‘Fake news’ has gotten a lot of news lately. Wait, don’t click away – this isn’t a political post. Strictly business.

What does fake news look like in your business? How real is your news feed? Are all of your photos meticulously styled? Do you only share good things that happen and never the challenges? Is your social feed like the #HobbyLobbyChallenge, and only looks good closely cropped? Is this real?

More importantly, is this the relationship you want with your friends and clients?

Lately, I feel a current of change, not only in my social media feed, but also in other media I follow. At a recent Rising Tide gathering I heard a significant amount of pushback against superficial feeds and artificial followings. There is a hunger for something meaty and real to sink your mind into. A hunger for SUBSTANCE.

There is a hunger for something meaty and real to sink your mind into. A hunger for SUBSTANCE.

Let’s get real

Throughout my career, business has been conducted in formality. In some industries this formal culture persists. For many, however, the culture of business has evolved to be more congenial and less formal. CEOs wear hoodies to work, jeans are in the board room, and let’s be real – I often work in my yoga pants. Business still gets done, we are just more comfortable doing it.

How does this ‘real’ show up on your social feeds and other communications? How do you straddle the line between projecting competence and being comfortable with your followers? Real does not mean unprofessional. What is appropriate depends upon you and your audience.

For example, everyone probably is not interested in what you had for breakfast. Unless, however, you are a health coach and your followers are looking for guidance on healthy living.

Relevant information that matches your follower’s needs is real.

NOT REAL is liking pages and feeds only to get a reciprocal like to pad your follower count.
NOT REAL is using click groups to artificially create engagement.
NOT REAL is tagging people you don’t know to gain a moment on their feed.
NOT REAL is buying followers.

Putting it into action – create REAL engagement with your followers

REAL let’s customers peek behind the scenes (give clients an understanding of what they hire you for)
REAL shares credit and celebrates collaboration (tag team members, vendors and partners)
REAL shows the WHY and the HOW and gives depth to your story
REAL creates conversation
and yes, sometimes REAL shows me working in my yoga pants 🙂

You don’t have to search long to hear complaints that social media is shallow. What an opportunity to shine! In a sea of ‘fake’ you can stand out by being your authentic self. Think about your true story and how you can share that with your audience. Who are you behind the logo?

Step away from the over-polished feed into substance. Create the opportunity for your followers to become engaged in your brand and contribute to a richer dialogue that is meaningful for all.

Searching for Substance: One change you can implement today to increase your social engagement