Authentic: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
One of the most important factors to succeeding in social media is your ability to genuinely connect with your audience. Being authentic helps.
Most of the professionals I speak with wonder if anyone is really interested in what they have to say. They know their professions inside and out and wonder if their posts would really be of interest. My reaction to them: it’s good you are concerned as the overly-confident don’t always have the best results. The trick is to show your personality. Convey your message in a way only you can. If you’re serious, be serious. If you inspire, write inspiring posts. If you’re corny (like me), be corny sometimes (not all the time). If you’re a devil’s advocate, be a devil’s advocate – it works for some. People follow people, not robots.
You will make mistakes online. These can include spelling, grammar, factual errors, not linking properly, sourcing mistakes, etc. This is another part of being human. What can set you apart is saying sorry and apologizing for your mistakes. Don’t apologize if it wasn’t a mistake but explain your take on the matter. Don’t ignore the problem (unless it’s spam). Admitting to a mistake, or backing up your opinion if you get called out, helps with the authenticity thing.
Make a point of getting to know your followers, fans, people who comment on your blog posts, etc. Read their content and comment appropriately. Social media is just another avenue to have a conversation. It’s traditional marketing with a secret ingredient. You actually get to know your readers. Ask their opinions on important issues, give feedback when they ask a question, you get the idea. I have made some excellent friends via Twitter and Facebook. They encompass a rainbow of personalities, opinions, idea’s and their input is priceless. Don’t follow back everyone that follows you (Twitter). Follow people you have genuine interest in. It may not be for business, but it could be friendship, mutual interest, whatever.
Be mindful about what you post to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Don’t self promote 24/7. It won’t work unless you’re wildly successful and then I’d like to know your secret! Social media is about engaging with your target audience (clients, potential clients, colleagues, referral sources – you get the idea) and the end goal should be turning these online conversations into offline deals. Getting these deals will take time. You have to be in it for the long haul.