There is an old saying that if you try to lead like someone else, you will fail. A great leader requires authenticity. A great organization requires authentic leaders who connect with their clientele in a way that nurtures a foundation of trust and a mutually beneficial association. As small business owners, it seems logical that if we put our ‘true self’ out there, in life and in social media, that we would attract the best fit clients. Ok, now comes the reality gut check. If we are authentic in our business persona through social media, will we be judged by others? Will we offend others in this era of over political correctness? How do we deal with the vulnerability in our ever present, online social-sharing world?
At Woodchuck Arts, we frequently explain to clients how important it is for them to create and share content that is relevant, informative, and yes—authentic. But to what end? Why do we have to share on the multitude of social platforms in an authentic manner? The knee-jerk response is because the experts say that authenticity is a highly effective marketing tool. People want to connect, and if those connections aren’t real, then neither is the working relationship.
Connectivity can foster a debate of quantity versus quality. From a marketing perspective, you are better off having fewer people who truly believe, connect, and respect your message and brand, than having masses that simply don’t care. There is a great power in passion and no greater way to connect than through authenticity.
So do we (pardon the overused cliché) practice what we preach? It scares the life out of us to share ourselves and become vulnerable! What if someone responds negatively? We don’t want to be or feel different (although those who really know us might argue that point). We committed to overcoming this struggle, and continue to recommit every day. After all, why would clients continue to utilize our services if they didn’t trust that we were being authentic with them?
IT ISN’T THE SAME
We recognize that there is a throng of individuals and businesses who tackle the paralyzing process of hitting the ‘share’ button with elegance, grace, and not a minute of hesitation or crippling pause. There is definitely a relationship between personalities who study every angle of every situation to the point of nausea and the fear of complete authenticity. How can you be comfortable with the exposure when you are constantly processing the “what-ifs?” The only way we could answer that is, “Jump in!” We recognize we have to be willing to cope with rejection in hopes of embracing the far greater rewards.
So we, and others like us, take great comfort in the power of our online tribe and surrounding ourselves with a team that shares our beliefs and our passions. We developed a team that has each other’s back—no matter what—so we are not alone!
Although uncertainty rears its head again in the fact that not knowing if that will all be enough to outweigh the negativity. There is a great fear of measuring up to others’ expectations, or what we perceive are others’ expectations. We don’t want to feel judged. In today’s world, sharing socially is basically mandatory, and the complete open expression of opinions is almost expected. But how much is enough? TMI! It really boils down to what you feel authentic in sharing through your social media. What you are comfortable sharing is how much you should share. If the process is authentic and the content is authentic, then we stand alongside you and cheer—you go girl (or to be politically correct—person)! Unless it is your authentic bodily functions…we literally do not want you to share your bodily functions.
IS IT REALLY YOU?
People will always judge other people on some level. Always. Isn’t it better to be judged on the truth of who you are, rather than what they perceive to be the real you? In our ever-present social media society, we face a consistent battle between living authentically and walking the line we think others want us to walk. Are there others out there like us? How do you deal with your online presence being shared authentically? Try not to judge us, but we are going to go rest after all this authentic sharing.