I usually have one ear in social media “listen” mode and the rest of my body in “execution”.  In listening lately I have seen many people “trying to be somebody”.  I even heard a speaker on a webinar state she helped people figure out their  persona even if exaggerated on LinkedIn.

I am a believer in “being what you want to become”.  However, being something that you aren't is far from authentic and far from anything that will get you success in business and social media.

One of my favorite books in 2010 is Gary Veynerchuk's “Crush It”.  If you haven't read it, go BUY IT NOW and  READ it!  I have to admit I have read it several times as it gives me incredible inspiration to keep building, dreaming and living my passion!  Gary stresses the importance of finding and doing what you have passion for!

My question is what will making up a profile on LinkedIn, a fake Twitter background, Facebook Fan page or even Tweets that don't represent the real you get you? Will it get you the dream job that you have always wanted? The time off you wish for? Or how about the paycheck you need to support your family?

Chances are if you are not being real, you are not the only one who knows. It is easy to spot a bad apple in social media.  It's easy to tell the ones who are trying too hard or only write their blogs by the marketing 101 book they used in 1987 high school or college marketing class.

Times have changed people. If you didn't notice, people buy from people.  They don't buy from fake coupon tweets, fake blog pages that mimic the college text book.  They buy from people that get to know them, listen to them, help them and share with them.

Social media is no different than a face to face social networking event.

What would happen if you attended the next local Chamber of Commerce networking event pretending to be something that you're not?  Chances are you wouldn't have a whole lot of friends and you probably wouldn't be getting a whole lot of ROI from the event. Why? Because people are there to “network”? They are there to COMMUNICATE, explore ways they can “CONNECT” with you.

Of course, they want to eventually be able to hopefully see some positive return on investment and grow their biz from the connections made.  However, it is not the first thing they say to you.  The good networking eggs will first ask you questions.  They will learn more about you than they tell you about themselves.

It's about “bearing fruit”.  To bear fruit you first must plant seeds, grow roots, grow trees and the lasting beautiful fruit.  Your best fruits are built on the passion within you, the goals that motivate you!

Don't build a business on the marketing text book. Don't overplan, don't underplan. Don't cry because you lose Twitter followers. Instead focus on the content that you can create that supports your passions.  The REAL YOU is there. If you lost it, never knew what it was or don't know where to start…  then dig it out!

Don't let the last mean boss, the fall of newspaper, or the fall of an entire industry define you.  Instead GO JOIN what it is that pushed killed the industry! Find the passion, the goals, the objectives to connect with others who are having success.  Go network with them, listen to them, help them, learn from them and get to know them! Let them also KNOW YOU!

However, when you do such… do it authentically! Join them with the REAL YOU! Even if you have been beat down by corporate so bad that you don't know what the “real you” is…. do NOT make one up.  Instead keep searching… but listen while you search.  Ask questions, engage, and connect.  Guaranteed there are a million other people out there in social media land who feel the same way! Find them and help build each other up!

10 Quick Get Real Tips:

Don't be afraid to show your true personality.  If you're serious, be serious. Happy, be happy.  Nutty, be nutty.  Sad, be sad.

2.  Use the Mama Test:
If your mama wouldn't say it… you might still be able to share/say it.  If you wouldn't say it to your mama.. then think about if you should or shouldn't say it.

3. Have an opinion!
Do not get mad if someone disagrees with you.  Being real = having feelings, opinions, and communicating them.

4. Make your own rules!
Don't be politically correct. Enough said. If you follow the rules in everything you do then you might as well go back to corporate.  Make your own rules friends!

5. Listen more than you speak!
Leverage social media to validate your next steps.   Social media is a communications playing ground.  Use it to test messages, share opinions and find the real you.  You will quickly see how people respond to a title, an idea or a message. In one simple Tweet and the use of a url shortener such as bit.ly you can tell almost instantaneously how people responded. Please remember a single tweet is not a comprehensive research method. It's a start though and is easy to do and FREE!

6. Have a personality!
I know I said this but I am saying it again!

7. Blog!
If you don't have a blog then start one! You can be up on WordPress in a matter of minutes and it's free.  Use the blog to work thru your thoughts, your experiences, your goals and your objectives. Enough blog writing, tweeting and response you get from others will help you dig out the real you.  I love how I start a blog post and almost always end up with a different title than I started with. Why? Because I write from my heart.  I often start out w/a formal post thinking okay…today I am going to write a “how to”. As you can guess, it usually ends up being a post filled with passion, opinion, feeling and usually a dash of  “nutty”.

8.  Stand on your Fruitbox!
Don't be afraid to stand on your box! You have something inside you love, know inside out and want to tell the world about…then why hide behind the walls of corporate, or the keyboard? Social media is one BIG HUGE fruitbox! Use it to share your message, your story and your content to help others connect with you.

9. Build your personal brand!
Regardless of if you work in corporate, don't have a job or work part time in a job that is not you… start building your brand NOW! Do not hide behind a cartoon avatar.  Instead put a photo of yourself on the Twitter avatar.  Film a video of yourself telling your story.  Heck, even talk about the fact you are searching for the real you! Build your brand as the most AUTHENTIC whatever it is you are, or are going to be that is based on your passion from within!

10.  Never say never!
Do not think you have to be beautiful, rich or famous to be successful in social media.  All you need is some passion, some content, and the desire to succeed and make a better life for yourself and you will!

So, could you pass the real test? Do you know your passion? Are you living it? If not, what is stopping you?

If you have concerns about joining social media as you don't want to open up the “real you,” your real friends or your second identity, realize it is not Facebook that is the problem.  Could be the identity you are trying to hide is the exact one that needs to come out! There is only one REAL YOU! Find it, know it and live it!