Building Authenticity Into Your Social Media Strategy
This article was originally published at Namastream.
I recently wrote a ‘Love Letter to My Yoga Teacher’ post on Facebook, which was raw, emotional, and vulnerable. I still can’t read it without tearing up. Strangers commented that they too cried when they read it. But prior to hitting ‘post’ I was filled with a moment of doubt despite desperately wanting to tell this story. I knew it was powerful, poignant, and deeply personal. After a few minutes of wrestling with my fear (mostly around others judging me), I hit publish.
Writing a love letter to a teacher is one of the prompts in our 40 Day Social Media Challenge. We’ve gathered hundreds of yogis and wellness professionals from all over the globe to commit to posting to social for forty days. We provide all the inspiration and prompt ideas via a daily email.
During the first round of the challenge, we joined our followers in the social media trenches and also followed the prompts everyday. When this particular prompt came up, I knew what to write. I’ve had this letter bottled up inside me for a long time and when I sat down to write it flowed out effortlessly (usually a sign that it needs to be told!).
The huge (and emotional) response that I received from this post confirmed one thing. Social media engagement begins with authenticity. Authenticity is as simply being unabashedly you. Authenticity is meeting us in the moment. Authenticity is exposing your humanity, vulnerability and embracing your raw, real and truthful self. It’s being you in all the glory of your imperfections.
Authenticity is not creating what you think people want to see or hear. It is not perfection or regurgitating someone else’s ideas. It’s not pretend, made-up or contrived. It’s your inner truth. It’s your voice. And that voice is right there under the surface ready to come forth and be heard.
The fastest way to building a following online is with authentic content. Don’t attempt to create polished and perfect because people see right through that. Instead, identify those unique, wonderful and quirky things about you. Speak that truth because that’s what people crave and makes you stand out.
Remember that your authentic voice doesn’t need any fixing (well…maybe a quick grammar and spell check before posting) because it’s perfect as is. Don’t put it through a filter to please others. Your voice is your voice. There is nothing to do but express it. If someone doesn’t resonate with your voice, let them unfriend, unsubscribe or unfollow. The key to finding your tribe – the group of people you can inspire, serve, educate, empower – is by simply being you. And if you drop a few people, then they just weren’t meant to be part of your tribe.
Stop caring about vanity metrics and checking how many followers you have — that serves only your ego. Instead, choose to serve your soul and your community by developing rich content that connects people together in a more impactful way. It may mean lower likes or follows, but your actual impact is greater. And isn’t that the purpose?
Personally, I yearn for more authentic content on social media. I want to see less pretty quotes and more real life. I want to watch a vinyasa in front of a cluttered coffee table or babies tangling their tiny fingers in their mama’s hair during an imperfect triangle pose. I want to hear that you slept through your early morning meditation and that you forgot your Mom’s birthday (ok, that might actually be my life). Authentic, real life stories and pictures are a powerful, world changing force.
No one has it all together. And we should celebrate that. Let’s use our powerful voices to tell the stories, share the ideas, ask the questions, record the epiphanies, laugh at the mistakes, admit your fears and share your dreams. We all want to hear from you. Actually, we need to hear from you.
Be you. Unabashedly.
Sandy is a Foundation graduate and the co-founder of two SaaS products, Connectable.biz and Namastream.com, as well as the co-creator of the membership platform Soulful.MBA which teaches wellness entrepreneurs how to build and scale online businesses.