I was scrolling through the various e-mails I get during the day when the following headline caught my eye: “6 Ways to Become Likable With Social Media.”

I have to admit that I clicked. After all, who does not want to be likable?! And I usually like the posts at Social Media Examiner. As I was reading, though, there were a couple of things that struck me:

    1. These tips can be expanded beyond social media to inbound marketing as a whole (after all, social media is a component of inbound marketing).Thumbs_Up_Likeable_Inbound_Marketing
    2. Recommendation #2, to be authentic, might be the toughest one of the six for people to follow through on.

It’s not that people don’t want to be authentic. They do. But there seem to be a lot of hurdles to actually accomplishing it. But authenticity may also be the most important. As the article notes, this can be particularly challenging in a business environment, because as a business grows, so does its processes and models. These are often an impediment to being authentic.

But have no fear, the article also outlines three good tips to for overcoming the obstacles and being an authentic voice:

  • Be an “improv show,” not a musical—brands need to think less about putting on a show for their customers and instead focus on building an excellent team that is flexible, able to go with the flow, responsive and engaged.
  • Develop an authentic voice—consider what your brand or organization is all about. Think about how you can convert your mission statement or About Us page into a conversation piece. Let the world know your company’s personality while showing that you truly care about your customers.
  • Just be real—drop the PR-speak or legalese from your organization’s communication. If you sound robotic or scripted, you’ll turn off customers. Let people hear your real, human voice in all of your interactions and they will trust you and even buy from you.

While these rules may have been written with social media in mind, they have a broader application to inbound marketing efforts. If you are trying to develop content that attracts prospect, your best bet is to keep it real. If you are offering real solutions to real problems, you will build trust and relationships.

Once they trust – and know – the real you, becoming a customer is not that much of a leap.