Imagine having your entire life recorded online for posterity.
For many, this may be an absolute dream. I’m thinking reality TV stars, socialités, and those whose TV stints have catapulted them to fame.
Now, imagine having details of your personal life splattered all over social media and out of your control — this is a common concern for everyday people like you and me who happen to inhabit a world where digital channels are the norm.
One common thread for entrepreneurs who are the face of their business is how to differentiate between being a personal brand (having your name on your business, being the face of your business, etc) and feeling exposed in your business — when is it too much? What should you share on your platforms?
It’s hard to draw a clear line between a personal brand and your personal life. But in the end, I believe it comes down to making an intentional choice. In this blog, I’m breaking down the four steps you’ll need to take to have an authentic personal brand without feeling exposed online.
4 factors to consider to protect your personal life online
Set an objective for your online presence
Taking the spaghetti approach — that is, throwing stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks — with social media is bound to leave you feeling unsatisfied. Not to mention it’ll do very little to help you achieve any goal.
Instead, approach each channel from the perspective of what you want to get out of it professionally. Then, use each channel strategically to achieve these results.
Consider defining a concise use of each platform, like devoting your LinkedIn account to establishing thought leadership or using Instagram to foster a more personable presence and sharing behind-the-scenes looks at your life and business.
Newsletters are the perfect space to “journal,” reflect and share your thoughts, processes, or tips for running a business.
This approach allows you to plan your content in advance and remain in control over what you’re sharing and how without losing your voice in the process.
Draw clear boundaries — and stick to them
Especially if you’re considering sharing about your loved ones or personal life, it’s essential to draw a hard line on what’s too much to share.
Danielle Moss, the founder of The Everygirl, chose to document her daughter’s cancer treatment on Instagram and her blog to raise awareness and funds. Using her massive platform this way is priceless for cancer research, especially pediatric cancer. However, she thoughtfully chose not to share her child’s diagnosis or specific course of treatment.
When considering what to share and what to keep private, remember your followers’ natural curiosity, the reason they’re following you, and also how the information will affect the followers’ overall perception of you. That’s not to say you need to be fake, but they’re likely following you for specific reasons and pivoting away from these could push them away — and you’ll need to weigh whether it’s worth assuming that consequence.
Be open to experimenting
It’s easier to overshare than it is to overprotect — and once you post something, there’s no reeling it back in. So if you’re not quite set on what you want to share, start small and open yourself up as you gain confidence.
You’ll also want to be mindful of your loved ones’ perspectives on the matter. How does your child or spouse feel about being featured on your social media if you choose that route? Embrace open and frequent conversations to prevent resentments from building up. This is especially true now that children are shown online even before they’re born — something we didn’t have to deal with.
Stay true to yourself
A common thread — and perhaps the biggest flaw — of social media is the fact that we know everything on it is a fraction of reality at best. Yet, we compare our behind-the-scenes looks with others’ highlight reels and take them at their word.
While you don’t need to go around venting every issue, you want to ensure that whatever you post is a real reflection of yourself. The same is true whether you choose to share your entire life or only your business ventures.
Regardless of how much you choose to share, always share from a place of authenticity. This is the only way to foster true connection and engage with your followers in a meaningful way.
Having a personal brand doesn’t have to mean baring it all
Embracing vulnerability as an entrepreneur can be scary.
It’s hard enough to put your business out there for the world to see. And documenting it all online can be even more challenging. But you have control over what you share. Taking the time to decide how you want to go about presenting your personal brand to expand your business will save you countless headaches down the line.
Are you interested in defining a strategic online presence to support your personal brand? Book a discovery call to discuss how we can work together to make your marketing personal without overstepping your boundaries.