Understanding how to implement your brand authenticity into your business makes it easier for you to attract an audience that sticks with you throughout the years.
IE 318: Brand Authenticity: What it is & How to Build it
If you haven’t been following along, make sure that you go back, listen to the episodes within this series that come from my book, Influencer Entrepreneurs: The 4 Step Framwork to Building Your Audience, Growing your Business and Making Money Online.
You’ll also want to make sure you download the free workbook that goes along with it.
What is brand authenticity?
Diane Mottl defines someone who is living authentically as “Being authentic means coming from a real place within. It is when our actions and words are congruent with our beliefs and values.
It is being ourselves, not an imitation of what we think we should be, or have been told we should be.”
When we actually provide our audience the opportunity to see our authentic selves, we give them a chance to know, like, and trust us.
Social media has given us a warped sense of authenticity since we often just see the highlight reel from everyone’s lives.
Being authentic needs to involve not only our actions via pictures, but also our words.
To be truly authentic with our audience, we need to provide our audience with context for the images that we share.
How to build authenticity?
In an age where social media creates the greatest hits of everyone’s life, it’s often difficult to cut through the noise and feel like you really know people.
Instagram has created a society where anything less than perfect is not Instagram worthy.
Whether it is a selfie of the next exciting vacation someone is on, or the pristine white kitchen of a mom with toddlers who doesn’t have a single thing out of place.
We often see these things and assume that their lives are always like this.
We may even feel a twinge of jealousy for the life we think they’re leading.
Let’s take a closer look into what the reality of those pictures might be though.
There’s a commercial that was out about two years ago for a financial advising company where a young man in his twentie calls his financial advisor.
He’s wearing a pressed white button down and a pair of sunglasses, and in the background is a gorgeous beach, most likely in the Caribbean.
Then the camera zooms out and you see that he is actually sitting in a coffee shop.
That Caribbean beach is a picture.
He’s wearing baggy sweatpants under the white pressed shirt.
I can’t even tell you what they were trying to sell in that commercial or what the messaging was, but what struck me overall is when we zoom out, we often see that people’s lives are not as perfect as they would lead you to believe they are.
Now, the opposite of this is someone online who constantly tells you they’re going to be vulnerable or uses the hashtag #vulnerable.
Yet all they’re sharing is how they bought an extra candy bar in the store instead of sticking to their cleaning eating diet.
They make a mountain out of a molehill and try to force the relationship by saying they’re going to authentically share something meaningful, but then you only get a surface level transparency from them.
When does authenticity cross a line?
In order to give people the opportunity to know you, you need to share your heart.
That doesn’t mean you need to barf up every emotional thing in your life every time you are on social media.
I personally am not good with emotions.
I don’t express my emotions well.
I never have and probably never will.
I’m sure it probably has something to do with being raised in an Irish Catholic family where emotions were seen as a sign of weakness.
While I don’t believe that emotions are a sign of weakness, I don’t readily express my own.
I’m an amazing listener as long as the emotions being discussed don’t involve me.
I will have some well thought out guidance and give you a perspective that you may not have thought of, but the second you try to tell me that I’ve impacted your life in a positive or negative way, I automatically shut down and will do my best to change the subject or brush it off.
You will not hear me sharing my deepest, darkest secrets on social media or really with anyone other than my husband.
Or even worse, say you’re going to be vulnerable, and then stop short with my example about the woman grabbing a candy bar at the store rather than sticking to her clean eating.
This would be fine to share, but get rid of the hashtag vulnerable and make your post.
I would even push you to talk about why you grab that candy bar, particularly if what you eat is important to your brand.
So if you’re a nutritionist or a health coach, then share why you made the decision you did.
My recommendation is to go deeper when it is on brand for you.
What is your brand?
Let’s stop a second here and define what I mean by brand.
Your brand should fit into your mission.
For example, my mission is to inspire the young girls of today to become the female entrepreneurs of the future by helping the women business owners in their lives grow the thriving business of their dreams.
It makes sense for me to talk about my habits as a business owner.
It also makes sense for me to talk about and share stories about my daughters when it relates to parenting.
When my youngest daughter started kindergarten, I had just spent the previous six months traveling a ton to speak at conferences around the country.
I had two more conferences in the fall as well.
Right before she started school we noticed that she was stuttering.
She had done it in the past, but it had become extremely noticeable.
As she started kindergarten, I spoke to the teacher about it and asked her to alert me if she noticed it getting worse.
About three weeks into school, I had a business trip.
After I got back, I got an email from her teacher that her stuttering was worse, and the teacher wanted the speech therapist to assess her.
I consented, but the speech therapist didn’t think my daughter needed any additional therapy.
A few weeks later, I had my 13th conference of the year, and I again came home to another email from the teacher that my daughter’s stuttering had gotten worse.
My husband and I looked at a calendar and noticed that there was a pattern anytime I left to go out of town to speak, her stuttering got worse.
Once we realized that we made decisions in my business to change where I was speaking when I was speaking.
I decided at that time in 2019, and of course this, this is all pre covid, that I was only going to speak at two other conferences and then host my first conference here in Charlotte on my own so that I could do it on my terms and on my soil so that I could get to my kids if I needed.
I share the story though with you because I also shared it on social media.
I’m not only a business owner, I’m also a mother, and the decisions I make affect my business, but more importantly, my family.
I needed my audience to see this connection because that is more likely your reality too.
Even if you’re not a mother, you as a woman have different roles that you play as a daughter, sister, and wife.
I want you to own your greatness and I want you to empower you to see all that you do.
It’s important to my brand that I share my business and my personal stories because you can relate to it and hopefully feel inspired to continue working on and growing your business.
This is the ultimate goal with sharing your heart.
You want people to see you as a person, and it’s much easier to connect to someone who is authentically out there on social media, in their emails, and in their content.
Go below the surface and share more of the why as it may connect to your audience.
People want to see the real you because they want to know you.
Your audience will see someone with flaws as more relatable and more like them, which means they will become loyal members of your community faster.
If you actually believe in positive body image and you are sleep coach for infants, you can still share your heart with your audience or clients because your audience is full of women and they’re going to connect with you.
When you share what’s important to you, you give people a chance to know your likes and dislikes.
Let them actually see your heart.
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