A lesson in authenticity and personal branding.
“Authenticity” gets thrown around a lot these days, a bit like "storytelling”, and other effective strategies-turned buzzwords. It’s similar to when a song you like gets overplayed. It becomes noise. So, it can be easy to forget why certain things were special in the first place.
We have to be mindful in business and remember not to put on a performative display. Your audience now wants to see what's behind the scenes, not what's in front of the camera. It's largely due to the boom in social media and user-generated content. When scrolling through your news feed, what type of brand message stops you: another heavily produced, overly polished campaign video or someone speaking from the heart?
We all know authenticity when we see it. It shines triumphantly. The problem is that only some of us are brave enough to practice it authentically because we're all running around worried about what others might think.
The perfect personal brand doesn't exist.
Personal branding. Some people cultivate it, and some don’t even think about it. Both are doing it right.
It's important to remember that it's not about projecting a perfect image but about being your genuine self. It’s about sharing your experiences openly, from the heights of success to the challenges you've faced. Acknowledging your mistakes isn't a sign of weakness; it's a sign of authenticity. It's through this vulnerability that you establish trust and create genuine connections.
How we present ourselves can mean the difference between success and failure, which means most of us try to protect our vulnerable side with some sort of mask. And that's ok. We just need to make sure the world can still see the real us underneath.
Being an authentic voice is a powerful asset in both life and business.
Merkle B2B's Superpowers Index recently identified the key drivers of B2B purchases in 2023. It’s no longer just about product features or pricing. Buyers want to know what brands are like behind closed doors. In the early days, people didn't want to see anything non-business related on LinkedIn; now, audiences want to see the real people and personalities behind businesses and what they stand for.
So, when we say "Scrap the Selfies" – we really mean try to come up with something more meaningful instead of a performative display. Something that's totally 'You'. And if it happens to be a selfie, then that's fine. Just check yourself and make sure you're being genuine.
And find your own voice. Are you critical? Are you insightful? Are you supportive? Authenticity really is your most valuable asset. Focus on being true to yourself and building genuine relationships. You'll find that your network becomes an invaluable part of your professional life.
To help you become a "Top Voice", here are our 5 top tips for showing up on LinkedIn…
Don't try to be like anyone else. Let your own style shine through in your interactions. People connect with real, individual humans, not polished personas.
Embrace your unique journey.Whether it's your successes, challenges, or even mistakes, these personal stories humanise your profile and make you relatable.
Don't be afraid of your struggles.Opening up creates a space for genuine connection. It's the brave and vulnerable voices that often leave a lasting impact.
Provide value to your audience.Whether you're a critical thinker or a force for good, your insights should be helpful. Your expertise will resonate with decision-makers.
Respect all the voices.Recognise that everyone's idea of community and connection on LinkedIn is different. Create opportunities for conversations of all kinds to thrive.
Be more human.Show the human side of your brand by sharing personal anecdotes. Let your audience connect with the person behind the corporate facade.
Oh, and here’s one more for luck…. Yes, we know, we couldn’t ignore the all-important storytelling….
Tell compelling stories.Use storytelling to make your messages relatable, easily understandable, and, most importantly, memorable.
Authenticity is the glue that connects communities, elevates personal brands, and creates meaningful engagement. It's the key to building lasting and meaningful connections. So, like we always say… Be Real. It’s one of our core values, and we try to make sure we live it through all areas of our business!
Written by: Christian Apthorpe
Featured image: Adobe stock image created by Master1305