I often hear the same questions in regards to social media...
- What networks should I be on?
- What should I share?
- Am I doing a good job, Tony?!
There's not really a right, wrong or simple answer. However, I think I've found a content recipe that will serve everyone!
Authenticity + Strategy = Connection
The end goal is constant and universal. We're all looking for connection.
How you find connection is up to you! When you choose to share on social media, all content recipes (or your delicious creations and servings) should include authenticity and strategy.
Before we go further, let's start with some clarification.
Social media is a tool. Just like fire or water, you decide when you want or need it. We almost need it to survive—yet too much or too little can cause damage.
I'm well aware this is an extreme analogy... but hear me out and explore the need for connection. You can absolutely say "no" to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etcetera... but there are definitely opportunity losses as the entire world becomes even more digitally connected.
Social media requires authenticity. There's no getting around it... at least for very long. There's only so much retouching and posing/posturing that you can do.
As such, the first part of being active on social media is some radical self-acceptance. You've got to stop caring what other people think and comparing yourself to others. Your journey is your own.
Just be yourself! (Easier said than done on the global stage of the world wide web.)
The second part is strategy. While social media is (mostly) about you, you have to keep your audience in mind. Why do hundreds and thousands of people need to see whatever you're sharing right now?
We're all a little selfish... we need a reason to care. What's the strategy behind what you're posting? If you're using too much "authenticity" on social media... we might get overwhelmed or lose interest.
On the flipside, if you're too "strategic" on social media, your identity can easily get out of alignment. If you deprive your content of authenticity, social media can feel like a facade of someone strategically bigger and better than who you really are.
Strategy might feel like too strong of a word. If so, you can substitute bringing "awareness" or "consciousness" to everything you share.
At the end of the day, social media is all about connection. All we want is love... a sense of meaning and belonging to something bigger than ourselves.
Authenticity + Strategy = Connection could also be You + Them = Love.
Your need for connection (or love) will vary... based on what you're getting offline in the real world.
What I think you'll notice after reading this is various individuals' recipes favoring "authenticity" or "strategy." (Some batches use waaaaay more of one than the other...)
In order to seek connection, sometimes people post extreme things. For example, many people who are uncomfortable with their authentic self (usually from a sense of shame or not being enough) seek external validation. They may over post or over share... relentlessly seeking affirmations from likes, views or followers.
Don't get me wrong—I'm guilty of this on occasion... and I think we all are!
On the flip side, some people deal with the same struggles by rarely posting on social media or being a completely silent observer. This withdrawn stance is often stated with the guise of privacy.
I'm also guilty of this from time to time, too!
The focus and frequency of content doesn't make me, you or any of your friends wrong... it's just our way to connect at that specific time.
My point today is to bring both authenticity and strategy into everything you post online. You don't have to be active daily or even weekly on social media. Living life is more important!
However, I think social media should be a small part of your life. It's a powerful tool to stay connected to hundreds and thousands of real people... and feel their love.
Do you need more authenticity or strategy? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.