Okay, the title should be more like: no one is born knowing how to be authentic online. But I had to keep it short!
Seriously, the word Authenticity seems to be overused these days. Everyone is saying "you have to be authentic", but what does that even mean?
I get this a lot "Kevon, you're an authentic guy!"
And that really got me thinking - is there an easy way for someone to practice & become authentic?
I don't think it is about being nice or funny.
Being authentic means showing up close to who you really are.
Bummer though! On the Internet, you can see who they show up as, but you cannot really verify whether that's who they really are. (By the way, I wrote a book called Find Joy in Chaos to help entrepreneurs build a personal brand & grow an audience on Twitter.)
Luckily, I think there are a few easy ways that can help you get closer to authenticity.
1. Write like you talk to a friend
It is likely you have already heard about this, so I won't bore you with the details: be conversational, use short sentences, don't be afraid to start a line with And, But, So... If you haven't heard about this, then take a look here.
What I really want to say here is ... you have to show personality in your writing!
Ondrej Markus is someone I call "a great, mindful storyteller". I love reading his blog post. Here I just want to show you how he shows who he is in his writing.
- "And yeah, sure, every work is sometimes frustrating when it's difficult, or when you have to deal with jerks, or you get lost for a while searching for the next project. That's okay. That's a part of the game. It wouldn't be fun if it was too easy." ➤ I almost feel like my supportive wife is whispering in my ears. It is as if Ondrej were chatting with me right there!
- "Right now, I have tons of material I'm working full-time to develop into a course that checks all of the above. It's a huge challenge I'm enjoying while crackling under at the same time." and "So I'm thinking a lot about how to pull this off without losing my shit in the process." ➤ The ability to admit a challenge or struggle makes people feel that you're authentic.
Again, don't want to bore you here. But if you read through his blog post, you can tell he is an honest, down-to-earth, and open person. The fact that he "shows his personality" makes him authentic.
Whether you're kind or aggressive, just show your real side like you're in a verbal conversation.
2. Ask that damn question
Let go of your ego! Now!
To be an influential voice online, you really don't need to be an expert, or sound smart, or know it all.
If you can see your audience as peers, then you can resonate with them well. I'll show you how influencers are asking questions humbly to get help:
And honestly, this is the best and quickest way to learn what your audience is thinking about!
3. Just don't overdo it
- If you're too salesy, people stop listening.
- If you only tweet about business wisdom, people stop listening.
- If you only tweet humor, people stop listening.
You think that if something works, then you should power it up. NO!
Whenever you overdo something, you become a robot instead of being a human being. A real person is dynamic and interesting, robots ... so far ... are not that interesting.
4. Drop the drama!
Read the LinkedIn post here:
I don't know when people started writing this way to get other's attention. It is honestly ... pointless. Yes, you're very clever, but ... are you winning hearts? I doubt it.
If you want to be authentic, no more catching people's attention with story like this. No jargon. Just simple language. Just get to the point. Just conversations.
5. I don't know
This tweet sums up what I want to say:
If I can just leave one advice to you to wrap this up, it'll be:
Don't try so hard.
You're almost guaranteed to get the opposite outcome you're looking for. When you don't try hard, you can then be your true self.