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These days, being authentic in your business is more important than ever. People want to know that they’re putting their money into safe hands and, in the case of trainers, that we’ll share knowledge that’s current, relevant and will make a positive difference.

Just a whiff of insincerity can send potential clients to your competitors.

The rise of social media has a lot to do with this. People talk, and word of mouth is like a fast-spreading fire that can’t be put out. When brands or individuals do something that is perceived to be untrustworthy, others know about it in real time. Reputations can be damaged with one ill-worded Tweet or status.

GDPR has put privacy and authenticity under the spotlight and the only way for businesses to stay relevant will be to connect with customers/clients on an authentic level that resonates with their core values.

Just look at Facebook’s current ‘Facebook Here Together’ ad campaign, which is all about repositioning the platform in an authentic light after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

To thrive, you must prize authenticity above everything else in your marketing.

Authenticity is a strength

For me, being authentic is about understanding what gives me a sense of purpose and what aligns with my core values and then building a business that reflects this.

The key is to think about how you can communicate this to your clients and show them why your authenticity will benefit them.

Here are some ideas:

  • Tell people about your passions and mission – it shows clients that you have a sense of direction and purpose
  • Listen to what your clients have to say – it shows you want to understand all sides of the conversation and that you care about their opinions
  • Be honest when you don’t know enough about a topic – it shows you’re humble, honest and always learning
  • Stand up for what you believe in or what you know – it shows you have a strong moral core
  • Be charitable – get involved in causes that matter to you – it shows you put thoughts into action
  • Be consistent even as you grow – it shows you are true to who you are
  • Never make claims that you can’t prove – it shows you’re trustworthy
  • Give evidence to support what you say – it shows you do your research
  • Respond to enquiries quickly, politely and helpfully – it shows your clients matter to you
  • Respect people’s privacy – it shows you understand client relationships are a privilege not to be abused
  • Encourage reviews and case studies – it shows that other people have found you to be authentic

Being authentic doesn’t mean sharing everything

Although transparency is an important part of authenticity, please don’t feel that you have to share the inner workings of your mind and business for the whole world to consume at every turn.

It’s OK to hold something back, to only provide information that’s relevant to your audience, to be authentic without having to spill details of your private thoughts.

One of the best approaches is to decide how much you are willing to share with your audience, as well as how much they will want to hear.

Someone who has built their life coaching business around helping people find a life after depression may talk openly about their own mental health experiences but that doesn’t mean you have to. A dog walker might feature their own doggy trials and tribulations on social media but it’s probably not the right thing to share with your training audience.

Similarly, don’t feel you have to post pictures of your breakfast or latest holiday on Instagram to be authentic to your clients. These kinds of posts have little value.

Instead, think about how you can be authentic in what you do share as an experienced trainer. Tell people why you do what you do and why it makes a difference to your clients. Provide information that’s relevant and actionable, share links to information that you genuinely know will help your clients, use images that resonate with your audience.

Before you post a blog, advert or social media post, ask yourself if you’re happy for the content to be ‘out there’ forever in the marketing ether. Does it feel right? Does it reflect who you are? Is it truthful?

If the answers are ‘yes’ then you’re building authenticity into your marketing and, with it, you are growing your reputation and value to potential clients.

How important is authenticity to you, both as a trainer and as a customer? How would you define authenticity? Do you worry about how to be authentic without oversharing? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the Comments below.

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