Some people see social media as a place where anything goes--and in a sense, that's true. Technically, you can post whatever you want, whenever you want. But the real question is: What are you looking to get out of it? Are you trying to build a personal brand? Do you want to sell a product or service? Or do you want to keep your family members updated on what's new in your life? Do you want 100 people to 'Like' your status about breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend? What's your "reason" for using social media?
Whether we like it or not--and this is a topic of great debate--no matter how much we "think" what we post on social media is just, you know, "us being us," it is all very, very intentional. Nobody posts unflattering photos of themselves on Facebook (maybe Snapchat though...). Nobody likes being tagged at events they "shouldn't have been at." We all, in some form or another, skew what is portrayed to create an image of who and how we wish to be perceived in the mind of each person watching.
That's the truth.
Aaron Webber, the former CEO of Unicity International Inc. and current CEO and Managing Partner of Webber Investments (and a mentor of mine) shares a similar perspective. He says, "What's missing is authenticity. It's almost like there is a rush to out-shine the other guy and then focus on things that, at the end of the day, don't really matter. For example, I really don't care what you had for breakfast and I certainly don't care to see a picture of it. Now that may be interesting to some, but there's no analysis or thinking through of who is going to see this and do they really want to see this?"
Aaron's point absolutely speaks more in the vein of using social media with a measurable purpose. Who is your audience? Even if you only use social media to connect with family members, you have to admit then that you choose to post certain types of content that you believe they would like to see: you at graduation, you with your kids, you and your siblings, etc. However, if you are looking to use social media to build a brand (especially when it comes to Personal Branding), it is even more crucial that you audit who you want to be paying attention to your content--and what you can post that will entice their interest.
The grey area lies on both sides: consumer use of social media, as well as an "influencer" using social as a way to build their brand. Both parties are guilty of trying to create a perception that is, in some way or another, not entirely accurate. Speaking more to Aaron's point here, a perfect example would be the "entrepreneurs" that post photos of themselves standing in front of Ferraris at a nearby dealership with the caption, "I hustled my way to the top."
Doing social media "well" is about two things: It's about providing value in a way that is meaningful to people, and it's about doing so with authenticity.
"Keep it real and post things of value," says Aaron. "Demonstrate what you really are and that you value the intersection that your friendship provides to the people who follow you or will likely see your post. Keep it authentic. Keep it genuine. Keep it real. Keep it value-adding rather than just distracting."