I recently got tapped to create and deliver a social media workshop for landscapers. As we were talking about what the workshop was going to look like, and how I could help them, one of the topics that came up was the ol’ “personal versus professional.”
When I’m teaching classes or workshops, I pretty much talk about this topic every single time.
You see, in order for you to be successful on social media, you can’t be just one or the other. If you spend too much of your time being “professional” on social media, you come across as only promoting your own agenda, and that can make you look robotic and frankly, boring. Social media is social. Facebook, especially, is about personal connections: my friends from university, other moms that my kid goes to school with. That’s why I’m there. So, as a business, you have to balance the professional with some personal stuff: using humour, for example, or posting photos of your office employees on Pink Shirt Day or their birthday, just to give a face to your business.
For those of us who are our businesses, the balance becomes trickier still. When people hire me to teach a workshop or to help them out with their social media marketing plan, they’re not hiring a ginormous corporation. They’re hiring me, which includes my charming and winsome personality.
So, I’ll be honest with you–I think a lot before I post something to Facebook, even to my personal account. I want to be sure that I am publishing things that support my personal brand (which is social media and food).
If I’m feeling discouraged, depressed, or otherwise having a hard time, I often stay off of Facebook, because I don’t like to post things that are negative. I like for my overall energy to be positive on social media, so I try to stay away from things like passive-aggressive vaguebooking, or complaining.
But in a world where authenticity is held up as the gold standard, I have to wonder, how far is too far?
I was having a conversation with my friend Raj the other day, and she said “I’ll be you eat gourmet lunches every day.” I had to confess that, I, in fact, seldom actually eat lunch, let alone gourmet ones. I get so wrapped up in my work, and am so often under deadline, that I forget to eat.
There are tons of beautiful photos of me on Facebook, taken at foodie events I’ve attended. But my day-to-day uniform consists of yoga pants, a t-shirt, a cardigan that is developing holes in the elbows, and a ponytail.
It’s really important to put your best foot forward. It’s really important to create and maintain a personal brand. But I’m starting to question if we are going too far into the realm of projecting “my life is perfect and wonderful.”
I guess what I’m questioning, on a deeper level, is what role do our egos have to play, here? I was going to take a makeupless selfie to accompany this post, and I couldn’t make myself do it! Every “like,” every positive comment we get about how we look or how amazing our lives must be, or how jealous other people are of us is a stroke to our egos. There’s even a chemical reaction that happens in our brains when people like us (“really, really like us!”) on Facebook.
So… are we building personal brands, or just stroking our own egos? And if we are just stroking our own egos, is there something wrong with that? Truthfully, does anyone care about my boring day-to-day reality? Or do they just want to hear about the cool things I do?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments section below.