Code Switching and the Cost of Fitting In.

Social media marketers bang on a lot about authenticity. Why exactly is it so important to present your authentic self on platforms that quite frankly seem to only display everyone’s highlight reels?

Pretending to be someone else or “code-switching” is broadly defined as adjusting one’s style of speech, appearance, behaviour, and expression in ways that will optimise the comfort of others in exchange for fair treatment, quality service, and employment opportunities. 

In short we consciously and subconsciously use it as a tool to assimilate into our surroundings, and is most often used by minorities and women. We might code switch to fit in, or when we want to get something.

The problem with being inauthentic though is that if are never truly being yourself how will you attract your tribe?

Being authentic in social media allows you to market to, and attract, the right customer for your business. It’s no good pretending you are a super funky hip brand if your core demographic base is librarians (not that librarians can’t be super funky and hip but you get what I mean!)

Being yourself and letting your brand reflect this is what draws people to you. As human beings we want to find like-minded groups and feigning commonality reduces authentic self-expression and alienates those we seek to connect with.

Defining your style is key to creating value in your marketing. It is sometimes easier to define what you ARE NOT and then discover exactly what you ARE. For example, out of the following list choose 3-4 points that aren’t the style/tone of voice for your brand and then see what is left –

  • Friendly
  • Smart
  • Compassionate
  • Confident
  • Helpful
  • Casual
  • Sarcastic
  • Bold
  • Energetic
  • Cheerful and upbeat
  • Formal
  • Young and trendy
  • Deadpan or dry humour

By all means put your best foot (or face) forward in your social media but do it in a way that shows who you and your brand truly are. That is the gift that you give to your followers. Truth and authenticity in a world that can sometimes feel like it is all filters and fakery.

“No one can undervalue you if you don’t. Walk in your power, meaning know your value and carry yourself in a manner that ensures everyone else does as well. Be authentic and true to who you are. That’s worth more than any other version of you.”