You’ve probably heard the word “authenticity” tossed around more times than you can count lately. Be yourself, be authentic, show your personality. The topic of personal branding has become a popular subject across all entrepreneur-centric publications in the past year – and with good reason. Personal branding is the most important part of your business. It sets you apart from others within your industry and carves out a space that belongs only to you. So, not to sound like a broken record but, when talking about personal branding, your authenticity really is your secret weapon.

But, beyond just addressing the importance of creating a unique personal brand, let’s talk about how to actually do that. So, we’ve got 5 tips to build your personal brand that will help you sort through the rhetoric and create actionable steps for your business.

Get Comfortable in Your Skin

The best way to make your brand reflect your personality is to get to know yourself a little better. What do you really love about your job? What drives you crazy? How do you like to interact with people? Are you an all business straight shooter, or are you a laid-back freestyler? Whoever you are, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your unique style. That will help you translate that into your brand messaging in a way that represents you and connects to your target audience.

Don’t be afraid to be quirky. Believe it or not, people love quirky and they’ll respond to seeing you be comfortable in your own skin. Nothing reads more inauthentic than a person who acts and speaks too carefully, trying to portray an image that they think people will like. It won’t do you any favors to pretend to be someone you’re not. Why try to mimic someone poorly when you’re so awesome at just being you?

Be Active in the Online Community

The best way to showcase your personality in the digital age is through social media. While your website provides a quick glimpse into your style and personality, social media presents an ongoing opportunity for your audience to get to know you on a personal level.

Use your Instagram to show snapshots of what makes your life special. Sharing your passions and adventures with your audience will help them connect to you. Take advantage of Facebook Live where you can answer questions and demonstrate your value for open communication. Contribute to conversations on Twitter with thoughtful, personal responses. Being an active member of the online community will show your potential clients that behind your brand is a living, breathing, interesting person – not just another robot.

Don’t Stop Learning

One common thread of all humanity is the desire to keep learning. We are constantly improving ourselves and expanding our minds. Your personal brand, as an extension of you, should do the same.

Take every opportunity to learn more about your industry and your clients. Hone your skills to improve the services you offer. Ask the right questions to discover what your clients really need so you can better meet those needs. Approach your continuous learning as a way to provide better, more personal service to your clients. Your desire to keep learning and growing will enhance your personal brand and reinforce your passion for your work.

Disable the Autopilot

We get it. Everyone needs an autopilot from time to time. You can’t be available 24 hours a day, and sometimes you just need a vacation. Take advantage of automation for the times when you can’t be present for your clients. But don’t rely on it too heavily.

Automation is the enemy of authenticity. While you may think you’re getting away with automating all your content, it’s not going unnoticed by your audience. If using less automation means sharing less content in general, then consider the idea of quality over quantity. A few posts that are authentic, personal and engaging will far outweigh a full day of mindless, automated content.

Whether you’re just getting started, or you’ve been in business for a while, take a look at your personal branding. Does it really reflect who you are? If the answer is no, it’s time to get back to the basics and put yourself out there – your real self out there. The world doesn’t need another cookie cutter brand. It needs your authentic voice.