How To Be Authentic (And Appropriate) on Social Media

I know what you’re thinking: do you really need to write a blog post on being authentic and appropriate?

Even though it seems obvious — yes.

When authenticity is “fake” it looks and feels like a vintage pair of jeans from Urban Outfitters. Pretty close to the real thing, but not quite right. Nobody wants to feel like they are being fed advertising messages in their news feed. If it looks and feels like marketing, it’s not authentic.

But how do you “be authentic” if you’re representing a brand that you didn’t build from the ground up? Or maybe you just started running your own account and you don’t know how to express your individuality in an appropriate way.

Start with the points below.

It’s not all about YOU

Unless you own the brand and you’re a one person show (and your followers know that) you shouldn’t be referring to yourself in the first person on social media. This is cringe worthy. From the perspective of your followers, brand’s are an entity, not a single person. Use us / our / we NOT I / me / my.

Show faces and spaces

Without people, your brand — either personal or professional — couldn’t exist. Showing the human(s) behind your business or account is absolutely essential to establishing an authentic connection with your followers. Show where the magic happens, and try not to clean it up and beautify it too much. Human faces are so powerful in terms of their effect on our attention, so be sure to show lots of those too.

Pretty photos are nice, but you can also have professional “candid” shots done if you’re worried about messing up your feed.

Which leads to the next point…

Don’t be afraid to break your feed theme

Foregoing an awesome in-the-moment photo in lieu of posting something more perfect looking is just sorta…sad. I’m not saying you can’t capture the brand voice and timeliness in the caption of the beautiful photo, but it sometimes strips away the authenticity of sharing a moment in time.

Imperfection is part of all of us – own it. Show it.

Share your story

Social media is a highlight reel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share victories and setbacks with your followers. In fact, sharing these ups and downs makes people feel more connected and invested in the success of your brand if they feel like they know what’s going on. This enriches the relationship and makes fans cheer and cry along with you through the rollercoaster that is business/life.

This also applies to the story of how you started, your business background, and several other stories that create the full picture of how your brand came to be what it is today. If your story is part of your elevator pitch — even better.

Write like you speak

If you wouldn’t actually say it — don’t put it in the caption. If the owner or employees wouldn’t say it — don’t put it in the caption. If it sounds like it’s trying too hard to be cute and clever – don’t put it in the caption.

Are you seeing a theme?

Meet with the owner and write down the words they use to describe their business. Make notes on how they talk. Brainstorm a list of keywords and adjectives that fit the brand. Become the brand. 

If you need a hand managing your account in an authentic way, we’d love to work with you. 

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