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Have you read Richard Branson’s blog or do you follow him on Twitter? Interesting question you might say but how do I end up being compared with a serial entrepreneur? The answer to that is quite simple. The headline was the hook and made you curious and the answer is authenticity.

In the Free  Dictionary the word ‘authenticity’ is defined as “the quality or condition of being authentic, trustworthy or genuine”

Richard Branson uses a blog and Twitter to communicate with people. He probably uses other technologies but I came across those two on his site. Those tools give expression to who he is and what he is doing. Now,I carried out a little experiment by asking a number of people on Twitter what is their favourite and most effective social media platform. You might want to ask yourself the same question.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Skype, Blog et al

My question was not based on looking for statistics to use on the most used social media site. You can find those statistics on the web. I wanted to see how different people from varied business types responded. The outcome was great and confirmed what I thought. We are all different.  It showed me that  being ourselves and using the  social media platform that best serves us and our business is a very powerful tool indeed.

So, what do I do?

1.   Ask yourself, which social media technology do you prefer to use when communicating with your customers? Whichever one you choose, give time to it each day. Twitter and Blogs  are littered with people who started off with gusto and good intentions but have tailed off almost to a standstill. Develop a small following of people you can connect with and chat with them. Build the relationship. Move beyond the small talk and start to engage with those who want to connect. It is not primarily a ‘numbers’ game but rather networking for mutual benefit.

2.   Be genuine, be yourself and become trustworthy. That is actually hard work, believe me. Have you ever greeted someone and they just looked at you without even a smile? Well, those people are few and far between thankfully. However, I come across people all the time on social media who are not the least bit interested in connecting even though they may have initiated the contact with a ‘like’ my Facebook page. You know how I feel about this so no further comment. I observe people and appreciate that we are all so different. Engagement enables a rich diversity to emerge. In my mind that is where trust starts and takes us to the place where business begins.

3.   Test which technologies work for your business. I like good websites, engaging blog content and micro-blogging on Twitter. I will occasionally use Facebook. Try them out and test if they work. If they do use them.

You may not be Richard Branson- neither is Usain Bolt!  BUT, you are you. So, let me leave you with 3 words – TRUST, ENGAGE and PERSEVERE. It will be worth it.

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