We live in a world of digital connection. In 2017, 81% of the entire U.S. population had a social media profile [Statista.com]. On average, 1.37 billion people log onto Facebook daily and are considered daily active users (Source: Facebook as of 11/1/17). Photo uploads total 300 million per day. (Source: Gizmodo) Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded. (Source: The Social Skinny) [zephoria.com] Since the release of Instagram stories, it now has 250 million active users per day. [smartinsights.com]

Lives are constantly on display and based on these staggering statistics, it is clear that we humans really are interested in what’s going on in the lives of others. We watch all of these wonderful, exciting, and interesting things through a very filtered lens. And, the pressure to appear just as fun and incredible in the eyes of others is painfully real.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, this can be especially difficult to navigate. What parts of yourself and your life are appropriate and even ‘safe’ to share?

I once attended a conference where the speaker advised that we should project into the world only the image of ourselves that we want others to see. He suggested that we control the public’s view of us – so that they see us in the way we want them to. I don’t believe he necessarily meant hiding who we truly are, rather just editing what we share. The important thing to keep in mind here is the more vulnerable you are willing to be in the eyes of your followers, the more deeply connected to you they will feel. You appear more ‘real’ to them and they can begin to identify with your situations and feelings. And it is the emotional connection that leads to loyalty and action. No one ever accomplished greatness through hiding. Oprah put it beautifully in her recent acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

It can be extremely devastating to your audience when you project a certain persona in your messaging, visuals and posts, yet once they are working with you, that vision they had doesn’t exactly match what they are now seeing. Conversely, your amazing message and gift could remain hidden if you don’t have the visual brand and personal connection to support and share it.

Often we start our business as a solo practitioner, coach or consultant. And at that time it’s all about us serving others, doing what we love to do. It’s natural for you to be the ‘face’ of your brand. There comes a point during growth, however, where you no longer are personally delivering the service to your clients. Even if you have stepped out of the day-to-day operations of your business, your presence and essence within the brand is still very prevalent and should remain that way. I’m not suggesting that your business is your personal brand. I just am highlighting the importance of your personal brand within the business brand.

Studies found that 82% of people are more likely to trust a company when their senior executives are active on social media and 77% of consumers are more likely to buy when the CEO of the business uses social media. (Scribd)

At Brand Therapy, we truly believe that YOU are what helps set your business apart from every other. And people want to buy from people. Now more than ever we are craving personal connection in business transactions. Nielson studies found that only 33% of buyers trust messages from a company while almost 90% of customers trust recommendations from someone they know. And, 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over companies. (Neilson)

This can be a difficult realization – especially for us introverts! But having a solid brand that is visually stunning and speaks to who you are and who you serve, what you do and why you do it is one of the best confidence boosters and worry easers available. (Classic ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ 😉 ) And letting your essence shine through in your brand is also one of the fastest ways to connect with and grow your audience… and thus, make the difference you desire.

Rachel xo