Using social media for personal branding is a powerful tool. It allows you to develop your online authority and trust – all while showing the “human” behind the brand. People want to connect with other people, which is why engaging in social media is such a fabulous personal branding tactic. But you may be thinking: Where do I draw the line between publicly sharing my life and maintaining my privacy?
Establish clear-cut boundaries on what you’ll post on social media
One of the best ways to maintain your privacy is to set up guidelines on what you’ll post and what you won’t post. Your guidelines don’t have to be fancy – just a list of scenarios that are off-limits for social media. For example, you may not want to post any check-ins that reveal where you live, where your kids go to school or the location of your favorite bar. Or, you may establish a guideline where you don’t post your kids’ names or their pictures.
The idea is to write down your guidelines to help cement them into your thinking. By having written guidelines, you’ll have the “guard rail” you need to post comfortably about certain aspects of your personal life.
Have your family weigh in on what you post
If you’re married, in a relationship and/or have kids (especially kids who use social media), it may be beneficial to speak with your loved ones about social media usage. First, you may want to ask their opinion about being part of your social media posts. Are they comfortable with it? Would they feel like their privacy is invaded? Are there certain circumstances where it’s not okay to post about them?
For example, my boys are in middle school and are frequent Instagram users. I’ve agreed to not post their pictures on Instagram unless we’ve discussed it first. And they’ve agreed to do the same for me.
Getting your family’s opinion on their inclusion in your social media posts will help you establish those guidelines discussed earlier in this article, plus keep the peace at home. J
If you’re waffling about whether or not to post something on social media, remember this rhyme: When in doubt, leave it out.
If you’re hesitating, it’s your gut telling you not to do it. This is especially true if you’re posting personal content. If it seems too revealing, if you think your loved ones would not approve, or if it doesn’t feel okay, then don’t post it.
It’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Reassess your comfort level after time
Many people who are uncomfortable about posting personal information on social media tend to “loosen up” after using social media more frequently. Conversely, some people go the other way – tightening and restricting what they post as they become more adept at social media.
Almost always, your opinion about what is appropriate for you to post on social media will change. Therefore, I recommend you reassess your comfort level periodically to see if you need to modify your guidelines or have another family discussion about social media usage. The key is to stay flexible!
Social media for personal branding doesn’t have to be a reality show of your life. By instituting smart, clear guidelines (preferably in writing), keeping your family informed and re-evaluating your comfort levels, you’ll find that engaging on social media is a fantastic way for people to get to know you. You can maintain your privacy and reveal information about yourself. Just know where one line ends and the other line begins. As you master social media, you’ll become more comfortable with posting personal information within your parameters – and have a richer social media experience as a result.
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