“Be sincere and authentic balanced with a proper measure of transparency.” – Kevin McKeown
It’s common knowledge that some of the world’s greatest and most creative thought leaders are authentic and forthcoming. After all, it makes sense since search engines and social media has made it extremely difficult to be anyone other than yourself. For example,in 1997, Steve Jobs once admitted to his, at the time, hundreds of employees that Apple stock was doing terribly and probably would continue on a losing streak for years before changing the world. His brutal honesty obviously worked. But still, it is very challenging to walk the line between transparency and oversharing when attempting to build a personal brand.
Although it can be tricky, it isn’t impossible to perfect the balancing act, as evidenced by some of the most successful influencers in the digital space. Here are some of the key components I’ve gleaned from social media stars about building an organic e-relationship with your followers without inundating them with way more than they need to know.
1. Always strive to provide something valuable to your e-audience.
Whether it’s humor, beauty advice or inspirational messaging, your digital brand depends on how much value your followers place on your content. Before posting, ask yourself “what would my followers get out of this after viewing it?” You could even take it a step further and ask “is my disclosure relevant to the matter at hand?” If a clear answer doesn’t instantly come to mind, reconfigure the post and try again.
2. Think your posts through, even the “spontaneous” ones.
Some of the world’s most emotionally-invoking news is now breaking on social media as
opposed to television screens so it’s no surprise that Facebook “think pieces” and Twitter op-ads run rampant on everyone’s timeline. But do these musings compromise your brand image? Passionate and provocative essays can be highly cathartic but once the temporary emotion has surpassed, your digital footprint will still be affected.
3. Remind yourself that everyone does not deserve your full transparency.
Social psychologist and TED Talk phenom, Amy Cuddy, recounted how she initially felt enormous anxiety about sharing her once debilitating brain injury with her social media following, but soon realized that after deep consideration, her story could serve as inspiration to those in need of encouragement when faced with insurmountable odds. She knew her followers “deserved” that gift and that it was relevant to her brand of promoting self confidence. When choosing content, take the same thoughtful approach.
4. Step on the other side of the screen.
How does your content look to others? It might be helpful to ask your friends to scroll through your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter accounts periodically and ask them to describe the pages’ brand in one sentence. What are your followers thinking when they view your content? Is your digital voice being conveyed accurately?
5. Give them the real. They’ll appreciate it.
In our age of transparency fostered by social media “realness,” we have become accustomed to seeing highlight reels of the lives of those who were once untouchable. Essentially, authenticity on the web is no longer a luxury, it’s a requirement. If content is contrived, your followers will be able to smell the fake through their phone and probably unfollow. Before pressing “send,” speak from the heart in your own voice, but always play it smart. Your digital self will thank you for it.
MADE by Jasmine Browley