The Business Of Relatability (Autumn Wilson)

Autumn Wilson

Let’s just call it like it is, shall we?

The world is in a little bit of a messed up state, to put it lightly.

Wars, discrimination, school shootings, losses of world leaders, violation of rights, the list goes on and on.

We don’t need a compilation of all the mess we’ve been through the past few years—but it’s safe to say that there is a collective feeling of heartbreak.

So the question is: why do we not always see this reflected in the content we see online? And I’m not talking about a simple feed post that says, “Our hearts are with you,” or something to that effect.

While we are starting to see a positive shift towards more creators and influencers sharing some personal parts of their lives, there is still way too much content out there that pretends like everything is fine.

Here’s a question for you: if you’re generally in a low mood and feeling crummy about things, are you more likely to take action on a brand that is posting content as if nothing is wrong, or the brand that is honest about the true state of things, calls it out, and offers community, support, or encouragement through it?

This is where bringing personality into a brand is so important.

Where business meets personal

We are all human beings; we all have feelings, we all have unique personalities and quirks. So why not display that in our content?

Here’s the thing: people connect with people, not businesses.

It’s our personality that makes us stand out from everyone else. It’s the authentic details of who we are that create stronger connections with our audience. When people feel like they truly know us, they are more likely to support us.

Have you ever had the experience where you follow someone online who you’d be willing to buy anything from, just because you like their vibe?

The absolute best phrase a brand can hear from someone is, “I don’t care what you’re selling, I just love your vibe. I need to work with you—tell me where to send my money.”

These moments do happen! And they happen because of the personality that’s present in every piece of content.

The evidence is everywhere. Content that is more personal in nature tends to receive better response and engagement than the content that doesn’t.

Where to draw the line

The fine line that needs to be drawn when approaching content this way is how much personal information to share.

The answer to that question is different for everyone.

It’s something that takes time to think about, to journal about, and to test your own boundaries.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine where that line is for you:

  • What are the things that make me uniquely me?
  • What experiences in my personal life make me happy, proud, joyful, or excited?
  • Is the person I present online the same person my friends know me as?
  • What are some experiences I’ve gone through that, if I were to share publicly, could help other people in their journey?
  • What are things in my life that, if I were to share publicly, could result in pain or negativity towards me or someone else? (Don’t share these things!)
  • What are the things in my life that are too painful to share? (Don’t share these things!)

At the end of the day, it’s important that you feel aligned with the content you’re putting online and that your own mental health is protected.

The ripple effect

We’ve seen it time and time again: as soon as one person starts something, more people start to follow. It happens with TikTok trends all the time.

The same can be true with the way we present ourselves online.

When we share our authentic selves online, we show people that it’s okay to be vulnerable. In turn, it validates their own feelings and gives them the permission they’ve been waiting for to step into their own truth.

Rachel Pedersen talks about this with regard to her “mom stomach” after she had kids. She felt shame and embarrassment because she never saw that body represented anywhere in the media. She didn’t see women sharing that experience or even making reference to it. It wasn’t until a conversation with some of her mom friends that she realized she wasn’t alone. Once she found out that what she was experiencing was completely normal, her shame lifted. Now, she talks about it all the time—and her book cover actually has a picture of it! If that’s not courage, I don’t know what is.

The same can be said for almost anything.

Take infertility, for example. I’ve been living with infertility for years, but it is something you hardly ever hear about in media. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 5 women in the United States experience primary infertility (no prior births). According to the World Health Organization, 186 million individuals live with infertility around the world.

The hardest part about experiencing something that devastating is the feeling of complete loneliness. I didn’t see or hear people talking about it, so it truly felt like no one else on the planet was going through it, which exacerbated the feeling that there was something wrong with me. How incredibly backwards! There are 186 million people across the globe that are going through the exact same thing, so why are there not more people talking about it?

I can’t even begin to explain the comfort I would have felt had I seen more representations of that experience online.

While each one of us is unique, our experiences can be very similar. Chances are if you’re feeling a certain way about an experience, someone else is feeling the same way too.

And it doesn’t all have to be bad—it’s important to share the good moments, too! Whatever it is you’re going through—positive or negative—don’t be afraid to share that with your audience. Not only does it make you more relatable, but users are actually craving more of that content now. Just look at the growing popularity of BeReal!

The business of it all

So, let’s be honest here. We are, after all, trying to build a business that thrives, right? So how does sharing the personal details of our lives get us closer to achieving that goal?

Simple. It’s all about trust and connection.

When we share more of our personality, it makes it easier for people to connect with us. We are building relationships with our audience similar to how we would build friendships.

By doing so, we establish a human connection that increases that trust factor we’re all after.

And we all know that the more people trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you.

So, ask yourself this: if you don’t trust someone, would you buy from them? Unless you desperately needed what they were selling and couldn’t possibly find it anywhere else, then you probably wouldn’t.

The truth of the matter is, everything we post online impacts at least one person, and likely way more than that, so it’s our responsibility to make sure our content has a positive effect on them—whether that means validating their experiences, or celebrating the joyful moments.

This is how we build true connection with our online audiences.

Autumn Wilson @awilson
I am a new social media manager focusing on building my agency and helping businesses grow online!

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