Being Authentic Without Oversharing on Social Media

Many of my clients struggle with writing content, especially on social media, because they view themselves as “private” people. I totally get that. The trick is understanding the difference. Once you understand how to be transparent you will enjoy sharing with your community and watching the relationship you build with them grow.

Transparency should feel like a warm hug that lets others know you understand, you’ve been there… You may even be there in the current moment. Transparency shouldn’t feel icky, awkward, and uncomfortable. Some things are better left for the therapist’s couch, not your content.

When creating compelling content, it’s important to know the line between transparency and intimacy. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will help you create compelling content that doesn’t undermine your authority or make people feel weird.

Do: Share true stories and current topics that are meaningful. Even if the topic is tough, it’s ok to share if the context is to show growth you are making, positive steps you are taking, or valuable lessons learned. Focusing on the best of a hard situation is fine. Sharing despair, hopelessness, or helplessness is never a good idea.

Do: Remember you are an authority. Your audience is looking for you to be the authority, sharing content that shows you are human, fallible, and vulnerable is one thing. Sharing content that exposes your innermost secrets is an inappropriate intimacy.

Do: Wait to share. Sometimes you are not in the best place to share information. If you are experiencing a difficult time, it might be best to wait things out and share the journey in hindsight or not share it at all. This is your choice. 

Do: Share parts of your life that you enjoy sharing. Do you love poetry or music? Share it. Do you love hiking or bike riding? Share it. Sharing parts of your life here and there that are not work related is a great way to connect with your community. 

Do: Focus on your goals and how you help your clients transform their lives by serving them.  How can you best help them with the products and services you offer? You’re in business to make money, not to collect new “friends”. You will make new friends along the way, but it is not your goal.  Focusing on this will help you stay on track.

Don’t: Send the wrong message. Being vulnerable can backfire when it crosses into intimacy. Sharing certain types of information with the general public may undermine your expertise and authority. Be sure your content puts you in the proper light and doesn’t look like a spotlight on every skeleton in your closet.

Don’t: Forget to share the whole journey. Follow up your transparent content with closure. Letting your community know how you solved a difficult problem, overcame a setback, or conquered a fear gives them the full range of information that lets them know you are human, and you are well-rounded. Sharing your journey should not be every detail but the highlights that they will connect with.

Don’t: Share difficult content without a second set of eyes. Being transparent can feel powerful and helps people relate to you but it might be a good idea to have a colleague review your material if it skates on the edge of intimacy.

Don’t: Vent your frustrations. We all have things that tick us off, both work and personal related. Venting has no place in your marketing. Transparency is not “airing your dirty laundry.”

Being vulnerable is a great way to build relationships and increase your following but it’s important to know the difference between being transparent and being too intimate.

Think about how it would impact you if you were in your community and it was shared by someone else. Would it be something you would want to hear? Would you think they went into too much detail? Thinking about it from the receiver’s point of view can often help you decide what you want to share and not share.

Follow these do’s and don’ts and you’ll create compelling content that makes a genuine impact.

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