How to be Authentic Online

Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting.

Nothing.

Communicating over coffee, lunch, or in a conference room, the communication is better, and there is little room for interpretation.

But in today’s fast-paced business world, the forms of communication are overwhelming, and many times a point trying to be made is misinterpreted, or missed altogether. It’s very easy to misread an email, or text, and the message is lost forever.

Being authentic online is as important now as it’s ever been. Communicating online is an extension of you. Like it or not, what you write will stay with you forever and impressions are easily made when reading what someone has written.

We’re not suggesting you become an English college professor, but writing correctly goes a long way in how potential clients see you. Even the basics, like learning the difference between ‘there, their and they’re’…or ‘to, two and too’ makes a difference. Use the incorrect usage of ‘there,’ and your credibility is shot.

If your message could be interpreted in more ways than one, smiles, emojis, and GIFS can provide more context for the reader that’s typically missing from online communication.

“People used to consider these tools inappropriate for business communication,” said Nela Dunato, author of the new book, ‘The Human Centered Brand.’ “But nowadays it’s normal to see them on businesses social media channels, though less often in emails.”

It’s not as if you need to reinvent yourself, and become that English professor mentioned above. In fact, it’s extremely important to be absolutely be 100% yourself.

When using copy or graphics, make it look like it’s coming from an actual person, not some corporate persona.

“Be humorous and clever, but don’t overdo it,” said Taylor Fulton, Senior Marketing Manager at Allen Press. “Share behind the scenes content of your office or work life, but be real. Don’t take staged photos like some sort of stock photo shoot. Your brand’s identify should shine though, and it should look seamless.”

When people read online communication, they like to know they’re talking to a real person. Communication comes in such bulk in today’s world, and anyone who’s in the industry can tell in an instant if something is fabricated.

So as simple as it may sound, doing something like adding a picture and brief intro to the sidebar of a website is often enough to build trust. The photo doesn’t even have to be much, in fact, a non-professional photo is best. A selfie helps to make you seem “real”, yet authoritative at the same time.

“It’s super simple, but my engagement rates have gone up on each website I’ve implemented this on,” said Jeff Lenney, a full-time Affiliate Marketer. “I often invite people to leave a comment on my posts, or even email me directly with any questions they have.”

But more than anything else, it comes down to being trusted. Graphics or not, photos or not, mistakes or not, can you be trusted? Being authentic and trustworthy has to come out in any form of online communication.

Dunato also says people choose who to buy from based on how trustworthy and likeable they seem. Authentic and transparent communication helps to grow that trust.

“Being honest and unapologetic will certainly lose you some clients and customers, especially if you loudly stand up for a cause you believe in, but on the other hand it will inspire even more loyalty in those who appreciate your personality and share your core values,” Dunato said. “It’s always difficult to make a bold statement for the first time, but it gets easier and easier over time. It’s best to practice with small things, like posting a funny observation on social media, or sharing a photo from your workplace that gives people a taste of the atmosphere, and after that you can slowly move up to sharing stories that matter.”

Another book author, Altimese Nichole, who recently wrote the book Brandticity, says it’s also important to know your own brand.

Who are you? What are your core values? What things matter the most to you? She says all of these things play a great part in your personal branding, which is how others perceive you.

“Be the best YOU possible, and don’t attempt to fit in,” Nichole said. “Dare to stand out, and own it. That will captivate others. Originality is power.”

Nichole also says to acknowledge that digital communication should amplify your voice, not mask it.

“People should see your online presence as an extension of you instead of a separate persona,” she said.

Did you like this article? If so, check out 6 Proven Methods of Marketing & The Power of Follow Up

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