Teaching social media authenticity is like teaching someone how to prepare for a job interview — how to appear confident and intelligent, while also not straying from who you are. It’s a combination of poise, honesty, and simply stating and living the truth.

When interviewing for a job, you should never lie about your skills, avoid answering questions, or pretend that you have experience you simply do not. It’s a matter of showing up and presenting your work ethic and your skills accurately.

This accuracy, and really honesty, in an interview, is similar to the mindset that you should have for social media — minus the formalities.

On social media, whether for your business, or a personal brand as an influencer, authenticity is what your followers (or potential followers) are looking for. They don’t want to see you pretending to be something else — they want you to show up and be you.

Authenticity is honesty. As you share more about yourself and your business, your followers will trust you even more. Here are some ideas to be authentic on social media:

Share what goes on behind the scenes.

If you love working in the park, bundled up in a hammock, show them that. Or rather, if you’re strictly down to business, and can only work in your office with strict hours, talk about it. Generally speaking, people love seeing a day in the life. And it proves that you are a professional, at whatever your expertise is, in your own way. Whether you’re working in a blanket, or in a sleek, metal office chair, you’re still working. Your followers don’t care how the work gets done. In fact, they’re more interested in getting to know who gets the work done. Show them who you are.

Don’t get caught up in losing followers for being vulnerable.

If you’re worried about losing followers for sharing the not-so-pretty side of work life, don’t forget that authenticity isn’t about the followers. It’s about sharing you and your business, regardless of what you think people might “want” to see. Plus, although you may lose followers, you’re also likely to gain followers that are looking for the honest, vulnerability you’re sharing.

Collaborate with other people on social media.

When you share about your business on social media, your followers have to rely on what you’re saying. And of course, as the business owner, or social media manager, you’re going to be a bit biased. However, if you partner up with another business or individual, and share how you have benefitted from them or their services, and vice versa, your followers will see that you provide what you say you do. There’s no better way to prove the legitimacy of something, than by reviews or referrals from your social network.

Engage with your followers.

Often times, we see businesses get caught up in the ‘business’ side of posting on social media, without ever stopping to engage with followers. One of the best ways to create relationships with your customers is to actually talk to them. On Instagram especially, you can easily scroll through your feed, following relative hashtags, commenting on posts from your ideal client, and being a participant, instead of a broadcaster. Show your customers that you care by stopping to chat, comment, and answer questions.

Be authentic.

Ultimately, social media authenticity is about mindset. Forget about the formalities, and your fear of being open, and remember that social media is a place to connect with your ideal client. They’re people. You are too. Be yourself. Stick to your brand and start sharing more than your sales.