How personal should business be?
When you are creating content for your business, is it OK to share personal things – about yourself or your customers? I get asked this question a lot. We’re about to get real here, people. If you don’t agree with me, I’m not gonna argue with you, after all I may not know you! The two schools of thought are 1) keep your personal life away from your business, and 2) you can’t separate the two.
My professional, and personal (since we’re getting personal), opinion is that you actually NEED to get personal in your marketing. How much you share is up to you, and depends on the makeup of your team, what kind of business you have, and who your customers are. Messaging without a hint of personal information can feel kind of cold, don’t you think? If you don’t share your values, how will people be attracted to you and your business, and how will they know if they are a fit to work with you or buy from you?
Yes, yes, I’ve heard the arguments before. “If someone is going to do my taxes, I don’t care if they have kids (or dogs) or are a triathlete in their spare time. It just isn’t relevant.” Well, here’s where I challenge this thinking. How does having kids or running marathons affect the services you receive? A person’s values, hobbies, and interests say A LOT about them. Have you heard the saying “How you do anything is how you do everything”? There is a lot of truth to this. Personal values carry over into one’s work. Running the Girl Scout cookie drive or the weekend animal shelter might translate into caring about client relationships, being super organized, or being detail oriented. Showing photos on social media of you and your team volunteering demonstrates you value giving back, and it also says a lot about your values to see which organizations you choose to support.
Of course, there are industries where personal characteristics and personality play a larger part than others. Some of these include coaching, training, healthcare, childcare, and many other service providers. Does it really matter if the guy fixing the hail damage on your car shares your values? Maybe not. Buy maybe so. If he shares your values of communication, honesty, and integrity, that might be extremely important to you, both from a standpoint of having a successful business transaction and also in knowing you chose a business with whom your values align.
Think about the personal things you share in your business communications. What do you want people to know? If you have a soft spot for new entrepreneurs for example, like I do, say so. If people think you are a little too “warm and fuzzy” for their liking, it may be best to know that up front. If you appear to be a little too “corporate, stuffed shirt” for their taste, it’s great to learn that before they hire you and then can’t understand why you don’t want to listen to their stories about what happened to their family just because they wonder if it might be tax deductible.
We all have many facets of our personalities, and they shine through when interacting with others. Use this to your advantage in sharing your marketing stories. Be honest and authentic about who you are as a person, and trust that it helps you attract the right kind of customers to your business. Working with people who share the same values and interests is more fun, more productive, and more profitable!
At the end of the day, business is only about people. Happy customers are likely to be repeat customers. Happy customers who feel invested in you and your team are not only returning customers, but loyal fans. Let people see the true you and trust you will connect with the right people for your mutual success!
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