If connecting with audience members through some more personal, vulnerable content is something that you’re wanting to try…listen up! There’s an art to this process.
Simply sharing personal content is not something to jump into. It takes some thought and consideration to decide what to share and where. Like, why do you want to share it in the first place?
This week on the podcast I’m giving you some of the questions I want you to ask yourself as you consider adding personal content to your marketing strategy. It’s not a bad thing to do, but there definitely is a right and wrong way to do it. So grab a pen and paper (or your tablet) and get ready to take some notes!
Mentioned In This Episode
Welcome to episode 163 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever-moving targets in any business and it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it ALL right, ALL of the time. You have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience and what grows your business. And most importantly, what feels good for you.
I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and consultant for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online and CEO and creative director of The Content Experiment, a content marketing agency that offers full service content marketing and podcast management.
I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so-called gurus think is the right thing; it’s about you and your business. Your lifestyle and, frankly, your values and belief systems.
You get to do business in a way that works for you.
You hear from marketing and branding professionals that it’s important to be vulnerable in your content. That people want to know the real you and the more you showcase your personality, the easier it is to connect with others.
And yes, all of this is true. But how much is too much? When is it okay to turn the vulnerability off? What’s professional and what’s not?
Great questions and I don’t actually have an answer. Haha! So why am I recording this podcast?
To say that any answer to these questions is subjective. And it depends on your business, your audience, and the nature of the personal content you’re creating and posting.
Like virtually anything in business (and content), it depends.
As you’re creating content for your business and looking to get more vulnerable, I want you to consider a few things:
- Where are you posting the personal content?
- Your LinkedIn profile?
- Your podcast or blog?
- In a nurturing email?
- Your personal Facebook profile?
- Your business Facebook page?
- Your business Instagram stories or your Instagram feed?
- Your personal IG stories or IG feed?
- Tik Tok or Reels?
- Where you’re posting personal content matters because some platforms or profiles are built for personal content and others aren’t.
- That doesn’t mean that just because you want to post something on LinkedIn that you shouldn’t. There might still be a time and place for it. Keep listening.
- What personal content do you plan to create?
- Are you posting about a personal problem or challenge?
- Are you posting something personal that’s actually about someone else, like your child, partner, or a friend? Are they actually okay with you posting about them?
- Is the personal post politically motivated? Is it meant to get a rise out of people? What do you (or your audience) have to gain from this? (Get real here. You cannot convince anyone to change their mind by posting or arguing on social media. Consider how much energy you’re going to spend on the comments. And maybe that’s worth it to you. I’m not here to judge…I’m just giving you some thoughts I think you should consider.)
- If you want to post it on a business Instagram account, is it in alignment with your business goals and values?
- For example, one of our company values at The Content Experiment is Lifetime Learning. At the end of last year, I posted a story of all the books I read in 2021. Including some personal fiction reads. Though some of this was personal, it aligned with my values.
- Another example is our value about work-life harmony. Occasionally I’ll do it, but in general I don’t believe in working after 4 p.m. or on the weekends. And I don’t want my team members to do that either. I want us all to enjoy time away from work and our computers and have a life. So if we post about doing something outdoors or something fun with our loved ones, it definitely aligns with the business–even though it’s not directly business related.
- Will your audience gain value by seeing the personal post? What do you hope to accomplish by the post?
- Always think about the audience when you’re posting something personal. I see too many personal posts that are self-serving or ranting. Or just plain nonsense. Now I’m all for a good rant from time to time but if you’re only posting something personal to show off wins or complain about something, it’s time to think again.
- Some outcomes of personal posts that are valuable: Humor, showing some behind the scenes (like your family or meal prepping), something that’s important to you (like you volunteering), etc.
- I saw someone post a few photos from their family vacation on LinkedIn. It was totally appropriate because the caption talked about stepping away form the office for a long weekend–which is really important for everyone to remember.
- I know someone who posts about home schooling and dealing with very extroverted kids as she’s trying to work. This is appropriate too, because she works with moms who are likely going through the same thing.
- I’ve seen a business owner post on Instagram stories, regularly, about dinners out, drinks, and so on. Not really appropriate on a business account. Once or twice a month, maybe, but on the regular? There’s nothing to be gained except for your followers to know that you eat out a lot.
- But if your business is aligned with a healthy lifestyle, then post the healthy meals you cook at home–within reason.
So after all of that, you’d probably think I’m very anti personal content. Nope, not really! Like I said, I definitely think it has a place. I’ve shared some personal and vulnerable information on my podcast and in my nurturing emails. I’ve talked about quitting drinking in 2020, told stories of me as a kid, shared some tidbits about parenting a teenager (who is now a young adult). I’ve also shared a bit about my teaching career and other former jobs and I’ve posted a few select life events. None of this was directly related to business or content or marketing, but all of it pointed to a story that was connected to what I do. Or it was just meant to be a fun story to share.
Just be selective. Yes, publish some personal content here and there. Put your face out there for your audience. Show a bit of your life. But the vast majority of your content, on your business accounts, should be related to business. Because that’s why your audience follows you! If you want to post personal content regularly, open personal social media accounts and go for it!
What are your thoughts? Do you disagree? Have a different perspective? I’d love to know! Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories then tag me at thecontentexperiment. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.