Authenticity – It’s a buzz word in the online marketing world these days but really, what is it all about and why is it so vitally important in your business?
When you are perceived as being authentic both personally and in your business you are building trustworthiness among your audience, your postulations are “worthy of acceptance” because they are true and are “not false or imitation” and your audience comes to regard you or your business as “true to one’s own personality, spirit or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions”. When your audience feels that you are genuine they begin to trust you and trust goes a long way in establishing and nurturing a relationship. (I got those big fancy words from Merriam-Webster's definition of authentic)
Many people and businesses struggle with the concept of authenticity, finding their voice, using it consistently, and being transparent. They simply don’t fully understand what it means or how to go about being that way online. We all know we should be authentic and for some, efforts at keeping it real have had disastrous results primarily because they understood “authentic” to mean they must expose every aspect of themselves in order to be considered authentic when this isn’t the case at all. Business owners must take great care in how they represent themselves online. Bombarding your audience with pictures of your last family vacation, weekly meal plans and bad jokes your sister sends you, with your next flash sale and awesome service, won’t win you any loyalty, nor will it generate conversions from your followers because your messaging is inconsistent, sometimes irrelevant and disorganized.
Like so much in life and in business it’s about balance. Giving your audience a glimpse of who you are while showcasing your honesty and delivering your mission driven and value related messaging using a consistent voice will help you achieve the online marketing results that you are striving for.
Values are our belief systems and when values are misrepresented or misconstrued your audience will not trust you. Successful relationships are built on shared values; this holds true for both business brands and personally.
To help you to determine your values ask yourself the following questions:
Why do you value what you do?
How are you exhibiting the values to your followers?
What do you value about your customers, clients and employees?
Within the answers to the above questions you will discover the nuggets of what your audience wants to see and hear from you in your online messaging. Your followers want to know what the business stands for, what the shared values are. Who you are is best represented by the sharing of your values with your audience. Through this you will develop a genuine, authentic voice, one which will facilitate trust and trust is what you want to achieve, trust will increase conversions and will help you to establish your brand as an authority.