I wrote this post today when thinking about business authenticity and honesty in business just about an hour ago on LinkedIn. (Which could have been years ago by the time you are reading this and COVID is just a think of the past with any luck!!!!)
“How honest are you online and on your website about your business and you within your business?
I remember, back in the day, when I first started out social media… (around 2008!) I thought about 4 words for my biography. I wanted what I did to be authentic, appropriate, sustainable and fun. I still stand by that.
When people met me in real life after a few months of ‘banter’ on twitter (we used to have ‘Tweet-Ups’ meet ups) they would say that I was just what they thought I’d be like in real life. I would take that as a compliment… I think 🤔 🙄
Your business is you. You are you. Be yourself. Are you being “you” online and on your website?
I know it’s not easy. Especially sometimes if you have come from a corporate life and then started your own business. You have spent years representing a corporation and suddenly, to be yourself is really difficult.
This is actually a vast topic, and I can’t cover a lot of it here. So, I might even turn this into a blog.
But I would really welcome some thoughts and ideas and stories on what it is you have done to become authentic and be authentic online.”
I even said in the post that I might turn it into a blog – so I had better do that before I get accused of being dishonest!
How can I be myself?
This is a question I used to get asked a lot when I was training people on social media back in around 2009 – which is only 12 years ago but social media was in its infancy still and not many people knew what it was let alone how to use it.
So, when training and explaining to people how to be honest and authentic, many were confused as to how to do that. They also questioned the fact that being honest and authentic would be boring.
Why on earth would people be interested in what I had for breakfast?
I’ve put this heading because it was a classic line when thinking about what to ‘talk about’ or ‘post’ up on twitter when twitter was really the main channel that was being used to post etc.
People were worried that they would be boring. Why would people be interested in what they had to say? They were frustrated with OTHER people posting up all sorts of, apparently, inane stuff.
What they didn’t realise and what I explain time and time again, is that we need to ‘humanise’ ourselves online. This doesn’t mean posting up every day what you had for breakfast, however, if you had a particularly amazing breakfast – or experience at breakfast – then why on earth not?
Breaking the ice
To qualify this further I heard an interview once by Social Media Examiner who has been around for many years and is a huge authority on all of this. In this interview was some top businessman and he told the story of how he was going to a really important meeting one day and he posted up that he’d had ‘a great muesli breakfast and freshly squeezed orange juice’ which was his favourite. The guy he was meeting followed him and actually replied that it was his favourite too and he’d also had the same.
When they met a couple of hours later for their meeting – the ice was broken. They laughed about their breakfast and did the deal becoming firm friends after.
So, maybe posting up what you had for breakfast can lead to a great business deal. Who knows?
People do business with people
It’s a cliché but its true and we best not forget that at any time. I think the message is becoming clearer now. People aren’t so ‘frightened’ to be themselves and reveal their authentic selves. But it is also important to remember ‘appropriate’ out of my four words.
Appropriate controls authentic so we aren’t bombarded with inappropriate posts. I met a lovely young Spanish lady a couple of days ago and she works for TikTok. Her job is to plough through all the latin American and Spanish posts and remove anything that is totally inappropriate. How cool is that? I didn’t even realise that there was someone there doing that. Maybe they are a team of people. But it’s great that they do that.
If you are having a bad day, then it’s okay to say that. In fact, I think most people get more comments when they are having a bad day than when they are having a good one!
But being you and authentic online and on your website will only attract the right people to you. People who like who you are will want to do business with you and those who don’t won’t. And, let’s face it, how many people do you need to do business within a year? Certainly not everyone, surely?
Honesty in business – Just keep it real
Would you lie on a dating site? (I know people do, but they soon get rumbled)
Doing business today with people who you are compatible with, for me anyway, is crucial. Most of us spend many hours a week working on and in our business and with our clients. If you aren’t compatible and the relationship is not good, then this just can turn into a nightmare for all parties.
So, being yourself in your business and online just works. On so many levels. Check out this article on ‘How To Succeed in Business by Being Yourself’ on the Forbes website.
Authentic business website design and build
I couldn’t finish this blog without writing about business authenticity without mentioning your website. One thing we pride ourselves in is making sure that your website is totally representative of you. That your site has personality, and that personality is yours. Not some made up person that is just trying to attract as much business as possible, but an authentic personality that is apparent on every page.
You are your brand – your brand is you. Hence, it’s important to really nail that messaging and get the right vibe going so you can attract the right people to you. And you will.
Would love to hear what you think about this topic and what you have done to ‘keep it real’