How Authentic Are You With Digital Media?

Quite a few times I have heard and even have said,

“Digital marketing allows business owners and bloggers to be their authentic selves”.  

With websites, blogs and tools like Facebook and Instagram, organizations can present any aspect of a business in a specific manner.  From highlighting new products, showcasing employees or giving a behind the scenes snapshot of their business operations, just to name a few.

For Lifestyle Bloggers, quite simply it is those pictures that represent a “day in the life” view.  They reveal more information about the Author behind the blog, and allows bloggers to build their ‘brand’, tribe and audience.

Digital marketing is relationship marketing.  Digital media tools allow organizations and writers to show transparency into their organization.  Well, as transparent as they want to appear.

Fact: Digital marketing tools like social media and blogging are powerful ways to share your authentic self.

Question: How authentic are you with digital media?

Now here is the debate:

Are you putting your true self out there?  Or is it a modified version of how you want to be perceived?  And is this a bad thing?

This conversation has come up a couple of times in my presentations.  Most recently a professional musician attended a marketing workshop of mine.  She shared, “I have fans that find me on my personal Facebook account, I have other fans who follow me on my professional Facebook page.  Sometimes I befriend professional connections and don’t mind adding them to my personal network.”  Then she asked, “I often question, should I have a personal account vs professional account or should I continue to have both?

It brought up an interesting conversation in the room about how “visible” people truly want to be and how authentic they are online.  Some don’t mind sharing most aspects of their lives, others would prefer to keep it more private.  We all agree managing two accounts is a pain but sometimes is necessary to keep personal lives and professional lives separate.  In many cases, our businesses (blogs or organizations) are an extension of who we are.  Blending the two worlds makes sense.

Either way, whatever you put out there will have some reaction and perception attached to it. Whether you have divided your accounts or not.  Thus is the life when it comes to digital media.  Even if you keep your accounts separate, those who know you may judge your professional life based on actions in your personal life.  Are you a business professional that tends to work hard and play hard?  Most viewers will judge more on the playing posts than the working posts.

I can honestly say I don’t view this as a bad thing, if you are mindful about it.  This is the PR professional in me talking.  You should be smart about it.  We all have the ability to control our perception.  Yes, sometimes it bothers me that I have to personally filter what I really want to say, based on what my audience expects me to say.  However, that is a sacrifice I am willing to make for my business, since I have chosen to blend my personal and professional life in the best manner possible.

For everyone it comes down to knowing your brand, understanding your audience, the message you want to deliver – and what they want to hear. 

It also comes down to knowing your digital marketing goals.  Why do you have a digital media presence? Why do you blog?  Is it to build relationships, build your brand, have an online presence or to connect with your audience?  It is important to ask yourself why you are on these platforms.

You have to think about your digital media goals from a personal and business standpoint.

Due to my business and industry, I am hyper aware of this topic.  I warn you, quite often our actions speak louder than the words we put on our accounts.  If you are a professional jet setting around the world, people may think “when do they actually work?”  If you are a person that always has something negative to say, followers will attach that negative attitude to your persona.  If you go out and party every weekend, you will build a reputation.

However, digital media allows us to control our own image – to an extent.  The gray area is when others post pictures and tag you in locations against your own will or knowledge.

And to answer my question, “How authentic are you with digital media?

I am authentic as I want to be with my digital media – and that is okay.  I put the positive, happy-go-lucky vibe out there because that is a part of me I want to highlight and build upon further.  It isn’t a bad thing.

For me the rewards are far greater than the sacrifices to build my digital brand.  Since I am my business, I can control how others perceive me.  I want potential clients to feel comfortable enough to work with me.  They know from a professional standpoint what I am capable of.  I want them to be able to connect with me as a human.  That is why I have a public, personal Instagram account.  It allows me to lift the curtain on my personal life and let my personality “filter” through.  Notice how having this account is attached to my business goals, and what I hope to gain by having an online presence?

What are your thoughts on this topic?   Do you have digital marketing goals?  How authentic are you when it comes to your digital media?  I want to hear your thoughts!