You’d think with all the time I spend on social media I would’ve heard this before, but I just picked up on the term “success theater”. According to brand & product strategist at DonatWald and Haque Thom Pulliam, success theater is defined as “how we present our best self in digital channels.”

It makes perfect sense. Is your life really all rainbows and sunshine, or is it just your X-Pro II filter? Our Facebook feeds have become carefully selected highlight reels of achievements, with soft edges and lens blurs in all the right places. As an article from The New York Times states, “We’ve become better at choreographing ourselves and showing our best sides to the screen, capturing the most flattering angle of our faces, our homes, our evenings out, our loved ones and our trips.”

Because social media has become such an important tool for consumers, brands and companies to interact with each other, the weight of what we post is greater than it ever was. You can never be sure who is following you or sharing what you say with others; and so as a result, we have become accustomed to cultivating a perfectly manicured, politically correct digital personality.

With the weight of the responsibility that comes with a digital image, it is understandable that so many community managers and CEOs are afraid to push the send button. However, there is a tipping point when content becomes too carefully cultivated—it loses its authenticity all together.

So how do we overcome the issue of balancing a professional image with a genuine voice? Here at SoMe Connect, we tackle the challenge by truly getting to know our clients and their audiences: what their brand stands for, the goal they are trying to achieve, how their users interact with the personality of the brand—and how to translate that into genuine, polished content that still resonates with their followers. As blogger John Lee from ClickZ writes, “we need to embrace this fundamental nature of user behavior; namely, that people act, engage, and respond not solely as professionals, but as nuanced human beings. Users are not simply – and absolutely cannot be solely treated as – potential sales.”

It’s a tough balancing act, but in order to connect with people successfully in the digital world, we must still be able to infuse our content with a level of authenticity. This means we need to be passionate about whatever we stand for and the message we are trying to convey, not just the product we are trying to sell. This process involves a lot of trial and error, but, like Lee says, “That’s why it’s an art, not a formula.” Cultivating authentic content takes time, but it will help you to create genuine relationships and a community that will stand behind your company and mission for the long haul.