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Get Real, People: Authenticity as a Social Media Strategy

Social media is more social than it is media.

Just as the telephone is a technological tool to facilitate communication between two or more people, social media is about people and personalities, and relationships between them. While there are many good lessons and smart strategies about how to use social media (personally, professionally and as a brand), authenticity is paramount for any kind of success. In fact, when someone is truly authentic and they are able to translate that authenticity online, it can trump any kind of highly choreographed campaign.

Nowhere are these lessons more apparent than two political examples of great quality social media use this week. All the strategists in the world cannot replace what is authentic, personal and socially resonant.

First example: President Obama joined Twitter. While I’m sure he’ll have plenty of announcements and formal, highly edited tweets, he was displaying his personal touch right out of the gates, with a highly conversational style and witty sense of humor.



Second example: Senator (and presidential candidate) Bernie Sanders has taken to Facebook to share the questions and concerns he’s wrestling with as a representative of the people. He writes most of the content himself, largely ignores the sage advice of social media strategists, and is outperforming many other candidates on social media. Why? Because the ideas, opinions and personality he’s presenting are authentically himself.



The New York Times reported that, “the reason Bernie Sanders’s posts sounds like him is that, for the most part, they are from Bernie Sanders. He often comes to his Senate office with quotations at the ready.” Bernie himself was quoted as saying, “Usually, it’s in the shower where something pops into my head. I play a very, very active role in writing, literally writing, what goes up there on Facebook.”

Yes, you should be smart and thoughtful and strategic. And part of that strategy is to, quite literally, be yourself. Share what’s important to you, offer anecdotes of your own life and pursuits, and allow your personality to shine through. In other words, keep it real.

How does your organization keep your social media voice authentic? Let us know in the comments! 

Join us on Thursday, May 28 for Nonprofit Productivity: How to Get Sh*t Done While Wearing Many Hats. In this free webinar, you'll learn how to clarify and prioritize what you need to get done so you make a bigger impact in your field. Register here: http://bit.ly/NonprofitProductivityWebinar

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