What does it really mean to be authentic?
There’s a lot of talk about how to be authentic online and what constitutes authenticity. I want to reverse-engineer this and talk about what authentic people DON’T DO! So here are my top 12 things that makes you look inauthentic on social media.
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12 Things Authentic People Don’t Do on Social Media
1. They don’t start pitching at first contact
When someone first connects with them, they respond in kind. That means asking questions, probing further, finding common ground and deepening the relationship. If you answer a first contact request with a marketing pitch, that’s being disrespectful and not valuing another person’s time.
2. They don’t post the same message on multiple Facebook groups or Twitter
A lot of people post the same message on multiple platforms, not realizing or understanding that a lot of the same people follow those accounts and are in the same places. That makes you look spammy and desperate for attention. You wouldn’t have the exact same conversation consecutively with people you meet a party, would you?
3. They don’t have any real interaction amongst their automated DMs
Automated DMs (direct messages) mean that you’re sending the same message to every single person who follows you on Twitter. Where’s the originality in that? By all means send out a welcome message to new followers, but at least customise it to show you made an effort to read their profile.
4. They aren’t inconsistent with their words and actions
Trust is formed when you do what you say, and you say what you mean. The more people find inconsistency between your words and your deeds, the less authentic and sincere you seem, no matter if you have the best intentions in the world.
5. They don’t hate haters and they don’t try to shame them
They know some haters are a good thing because it means you’ve defined and chosen your audience. For example, Gary Vee cusses liberally because he wants to reach people who don’t give a shit about language but care about results. Authentic people don’t try to please everyone. Especially at the same time. (Note: People pleasers are seldom being authentic)
6. They don’t veer off into unrelated rants with no context
No one truly likes a rambler on a personal agenda.
7. They don’t use others people’s examples, case studies, testimonials as they’re own
Hey, that’s called plagiarism. Don’t do it!
8. They don’t keep changing their opinion as often as fashion trends
Opinions are fine, following trends and fads is fine too. but your value system should not be changing with the seasons. Your core beliefs are your core beliefs and if you’re going to be negotiating on those, then you appear flaky and inauthentic.
9. They don’t feel the need to deride others’ opinions to be proven “right”
Remember that joke about someone on the Internet always being wrong? Yeah, authentic people don’t give a shit about that because they’re confident in owning their opinions and letting other people own theirs. At most, they’ll calmly withdraw from an argument. Ramming your opinion down someone’s throat is the highest form of inauthenticity.
10. They don’t feel the need to be the same exact person all the time in every situation
Yo, it’s okay to be different in different scenarios. Do you think I talk to my kids the way I talk to clients? hell, no! well unless the client is puerile. Joking! Being authentic doesn’t exclude you from acting according to the situation. That’s called common sense.
11. They don’t share EVERYTHING
I don’t know where this idea came about that to be authentic you have to share your entire life. You can share selectively and still be authentic. Shocker, I know. The trick is to share what you feel comfortable with and what’s relevant to your audience and business. In fact, have a sharing strategy outlining what you will and won’t share and why.
12. They don’t expect to get anything in return for the value they put out
Authentic people give because that’s dictated by their value system. If they start expecting something in return then the giving isn’t free, it’s a transaction.
Feel free to add to this list using the comments section below. And for more tips on authenticity, download my free ebook: 25 Free and Feel-good Ways to Authentically Promote your Content