Strive for perfection? Hogwash. Especially when it comes to social media.
I feel like there are a bunch of folks out there that are trying desperately to create a brand for themselves that says “I am successful!” “I have an amazing life!” They carefully curate their social media content to that they show us only the best, the most fabulous parts of their lives, but the sad realities are never revealed.
I understand why. For someone like me, who is self-employed, too much information could easily kill a potential relationship with a client. If I come across on my social media as, say, unstable, it’s possible someone won’t want to work with me, because they will be afraid that, if they hire me, I might not be able to come through on my commitments to them. So I want to come across as responsible, competent, and, of course, successful.
As human beings, our bullshit detectors are finely tuned. Portray yourself as nothing but perfect, and you’ll find people will start to become skeptical.
Case in point: Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s been in the news a lot this past couple of weeks, because Mario Butali challenged her to take the Welfare Challenge (note: speaking of imperfection, she did write this after the fact). Now, if you’ve ever been on GOOP, you’ll know what I mean by perfection. Everything on that site is perfect, polished, expensive, and styled to within an inch of its life. In other words, I have nothing in common with the person in charge of that site. There is almost nothing on that site that falls within my price range, and even if I could afford it, I don’t really live the lifestyle that would support me wearing a pair of white, pleat-front shorts. Please understand; I’m not mocking Gwyneth. I’m just saying we don’t live in the same worlds. At all. And that feeling creates distance, maybe even animosity.
A different celebrity with whom I do not share a world is Tyra Banks. But I have very different feelings towards TyTy. Despite the fact that she is a model and actress (Harvard Graduate and entrepreneur), and lives in LA, and again, we have very little, if anything in common, I have a kind of fondness for Ms. Banks. Why? Her Instagram feed in particular, an her social media in general, gives the impression of a gal with some quirks. You’ll see her being silly, posting no-makeup selfies, generally being self-depreciating and poking fun at herself. Not all the time. But sometimes. Enough to make us all feel that a real person lives there behind the camera. Does she probably swan around in expensive clothes I could never afford doing things like hosting the Daytime Emmys? Sure. But she seems so much more accessible to me.
Here’s the thing: to err is human. When we allow people in, allow them to see our imperfection in social media (and in life, generally), it creates a bond. Ugh. Yes. I have also on my camera or phone photos of myself that are not “perfect.” Just like Tyty. But we can laugh at it together, because… that’s life. That’s reality.
Showing vulnerability creates trust. It creates a connection with another human being. And we want to do business with people we know, like and trust. Simple.
One last example. Love him or hate him (and I feel like most people fall into one of those polarized camps), Gary Vaynerchuck is a master at this stuff. He’s a smart, smart dude. He’s running a giant empire, travelling all over the world, making deals, doing speaking engagements, writing books. But you have to see his snapchat (username: GaryVayner). He creates daily short video updates that are not edited in any way, and are simply little slices of his life. He’ll talk about his day, how much he sucks at basketball, meetings, just basically whatever’s going on. It gives the impression that he’s just a regular guy, someone you could easily go for a beer (probably a glass of wine, actually) with.
Feels like this “Imperfection in Social Media ” movement is where it’s at right now, and I, for one, am all for it. It creates a connection, and that’s a good thing.
The challenge, of course, is knowing where to stop. How much is too much? I can’t answer that. It’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself, based on your own levels of comfort, and your business and personal brand. But I want to encourage you to show your imperfections a
littel little more today.