Being Authentic on Social Media
If you know anything about me, you know that I have a love hate relationship with social media. From the outside looking in, you would assume I’m constantly creating content, posting to my page and being really active on the platform.
All of this false!
I’m almost never creating content. I do a content shoot once every 3-4 months, create my content calendars, add my captions and hashtags and automate each post so that I’m being intentional with my social media a couple day of out of the year instead of having it be a daily or every other day task that I have to worry about.
It allows me to be super intentional about the message I’m sharing for each post, the value I’m providing and the inspiration and motivation I give to my followers.
I’m all about building relationships and trust and the best way to do that is by sharing impactful experiences, vulnerable moments and relatable content.
I rarely post to my page, to be specific, on a regular week I will post 2-3 times. The most I’ve ever posted was 5x in 1 week and that’s because I had influencer collaborations that needed to be posted during the same week of my already scheduled content.
As far as being active on Instagram, I check and respond to my DM’s every other day and respond to comments the day I make a post. Other than this, I am not active.I do not scroll through my timeline, I do not engage in people's stories (unless you’re a close friend or family member) and I never use the app as a source of entertainment.
Social media for me is a business and brand building tool. It’s a way to showcase who you are and what you do to ultimately connect with the people who need it.
I know that what I offer can help change lives and so I’m not shy to promote myself or my businesses. But I’ve also mastered how to do it in a way that is authentic to who I am and what I believe.
Some would argue that because I create content ahead of time and never post during real time that I’m not being authentic right? There’s so many ways to define authenticity especially in today's digital world where social media is constantly consuming people’s time and energy.
Being authentic means that you act in ways that show your true self and how you feel. Rather than showing people only a particular side of yourself, you express your whole self genuinely. That means to succeed in being authentic, you first have to know who your true self actually is.
If you haven’t read the blog post, Who Are You? Finding Your Identity, this is a great place to start.
So the reason that I believe I’m authentic on social media is because I intentionally share all aspects of my life, who I am and what I believe in. The time and day that I say cheese and actually post to my page has nothing to do with that. It’s about what I’m deciding to share with my audience.
One of the main reasons why I’m able to remain authentic is because of the fact that I’m not on social media constantly looking at what others are doing or comparing myself. The moment we do that we start to desire things that aren’t aligned with our core beliefs and begin to shift the way we do things because we’ve been influenced by something or someone else.
But I also believe it's great to peek at your competitors and make sure that you’re giving your A game. You can absolutely look at what someone is doing and be inspired by them and take that inspiration back to your own business and find unique ways to incorporate something fresh and new.
But it becomes a problem when inspiration turns into coping. The things that you will be most proud of that resonates with your audience the best will be the things that came naturally to you. The things you didn’t have to force.
So when we talk about being authentic on social media, there’s a lot to think of.
First, I recommend finding a healthy balance with your social media. Do a mental check in with yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- How much time do you spend on social media?
- What are you doing when you're on social media?
- How do you feel when you get off social media?
- What could you be doing instead of being on social media that will support you getting closer to your goals?
- If you want to spend less time on social media, what can you do to hold yourself accountable?
I’m pretty sure each of you listening to this could benefit from spending less time on your social media.
Spending less time looking at what others are doing will directly help you stay authentic to yourself. Invest more of your time learning about the things you’re passionate about and interested in. Spend more time focusing on self-development and dedicating more time to your skills and talents.
A great way to remain authentic to yourself online is to determine what you want your brand and brand voice to be. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are you talking to? (who is your target audience, the people you’re looking to connect with)
- What do they need help with? (this will help you determine talking points and content type)
- How can you help? (this will help you determine your overall value)
Once you know the answers to these 3 questions, you can easily determine what your brand focus is and create a plan for creating content, captions and targeted hashtags related to your focuses.
Staying aligned with these things (unless your brand focus changes) will ultimately keep you aligned with your authentic and true self.
Now some of you may not feel like you have an actual brand. I want you to shift your thinking. We ALL have a brand. You are a brand! The way we look, talk, dress, act is all a part of our brand. What people see on your page is a direct reflection of your brand.
Essentially, anytime someone mentions your name, certain thoughts pop up in their mind. Just like if someone says “nike” I think of a checkmark, athletes, tennis shoes, sports, workout clothes. Nike’s brand is consumed by all of that. Imagine if Nike started posting fast food, club attire, or books. You would be confused right? Because they have intentionally created a brand that focuses on health, sports and athletic clothing.
Same for me. When you think of Bre you think Shameless Podcast, Social Media Business, Waiting For Marriage, Online Coach, etc. I intentionally talk about those things, share aligned content and am consistent with them all.
So for you, whether you're a college student, stay at home mom, aspiring entrepreneur, girl next door working in corporate america….you have a brand, you have a voice.
Determine what you want that brand and voice to be and as long as you remain authentic to your true self, the brand and voice will grow and evolve as you grow and evolve.
Let me tell you a story to put this into perspective.
2 years into my Shameless business I felt like my brand had become something that didn’t appropriately reflect who I was or what I wanted. Instead of Shameless being known for helping women build confidence, it became known as a sexy girl brand. People put the heel dancing classes on a pedestal and that became the focus of the brand instead of being something that the brand offered.
I had to be intentional about rebranding and re-focusing the priorities of the brand to not confuse my audience and to remain fully authentic to who I was.
So maybe you can relate to this, maybe in the last couple of years you’ve changed and grown as a person and you want people to see the new you but you’re afraid of putting yourself out there or what people might say or think.
Screw those people! You’re supposed to change and grow and share your journey especially if it could help someone else.
Here’s another example, I wasn’t a virgin when I decided to wait for marriage. Before Dre and I decided to make our decision public, I thought about all the hateful and hurtful things people who knew me before would say. A guy from my past even DM’ed Dre to let him know that I wasn’t a virgin (not like I ever claimed that I was) but this is a great example of how when people see you evolving, they will find ways to try to discourage you.
I knew people from my past would look at what I’m doing now and maybe not believe me or talk crap but it didn’t matter. Those people aren’t who I’m doing this for. It’s for you! The person on the other end of this computer screen reading this blog post.
If I was too afraid to show people my authentic self and to share my journey as I grow, evolve, make mistakes and reach new heights, I couldn’t have the impact that I do now.
So when it comes to being authentic, you have to first be true to yourself and where you are in life. Then, decide how much of that you want to share on social media and in the ways you plan to do it.
Another thing I want to mention and talk about is the desire to “do it for the gram”. Meaning that you go out of your way to create a fake or over the top life to share with your followers in order to make yourself feel good.
This will do you no good. You’re creating a false sense of happiness and unrealistic expectations for yourself that will bring out insecurities and create a lack of confidence because you’re constantly trying to keep up with this lifestyle you’re promoting on social media.
You don’t have to drive a nice car, wear name brand bags or fly in private jets to be important, valued or make an impact. People will fall in love with you because you’re a good person with a purpose. Show them that and you’ll never go wrong!
Here’s my steps for being authentic on social media:
1. Determine who you are
Determine who you are and who you want to connect with. Remember, this is the foundation. If you don’t know this, you will be lost in the sauce.
2. Determine your overall “why”
Why are you on social media? Are you trying to build a brand or business? Wanting to inspire and motivate others? Sharing your experiences and life with friends/family? Maybe you don’t really know and need to dedicate the time to figure this out.
3. Create content that aligns with your brand "authentically"
Once you know who you are, who you’re connecting with and why you’re on social media, create a list of all the things you look forward to sharing and posting about. THEN, once you have that list, find creative ways to capture content that aligns with those things while staying authentic to who you are.
4. Be intentional about your captions
Remember, your words shape your brand and directly reflect the type of person you are. Your captions are the equivalent of you standing on stage with a microphone, everyone's listening, what are you going to say and how will it affect others?
5. Show your true self
Get comfortable with posting pictures and stories without filters, overly edited affects or anything that doesn’t highlight your true self. You’re beautiful! You don’t need those filters. You want someone to see you in person and still recognize who you are. Don’t hide behind the filters, they will subconsciously bring down your self-esteem.
6. Be consistent with your authenticity
Remain true to yourself by not allowing your competitors or other people to influence what you do or how you do it. I know this can be hard at times but practice makes perfect. Continue to remind yourself that you are the only you and the world needs ya!
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you need help finding your authenticity and building your online brand and following, make sure to book a free consultation with me at breannaaponte.com.