Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Authentic Social Media

(Beware the yearning for validation)

George Kao
Aug 20 · 4 min read

You post things on social media.

Most of the time, you don’t get as much engagement as you see others get.

Maybe you get discouraged…. why don’t people like you?

I’ve been there.

You need to understand how the algorithm works…not so that you can game the system to be more visible. (Not authentic!)

You need to understand that when you are browsing the news feeds, you are only seeing the tiniest percentage of posts that already got more engagement than the average post.

In other words, social media only shows you the tip of the iceberg, the few popular posts, and you don’t see the vast majority of posts that have near-zero engagement… few to no likes, comments, shares.

You have to realize: little engagement is normal.

Statistically, most of our posts are going to get less engagement than we hoped. If we use the news feed / home page(what we see) as our measuring stick, we’ll constantly be discouraged (or desperate!)

This brings up several important issues.

If you don’t pay attention, you’ll easily make the false connection:

“If I get more likes/comments/shares, it means I’m a more worthwhile person.”

Now that we’re consciously evaluating this thought, we can see how untrue it is…

Truthfully, your worth as a human being is unlimited.

(Or if you believe there’s no self, then there’s no self-worth either, so stop measuring yourself against others!)

Most of the time we forget this, because society keeps us measuring our self-worth based on external approval.

Let me be one voice to remind you: detach your social media engagement from anything having to do with how valuable you are.

When we forget the above, we lose our groundedness, our authentic power: being able to express ourselves free of attention-seeking. The world loses a moment of unique creativity from you.

It is a practice, done again and again, even multiple times within a day, to express yourself in connection to your deep truth.

Often, you may find yourself ahead of your time… people won’t understand you. That’s ok. You’ve still added a piece of uniqueness in the world that may be appreciated in the future.

Sometimes, though, it just happens that an authentic expression of your deep truth also resonates with others. At those rare times, you get lots of likes, comments, or shares. Let this kind of engagement be a pleasant surprise… rather than a consciously-manipulated result.

I wouldn’t say that. It’s about a difference of intention:

The conventional way — “I’m not aware that I’m attaching my self-worth to the social media respect I get… so I will study how others are getting engagement, and emulate the popularity tactics in hopes that I also get more engagement… and when I don’t, I will feel discouraged or resentful, and either quit, or use even more cynical persuasion methods.”

The authentic way — “I will be mindful that it’s easy to attach self-worth to social media respect, so I will practice connecting to my source of infinite worth, and then creating content from that authentic energy. If it happens to resonate with others, then what a delightful surprise! But either way, I will keep practicing authentic connection and creation.”

Continuing with the authentic way…

On an occasional basis (e.g. once a month), take note of the few content pieces you created that got more engagement than usual. What topic was it? Or how did you approach that topic? And do you feel inspired to create more similar content? If so, create more like that… but not until you first reconnect with your Source of worth, so that you can create from authentic expression, not because you expect to get another homerun.

  1. Before you post, reconnect for a moment with your Source of infinite worth, or whatever you need to remind yourself that you are not posting to get people’s approval.
  2. Practice expressing, writing, recording from your authentic self.
  3. Once you publish, go do something else… don’t keep checking to see if there is engagement! (This practice of ignoring the metrics will help you strengthen better boundaries.)
  4. If you haven’t already, turn off notifications on your phone for likes/comments/shares.
  5. Only check the engagement metrics once in awhile. The purpose is seeing what Topic or Approach is resonating with your ideal audience. If there’s little to no engagement, just remember: you are still practicing publishing, and that itself is valuable. The time for results will come. If however there is engagement, consider distributing that content more widely, however you do it, e.g. Facebook Ads.
  6. See this all as market testing and a long-term journey… nothing to do with how valuable you are as a person.
  7. Oh, and don’t ask friends to “like” your stuff… this just creates more desperation!

Keep following these steps, and you will eventually build a true fan base who respond eagerly to much of your content!

Originally published at

The Startup

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 by the author.

George Kao

Written by

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +536K people. Follow to join our community.

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