One of the most remarkable aspects of marketing in this era is that every human being is a publisher. We can write reviews that impact businesses. We can share our expertise to create a position of thought leadership. We can amplify the messages that others create/share by volleying their content to our audiences. Each of us has a voice, and it is powerful.

As I scan through my social streams, I watch people exercising that power and it seems that for many of them, they’ve missed a key consideration that comes along with that voice.

You are always on stage. No matter where you are, what you say or who you are with – it is being documented, and it paints a picture of you for all to see. Like it or not, people draw conclusions based on those glimpses into your thoughts, actions, and attitudes.

No matter what your privacy settings are – what you share is not private. Google never forgets anything and in this day of instant sharing, screenshots and phones that serve as video cameras — someone can always capture your most private moments and make them public.

We live in complicated times. Between the most polarizing presidential election I can remember, the Parkland shooting, the Black Lives Matter crisis, police being gunned down in the street, terrorist attacks happening with increased frequency and all of the other social issues – there’s a lot going on. Every one of these moments in history has the capability of inspiring deeply held emotions, opinions, and beliefs.

It’s human nature to have a very visceral reaction to these events. Heck, it’s human nature to have a strong reaction to the more personal events we individually face like canceled flights, a business deal gone bad or the loss of a loved one.

Today – some have a tendency to voice those reactions through all channels, regardless of who can access those channels. And if my social feeds are any indication, people often post those responses to these highly emotional events without thinking about how their reactions might be interpreted by the wide variety of people who see them.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t share your political beliefs, your feelings about the tragedies our country is dealing with or anything going on in your personal life. But I am suggesting that you remember you’re not just talking to a few people anymore. Everything you say, like, share or comment on becomes a reflection of who you are, both personally and professionally. We all need to have a very clear understanding of the implications of that sharing.

Depending on how/what you share – you may very well attract people to you/your business based on your common attitudes and beliefs. You may also, especially if your opinions are expressed in a very strong/pointed manner, repel people from you/your business. And it’s not just potential customers. It’s future employers (who doesn’t Google job candidates today?) and even potential employees.

If you own your own business, there’s freedom to do as you please. After all, no one is going to fire you. But there are many examples of employees being fired for what they’ve posted online.

None of us, from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to the owner or employee of a locally owned retail business, can expect our digital activities to go unnoticed or to have no consequence. Every action adds to your brand – intentional or not. Keep that in mind as you’re about to fire off your next Facebook post, tweet or share that photo on Instagram.

You are what you share. And who you are has always had a huge influence on whether or not someone chooses to do business with you. Today, more than ever.

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Drew McLellan
Drew McLellan has owned an advertising agency for almost 20 years, serving local, regional and national businesses. He also coaches hundreds of agencies on business best practices through peer to peer networks, workshops and consulting.  Drew is often interviewed/quoted in Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, CNN, BusinessWeek, and many others. The Wall Street Journal calls him “one of 10 bloggers every entrepreneur should read.” He blogs at both www.DrewsMarketingMinute.com and www.BuildABetterAgency.com.

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