Transparency – Can it be too much?
We’ve talked before about storytelling and authenticity and how being your true self is your most powerful branding tactic.
But just how open and honest should you be when it comes to sharing about yourself and your business?
Pat Flynn and Jon Lee Dumas are notorious for their transparency, even going so far as to post monthly income statements. You might argue that when you’re making the kind of bank they do (6+ figures each month), it’s easy to share, perhaps even inspirational to your audience.
But it might also be off-putting to some people since talking about money is often seen as a no-no. In this case, though, it works to attract the audience they are after.
Others will find other mentors, and that is, after all, the point of marketing.
Transparency comes in other forms as well. Struggles with alcoholism, depression, cancer, and other health concerns are commonly shared.
Stories of marriage and relationship triumphs (and tragedies) are even told. Even spats between competing businesses aren’t off-limits for some marketers.
That doesn’t mean, though, that you need to be frank and honest about all areas of your life or business. With a little forethought and planning, you can certainly keep certain aspects of your story private.
Your Social Media Profiles
Here’s where a lot of business owners mess up, especially when it comes to their Facebook. You have your personal profile, where you invite friends and family, and your business page, where you talk, well, about business.
But there will inevitably be some overlap. Clients will slowly filter into your personal timeline and you into theirs.
Pretty soon, your business peeps are hearing all about your latest bout with the flu and that snarky thing your mother-in-law said yesterday. Too much? Perhaps.
When it comes to your social media sharing, it’s important to pay close attention to not only what you say but to who you’re saying it.
Using privacy settings, contact lists, and even limiting who you “friend” can help maintain your privacy while still being “transparent-ish” about your business.
The Internet is Forever
While privacy settings can help, a better way to keep your personal business away from prying eyes is to not post it at all.
Think of each blog post, comment, Facebook status update, and Instagram pic as your personal billboard. If you wouldn’t post it on the side of the highway for everyone to read, don’t put it online either.
The chance that it will “leak” (despite your best efforts) is great, and once it’s out there, you’ll never get it back.
So think twice about those snarky replies, intimate details, and other private information. You never know who might be reading, and they will affect your brand image.
The bottom line?
Know your audience, and more importantly, know yourself.
If you’re not comfortable sharing certain aspects of your life and business, chances are they won’t be comfortable hearing about it.
It’s okay to maintain some privacy, even in this transparent world of digital marketing.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TORIE MATHIS
Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs grow their business with Smart Marketing. She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, international speaker + trainer, and the CEO + Creative Director at Lake Shark Media. She also teaches entrepreneurs how to get smart with digital marketing at toriemathis.com
I help solopreneurs & biz owners (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + make more money without a big budget, a lot of time, or losing your sanity. And I make it easy!
You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.
What you need is to be SMART.
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