yours, or are even just thinking about starting one.
With this critical framework in place, your community can feel like they know you. And you, them.
And they trust that you understand them. Get them.
Have their backs. And their best interests at heart. That you’re invested in making a difference for them.
Which means they ultimately buy from you.
Which as we all know is how you grow and scale your biz over the long term.
Why am I gifting this when it’s so high value?
Because right now I feel like we all need a break.
It feels like there’s soooo much uncertainty in the world right now, especially in the economy and in business… and I see people trying to fake their way to success.
Which, as we just discussed, isn’t gonna get you where you wanna go.
Now, the courage you need to put yourself out there? I wish I could bottle that up and give it to you in a downloadable PDF too.
But that comes from you.
However, I DO hope that my story of getting on stage and publicly sharing the most vulnerable, raw part of my life – and the positive reaction it got – inspires you to be a little braver yourself.
My story may not be your story. But you DO have a story.
And the world – or at least a subset of it – needs to hear it. Wants to hear it.
Cheers to building your community of HELL YESes…