As someone who grew up feeling like the “odd duckling” of the family, being able to share my story on social media and connect with others who really “got” what I was experiencing, became a saving grace more times than I can count growing up.
In fact, I still remember the days I would rush home from school and sit for what I’m sure was an eternity waiting for AOL to load so that I could update my “blog” and hop in the chat rooms.
It was my way to give a voice to what was happening around me. Most of which I couldn’t understand at the time.
And, in the process, I began to learn just how many people were going through the same experiences in life that I was.
I wasn’t alone. Not even close.
Looking back now, it’s no surprise that all of my businesses were built online. It’s what comes both easily and naturally to me.
What does all that have to do with your business?
Because people like you and I aren’t using social media to simply connect with some friends from college, family members or previous coworkers.
It’s much bigger than that.
We’re using social media to make an impact.
This means that what we say comes with more of a responsibility than the average person.
And we need to make sure we’re all keeping that in mind as we continue to grow and scale and not falling into an all too common trap.
The Social Media “Transparency” Trap
I already know you started your business out of a passion for the work you do and who can benefit from it.
And because of that, I also know that you thrive on both connection and transparency.
Two things that you work towards consistently bringing to your audience.
But what happens when you’re going through a difficult time?
This could be something in your personal life, your business life or both.
Something that is draining your time and energy, alongside of throwing your emotions for a rollercoaster ride every ten minutes.
You’re trying to show up and do what you can but everything just feels off.
And the thought of even trying to explain it to people on the internet seems impossible. Heck, you’re still trying to figure it out yourself!
If you’re like most people I know…
In these times, you start to convince yourself that not talking about it on social media makes you a fake.
That you should “find a way” to talk about what’s happening so that you’re being “fully transparent with your audience in this moment.”
That it doesn’t matter if you’ve figured this out yet, you should be sharing all the details it because this is “part of the process.”
That giving yourself time and space to heal isn’t an option because “people need you.”
And that everyone else on social media looks like they’re “sharing everything” so you should too or else you’re doing it wrong.
If this sounds familiar, I’m writing this for YOU.
Because people are getting hurt by this approach to social media.
And that’s not ok.
Remember, as influential business owners in this world, we have a responsibility to honor both ourselves and others.
And transparency at the expense of yourself, those you love or your audience, does NOT honor anyone.
In fact, you can do incredible harm by sharing something that you’re not ready to share.
To your audience.
To your brand.
How to Determine What You’re (Really) Ready to Share on Social Media
Ok, so how do you know if what you’re sharing is coming from a place of service?
I have four questions that I put myself through, in this exact situation, that makes the answer a clean yes or no.
1. Am I in the heat of the moment still?
Self awareness is key here. If I know I’m coming from a place of extreme anger, hurt, sadness and/or loss, I’m not ready to share it yet. Anything I share will be emotionally charged and I’ll wind up feeling bad about it after. It’s not worth it.
2. Does this serve or hurt?
I write out everything that I want to say in that moment and then read over it with this question. If what I wrote would make someone feel bad about themselves, I see I’m simply being ranty and work on myself instead of posting it.
3. Who else is involved in this story?
If what I share involves my spouse, friends, family and/or clients, I want to be aware of that and respect their boundaries as well. If it crosses it, it’s a no. There’s plenty of stories I would love to share with you but I respect those involved too much to do so, so I use others. Trust me, you have plenty to share!
4. Is there a lesson in this?
There’s nothing worse than the person who simply complains for the sake of complaining. However, if I have learned something in the process and feel comfortable with sharing that journey, it’s a go. If not and I’m still trying to figure out any good from the situation, it unapologetically stays with me.⠀
The key here is to be honest with yourself as you ask these questions (yes, even if you don’t always like the answers!).
This means that sometimes, you’ll have an easy green light to go and other times, you’ll see that there’s some personal work that needs to be done first, before sharing.
If the second is the case, this is where having a business that works FOR you comes into play.
You could either share more “fact-based” content for the moment by sharing best practices, strategies, tips, etc that revolve around your expertise.
Or, you can leverage the power of repurposing and pull some previous goodies out of your arsenal of content to share, while you’re navigating what’s happening behind the scenes.
Either way, allow you to stay connected to your audience in a way that honors the healing or support you need in this moment.
Success on Social Media Always Starts with You
This means taking care of your own needs first.
No matter how many followers you have or what you’ve shared in the past…. you always have the right to reserve what you need to for behind closed doors.
It doesn’t make you fake.
It makes you human who is figuring out life like the rest of us.
A human who is under NO obligation to share every detail of her life, in real time, simply because you have a business online.
Your business. Your life. Your Rules.