Creative Entrepreneurs, Instagram, and Vulnerability
I understand being vulnerable is a trendy marketing strategy for creative entrepreneurs on Instagram and social media, especially among women. However, there is a difference between being authentic and vulnerable in business.
Customers don’t need nor necessarily want your vulnerability.
Vulnerable: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage
Customers do however want to buy from businesses and work with women who are authentic.
Authentic: true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character
Vulnerability happens when a mutual relationship has been established and built on trust.
“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredibly lucky.”
― Brené Brown
Being vulnerable is not a marketing strategy to be used for attention or manipulation. When I see creative entrepreneurs posting on Instagram and social media about their insecurities and weaknesses it is a major turn off. It is the equivalent of posting on a billboard, “I am unsure of myself and don’t know if I am capable, but will you still pay me $5000?”
How does this impact my business?
Women wonder why they are not attracting ideal or high-paying clients and part of it is due to the emotional vomiting. It detracts from the perceived value of your brand and creates a confusing message. If someone is giving you their hard earned money, then they are expecting a businesswoman who is confident and capable.
We talk about wanting equal pay, but then don’t bring our best selves to the table (or social media). If you project imperfection, nervousness, and are continually self-deprecating then clients will wonder if you are capable of helping them. Not only will they wonder if you are capable of helping them, but they will question whether you are the best woman for the job.We talk about wanting equal pay, but then don't bring our best selves to the table (or social media). Click To Tweet
What should I do instead?
If you need support, reach out to friend off-line or within the support of an intimate group (ex: Mastermind) Social media is not the place. Emotional vomit doesn’t do anything to build your business long-term nor does it provide value to your audience.
Before you post, ask yourself these questions.
- How does this serve my audience and bring value to their lives?
- How does this uplift, educate, inspire, and make better the audience I am serving?
- What am I giving energy and attention to? Whatever you give energy to it grows.
But I want to connect with my audience, how do I that in an authentic way?
Share personal anecdotes. The best personal anecdotes are where you faced a challenge, found a way to overcome it, and you are sharing the story because it relates directly to your business and is a lesson your audience can apply.
Share high-level personal facts. Social media is primarily for brand awareness and creating memorable first impressions. Think of it in terms of dating. Social media is the first date and you want to create a great first impression. No one (or you shouldn’t) goes on a first date and shares their entire life story and all the baggage. It is too much for the other person. It is overwhelming and they don’t know how to process it. The same applies on social media. Once you build a true relationship with a customer where trust has been established then you can open up more.