I was recently coaching one of my private clients who had a major concern. She did a speaking gig that got rave reviews for the audience, but a videographer told her she shared too much personal information. The same thing happened when she published a blog post she would later share online. As a result, she asked me, “How much of my life do I actually need to share online?”
Before getting into my exact response, I first want to explain something to anyone who is trying to build a brand online.
The Age of Transparency
First off, let me explain something. The old school of thought would have you believe that sharing personal stories is counterproductive to starting a business. Speaking as someone who has built a career off of openly sharing her financial mistakes, I would venture to say this is no longer the case.
People are also savvy to marketing tricks and sales funnels. They aren’t going to give you their money just because you talk to them. Instead, they want to relate to you. They want to have an actual conversation. Once they trust you, then they will buy.
You don’t have to take my word for it either. All of my colleagues – whether in finance or some other field – get opportunities precisely because of how transparent they are and what they are willing to share online.
Now that we have that out of the way, the question becomes how much do you actually share?
Share only what is comfortable.
The first step in determining how much you should share online is to do only what is comfortable. This looks like different things to different people.
In my industry, some people share their mistakes but aren’t comfortable sharing their net worth. That is totally okay. The key is to figure out what you are comfortable with.
In my own personal brand, I don’t tend to share things that involve other people in my life. Quite frankly, they didn’t sign up for a public presence. If they give me permission then it’s a different story.
Share only what is relevant to your brand.
The next step in determining how much you should share online is to see what is actually relevant to your brand.
For instance, I talk about money so I tend to keep my dating life out of my branding. The only way I bring it up is if it somehow relates back to money. For example, “How soon should you talk about finances in a relationship” or something pertaining to gender roles.
Share the things people can actually learn from.
One of my rules for determining how much I should share online is to make sure there is some sort of teachable moment in there. As it turns out, life is full of teachable moments about money so I share quite a lot.
For example, I went through a hurricane and broke my MacBook. I turned both into teachable lessons about why people should have an emergency fund. This accomplished three things – showed that I too deal with life, showed that I am human and break things, and positioned me as an expert to teach.
The ability to share online is just another method of building authentic relationships that can help you earn more money. There is no longer a need to try to look perfect. In fact, perfection always backfires.