Being Authentic On Instagram Without Oversharing

Keeping it real without selling your soul.

Being transparent doesn't mean laying all of your cards face-up on the table.

You do not have to share everything on social media. Nor should you, since studies show that when people overshare their personal life, they actively build distrust in their brands.

Not allowing strangers access to every part of your life does not make you any less authentic.

That said, it's okay to be as open as you're comfortable with online.

It's also important to understand that each platform has a different purpose, different audience, and that each requires a different approach. Decide which platforms you're going to use and then write down guidelines for how you want to use them.

For example, here are some of mine:

  • ThinkSplendid blog (yes, blogs count as social media): Here I write about whatever strikes my fancy, but primarily focus on the topics of leadership, influence, and generosity.

  • Pinterest: I keep a curated aesthetic so that my clients can get a sense of and build trust in my level of taste. This matters to my clients, even though I don't sell design. Luxury brand clients want to know that I can understand and relate to the level of detail their own clients demand from them. Any useful-yet-ugly pins get saved to secret boards.

  • Instagram: It’s so easy with Instagram, especially in the wedding industry, to get bored with the same-sameness of it all, even if the same-same is beautiful. A while back I created #500daysofinspiration to push myself to keep my creative eyes open. Art, fashion, architecture, design, travel – I share whatever inspires me that day. I do not keep a bank of images to schedule in advance.

  • Facebook: I don't use Facebook Pages or Groups for work and I don’t use my personal account for business networking.

  • Twitter: This is where I run my mouth, politics and all. For all the hate Twitter gets from the wedding industry, it still brings me the highest paying business deals of any social network. Because of this, it is where I focus the majority of my allotted social media time. My target clients are executives and other leaders, and Twitter is the platform they prefer because its purpose is mindshare rather than self-promotion.

  • TikTok: The Gen Z fave and what they’ve been replacing Instagram with. If you want to understand how Gen Z views creativity and how they incorporate it into their daily life, you need to have a TikTok account. For now, I use it to lurk and research. I will say that of the wedding pros who use it, some get it right, but most do not. Definitely take some time to learn the TikTok culture or you WILL brand your business as lame.

I also refuse to use my family in my marketing on any platform. I don't post photos of family members who are not on social media and I never post photos of anyone's children without the parents' permission (including my niece and nephews). It is important to me that I respect the boundaries related to social media that others have set for themselves. Whatever guidelines you write for yourself and your team, make sure they're respectful of other people as well.

Originally published March 2017