Social Media: Express More Vulnerability

As entrepreneurs, we are taught to create personal brands that, proudly and prominently, place our strengths in the spotlight.

And we are also taught to carefully and cleverly mask our weaknesses.

This flies in the face of traditional business school wisdom.  Having said that, are you suddenly getting that inflexible, conservative “stuffed shirt” feeling?

Heaven forbid our target audience should find out we goof up sometimes and don’t know everything about everything.

Mistakes.

Errors.

Typos.

Faux Pas (a social blunder or indiscretion)

Boo-Boos.

Raise your hand if you’ve never made any of these.

Imagine that.  I don’t see one hand going up.

Here’s a BIG newsflash!

Trust requires vulnerability. If you value trust in your social media network and you want your target market to trust YOU …

You’ve got to remove your mask and start talking about the really tough issues you’re wrestling with and let your human, far-from-perfect self show through.

My personal favorite social media marketing tip:

Express more vulnerability.

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  • You got that right, Roy!

    Laughing at oneself is the best and healthiest kind of laughter! And, beside that, I believe humor is “healing”.

  • and, laugh while doing so!

  • You said a mouthful, Hajra! My inner weaknesses and vulnerabilities are definitely part of MY package! And all I can hope is that people will take me as I am. 🙂

  • Sofia – once we stop learning, we stop living. And we all have lots to learn through our mistakes. Most anyone you ask will say they became stronger, better, or wiser because of a time in their lives where they went wrong in some way. But learning how to “course correct” is what really matters.

  • We always strive so hard as to be viewed as someone perfect that sometime we forget that our inner weaknesses and vulnerabilities are a part of the package!

    A very nice thought!

  • Your head is screwed on straight, Lynn. We can look at any situation through whatever type of window we want to, right? Mistakes or errors in judgment can be viewed as “set backs” or learning experiences.

    Well stated!

  • You nailed it, Yvonne!

    “How we handle it” is what truly matters. To admit a mistake or fault is admirable in my book and is in no way an indication of weakness. On the contrary, the strongest leaders and truest professionals, in my estimation, have no qualms about being “human”. 🙂

  • I love that word, Peggy — “polished”! I believe we’re all working diligently to become as polished as possible. But polished certainly doesn’t mean “perfect” … and it never should. 🙂

    Thank you for your insights.

  • I am just a beginner and am so amazed and excited at the same time as to how much I still have to learn…

  • You’re very, very perceptive, Deb — one of the many things I adore about you.

    And I know precisely what you mean about that ONE individual who comes down the pike, from time to time, who leaves a bitter taste in your mouth and leaves you feeling like you’ve just been scolded by your mom.

    I’m so pleased, however, that you really picked up on the greater message in this post. I’ll sum it up by simply saying …

    I love you (and respect you) just the way you are. And anyone else worth a hill of beans will feel that same way.

  • Thanks Melanie for putting it out there! And I had my hand raised 😀 If I never made a mistake, I don’t think I would be where I am today and I love where my path has taken me. Sometimes mistakes, errors and the such seem like such a set back – but then, I will always look forward and chalk it up to a great learning experience! Appreciate your fun way to approach this topic Melanie!

  • Very real and to the point, Melanie. If you’re too ‘perfect’ then people will not feel they can relate to you, or that you can relate to them…and human nature being what it is…they can’t wait for you to mess up to see if you’re real.

    We have to be prepared to show some of our vulnerability and that we make flubs and boo boos just like everyone else, but how we handle them makes the difference. Our clients, peers and prospects will feel closer to us and develop trust in us and that what we yearn for. Excellent post, Melanie. Thank you.

  • Hi Melanie,

    You made an excellent point here! I think about the marketers I trust and try to figure out why. True, it’s partly because they give valuable advice or have really great products, but it’s also because they do have faults, are not polished, and will admit it when they screw up.

    I think it’s so much easier to be myself instead of trying to be perfect. That’s not to say I don’t try to do my absolute best when putting out a product!

    Thanks,
    Peggy

  • Melanie, You have such a wonderful way about you that helps us feel better about ourselves, and selfishly I admit, I keep coming to your blog looking for your most recent loving guidance from you.

    Be vulnerable. Um… ouch! But you’re so right. As a web developer (and my name at the bottom of a lot of websites and blogs – for support) I get emails from people from time to time that admonish me for a typo or (the forbidden) broken link (argh! I check all those things!). I welcome emails that bring my attention to such things and always thank the sender. However, once in a great while I get one of those that leave a bit of a lasting impression – not in a good way. I try to shake it off, and I still thank the sender, but if only people like that thought about the mistakes they’ve made! Maybe they’d be nicer about it!

    I appreciate and adore that you are openly giving us… not permission… but reinforcement that we can (and should) show our vulnerabilities… and NOT be humiliated by them. LOL!

    Big hugs, GF!

  • Might just take you up on that.
    Thanks for the warning.

  • Keith – you’re back! That’s marvelous.

    I would love to have you give a pigeonhole post a try on your blog. Hurry up — I’m anxious to see a short, sharp post from you!

    But fair warning …

    You might just fall in love with this writing style. 🙂

  • Hi Melanie
    Must try your style on one of my posts.
    Super easy to read and comment on.

    “Express more vulnerability.”
    Or show them you’re human, share your humanity.

    Great advice.

    BTW – Appreciate your visits and comments over on my site.

  • Thanks, Martha and Leanne — it’s really okay to let your target audience know you get the flu and flat tires sometimes like everyone else. And to admit you don’t always have all the answers, to me, really “Ups” your credibility.

  • Wonderful post and so true. I agree with Martha that failures are stepping stones to success and I also like to know where I’m messing up so I can improve . . . but I don’t publicize my failures much! I think it’s about finding a balance or a “meshing” of real and professional . . . information and story . . . personal and business. We get better at it over time too. I know this is an area I want and need to improve in.

  • I like failing. . . . it means I’m closer to success! And, if I’m making a mistake, I like to be told. It eliminates continuing to go down the wrong road. Great post, Melanie!

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