We’ve talked about it and we’ve all heard about it – storytelling and authenticity, and how being your true self is your most powerful branding tactic.
But the question is:
How open and honest should you be when it comes to sharing your story with the world?
Bloggers Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Jon Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire, are well known for their transparency, even going so far as to post monthly income statements with numbers that everyone dreams of reaching for their blog.
When you’re making the bank bounce like they do with 6-figures each month, it can be easy to share that information, especially when you’re aiming to motivate and inspire your audience.
In this case, it works to attract the exact audience they want. Those who don’t like it, can find other influencers and mentors to follow. The whole point of it all is marketing anyway.
Aside from sharing your journey to make money, there are several other ways to be transparent about your story.
It can even go as deep as challenges or issues you’ve faced in your life, such as depression, divorce, or physical disabilities. Some people even go as far as talking about tragedies that have occurred at some point or another.
But, at the end of the day, there are certain things that should be off limits when it comes to transparency.
For instance, spats between competing businesses aren’t off limits for everyone, but maybe it should be. In some ways, it causes a buzz and stirs up attention. In other ways, it can make you look bad and petty by calling some other business out in a malicious way.
Ask yourself: What is this going to accomplish? How will this help my brand?
You don’t have to be open and honest about all areas of your life and business. When it comes down to how your brand is affected, keep certain aspects of your story private.
Watch Your Social Media
This is where a lot of business owners mess up, especially when it comes to Facebook.
You have a personal profile, where you talk business and your business page, where you talk business.
The days of separating the two are long gone.
Inevitably, there will be some overlap at some point even if you try to keep them separate.
With the evolution of the digital space, it’s imperative that you let people “in” so they can see you as a person, not just a business.
So, when you’re sharing posts about the dog chewing up the carpet in your new home or your trip to Mexico for your birthday, it makes sense and can actually help your business.
Part of branding is about lifestyle. You have to get into the groove of what you want your brand to represent and how you want it to be perceived.
Do you live life on the wild side or are you more conservative and normal?
Define what the essence of your brand looks like.
Remember, What You Put Out There is Forever
Privacy settings on social media platforms can help to keep your personal business away from the eyes you don’t want to see it, but think of every blog post, Tweet, Facebook status update and Instagram pic as a billboard.
If you wouldn’t post it on a public bathroom wall in an airport for all who enter to read it, don’t post it online either. Once it’s out there, that’s it, you can’t take it back.
Be mindful and think twice about nasty replies, intimate details, and other confidential information.
You just never know who might be reading, and they will affect your brand image.
Ultimately, get to know your audience just like you know yourself.
If you’re not comfortable sharing certain aspects of your life and business, don’t. It’s perfectly okay to maintain some privacy, even in the online world.