I work in social media marketing where, just as in any other online interaction, authenticity is the big word. Using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and others to promote a business (or an idea or a cause) only works if the company reaches out to its customers in a different way than in traditional marketing and advertising, focusing on providing real human contact, building relationships with its fan base and promoting authentic interaction.
Authenticity is Powerful
We look for authenticity everywhere.
When you go see a doctor, you want to see someone who treats their patients well and is interested in helping them get better. You wouldn’t go see someone who prescribes wrong medicine and leaves sick people waiting for hours for no apparent reason.
Similarly, you look for an authentic friend, not someone who will gossip about you behind your back.
And the examples could continue.
Yet despite the emphasis on the importance of authenticity in our lives, we often fail the test ourselves.
You need to “Walk the Talk” in your personal brand
No matter how much effort you put into building up your personal brand, none of it will matter if your actions are different from your words. Whatever you do, make sure you have something that backs up your claims:
- If you claim to have excellent written skills, prove them in the cover letter of your job application. Don’t post something with spelling mistakes.
- If you say that you have an interest in a field, have something that shows you’re already involved in doing things in this field or at least that you are truly passionate. Start a blog or comment regularly on others’. Publish your interest on your LinkedIn profile together with links to some articles that have most influenced how you think about the field.
- Similarly, if you say you are passionate about the uses of social media, be ready to show that you have presence online. I would have never got my current job had I not been able to send links to all my social profiles, my blog and a ‘cover letter’ explaining how my experience was relevant.
- If you claim you are proficient in video editing, have some samples ready or, even better, send them to your interviewer in advance.
Your personal brand is an aggregation of your reputation and your actions. We live in the age of Internet where it takes seconds to “Google” someone and double check their claims. Walking the talk has never been more important and authenticity is no longer something additional to our personal brand but rather its prerequisite.
What are you going to do today to make sure your brand is authentic?
Anna is a Social Media Marketing Assistant at Pepsmedia, based in Cambridge, UK. Having graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2010 with a degree in Social and Political Sciences, she joined the small team straight out of university and is now helping businesses engage with customers online and build communities. She is passionate about the use of social media both in business and for individuals. To find out more, read her Life With Social Media blog, or connect with her on Twitter @annamanasova and LinkedIn.