While it’s natural to want to revel in the delights of the digital age, in between the flood of new trends and information overload it’s not always easy to stand out from the crowd and showcase your arsenal of goods – especially when that crowd is upwards of 2 billion users, and growing by the day. To truly stand out on social media, you have to first ask yourself why you want to be there and whom you wish to serve, because while its prefix begs to differ… self-promotion (when done well) should never really be about yourself anyway, and authenticity will always come out on top.

However, true authenticity is not something that can be measured so easily; creating content for a range of platforms can be both time-consuming and sometimes just plain uninspiring, not to mention confusing once the influx of trends, rules, and app updates are thrown into the mix. Yet regardless of the minefield that navigating the world of digital marketing sometimes feels like, it’s all about creating an online presence for yourself that is helpful, honest and most importantly human. It needs to resonate well with your audience, and paint an honest picture of whom you are as a business or an individual, by tailoring each little snippet and service offering alongside your core ideas, values, and goals.

As an art form, self-promotion is a skill that used to take a lot time to master, but now relies on social media smarts and authenticity to truly work. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd, and growing harder to appear unique when your competitors are popping up faster than you can even keep track. So what does it all boil down to? The two things that no competitor or online presence can take away from you: Having passion, and having good ideas. Because when you share good ideas – ideas that you personally believe in and are proud of – people naturally become curious, and are eager to learn more.

While we know true passion is contagious, in order to tap into the social media goods and truly thrive, you have to be authentically passionate about what you do, and how you do it. That’s the real secret to growing your followers, increasing leads to your website, making conversions and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry. And no matter which sphere you find yourself in, people all over the world are eager to be inspired, to be motivated, and impassioned by something new that’s brought to the table.

So where to begin? If you have the passion down pat but are a little lacking in direction, we’ve listed three simple tips to help you be well on the way to mastering the art of authenticity online:

  1. Connect with your consumers – The best way to attract an ongoing flow of followers is to engage with them; communication is a two way street no matter the channel. It’s one thing to flood your newsfeed with all of your services, what you do and just how well you do it, but what your audience is really looking for is to be enlightened. Your job is to be that proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’; find out what they’re interested in and interact with them, show a bit of personality, and most importantly – be human: be loud where appropriate, be bold always, but most importantly be yourself.
  1. Be creative with your content – In order to truly stand out, you need to stray from the norm. Be new, be exciting, and most importantly be interesting. When developing your brand identity or online presence, you need to first figure out what makes your business unique. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to capturing your audience’s attention, you want to take full advantage of every chance to communicate your message. Short attention spans have made lengthy explanations less effective – so get creative. Is there a gap in the market you’re itching to plant your feet in? The beauty of mastering the online world is that it’s all trial and error, really. You just have to dive in to know where you stand.
  1. Post consistently – Consistency is the key to almost everything in life. In order to ensure your audience is learning as much as they can about your business and not getting bored along the way, you need to be consistent with your content. This notion often gets mistaken for thinking we should post all day/everyday, and while in part that is true, there needs to be a certain quality attached to the quantity of what you’re posting. “Content for Contents’ Sake” won’t last long in the social sphere, especially with how easy it is to unfollow or unsubscribe these days. Instead,  grow with your audience, invite them to leave comments and feedback, show them that you’re eager to engage with them, and that there really is a person behind the images and words!
  2. Find your edge – Lastly, with consistency comes style; find a theme that speaks to you, and roll with it. It’s okay to be inspired by what others around you are doing, but keep in mind that it’s been done before. The best way to leave your mark on the world is to put your best foot forward and be as authentic as possible.