“Authenticity” is a word that seems to get thrown around a lot. You have heard it often if you are a small business owner spending time on social media and looking for advice. But, authenticity applies to all marketing, and the principle is an important one.

People learn about your business from the messages you put out there. They read, watch, or in some other way observe the messages, and then they interpret it. Their interpretation of your business is what your brand really is. They learn to associate your brand with what they have perceived.

One day, these people will walk into your store, purchase your product, meet your team, or have some other more personal interaction with your business. In that moment, if what they experience does not match up with what they have come to understand, there is going to be instant confusion. In fact, if they have locked on to a certain vision of what you are all about and developed a trust and affinity for that vision, you break their trust the second you do not match up.

Authenticity is not just about having your social media persona look genuine. It is about finding the intersection of representing what your target market is looking for AND being able to deliver on it long-term.

We – in fact I – focus a lot on speaking directly to your target market and saying the words that will show those leads that your message is applicable to them. But there is another critical component. The message your customers perceive has to line up with their experience with your business. This way, your customers will be more likely to be satisfied and support your business in the long term.