how to Color Outside the Lines

How do I show my personality online?

I get this question all the time. I know that’s a tough one for small business owners trying to find their way in social media.

When I meet a new coaching client, I can see their personality shining through our conversation. The problem is, they can’t figure out how to translate who they are into their social media messages.

They think they need to be one person on Twitter and then another person with their Facebook posts. Their messages don’t match up and all that work just turns into their fans getting confused about who they are and what their company does.

How do you learn to color outside the lines?

The great Dr. Suess once said, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” And those words have never been truer when it comes to social media.

Coloring outside the establishment’s lines means you can go beyond the obvious statements, comments and posts in your posts. Trust me when I say that there isn’t a social media protocol.

There are no rules that say you’ll find social media success when you follow the big brands’ marketing plans. You’re not Starbucks or Target so don’t stress over trying to follow their lead.

Social media allows us create our own rules. Find your own lines that work for you.

When you get the courage to color around the lines of your own coloring book, you’ll find how incredibly freeing it feels. Your creative thinking increases, work becomes more than just a to-do list and your marketing messages stay true to your vision.

So how does this work? How do you learn how to be the real Youer than You?

How could you live and not have a story to tell?

Everyone has a story to share. Even if you don’t want to get personal and tell us where you were raised or your favorite football team, you have something to share about your business.

How did you get started? What inspired you to go out on your own and not work for a big corporation with a secure paycheck every two weeks?

You’re living your story everyday so share it with us. I’m not talking about the people out there who tweet what they ate for breakfast or if you’ve been waiting for the UPS delivery for two hours.

Tell us about the cool stuff that makes you unique and get creative with how you express it. You’ll never influence your customers or gain potential fans by trying to be like your competition.

Only you are truly living your own story.

Stop comparing yourself to others

I fall down this rabbit hole more often than I’d like to admit. I think my Facebook fans aren’t as high as that company’s or the number of comments on my blog post wasn’t as many as that site’s.

Then I remind myself that everyone is on their own path and their own journey.

When you start to feel this way, sit down and write out your company’s intention, mission or just something as simple as a goal statement. Type it up and post it somewhere you can see it every day.

Remind yourself why you’re in business. If it’s to have the most fans or blog comments then you aren’t ever going to be happy.

There will always be someone else who will have more followers or more Facebook likes. That’s just the way the world works. Stop comparing yourself to others.

You are you and no one could be you, even if they tried to be.

Less Human and More Being

Don’t just talk about what you want to do to grow your business. Make a list of all the things you want to do and even include some items for your personal life.

Take action with at least one thing on your list every week and make it a priority to get it done. Break those big dreams into smaller bite-size items that you can cross off your list and move you closer to your goal.

Just keep moving forward. Step outside your comfort box, solve a problem for a customer or take action to make a change that everyone else is just complaining about.

And don’t let your worry about making mistakes stop you. We all make them but success isn’t connected to perfection. It’s connected to people who keep moving forward and don’t quit.

Remember, if you’re not willing to take a chance, nothing great can ever happen to you.

Be True to Who You Are

You are the expert at what you do. When you share your knowledge with others, go beyond the facts and numbers.

Drop the fluff and marketing buzz words and say what you mean (and mean what you say). Resist the urge to be fake to protect yourself or what you think will please your customers.

I’m not saying you have an open license to be mean, rude or hateful. But often people are worried about showing their true self online because they’re concerned about what other people will think. Or even worse, will they lose a customer?

I only know that when you’re honest and true to your real self, you’ll find your connections become even stronger which can only create a customer for life.

It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are. – EE Cummings


Photo credit: My son Jake

PS Have you signed up  for my Social Media with Strategy online course? It’s FREE and you’ll learn more tips about where and how to connect with your target audience.  What’s stopping you from learning more about how to find your inner social media-ness?