I am one week into my new marketing plan and I feel exposed at the same time as feeling I “should” be doing more. I’d like to throw out the word “should” right now because the introvert in me thinks I’m doing quite enough thank-you-very-much. I can feel the anxiety come up as I’m writing this article. This whole idea of putting myself “out there” seemed okay as an idea, but in practice it feels totally different, and kind of icky.
Take social media for example. It’s all about putting out content and shares about my personal story and innermost thoughts, or pictures of my cat, or things I’m about to eat; letting viewers in on a little bit about me. And if it’s me looking at their posts, sometimes, I honestly just don’t want to know. Yet, these are the kinds of posts that can generate a lot of engagement.
Marketing is one of those things in the past, that I would’ve been happy to advise other people on what to do (like ask a stranger for directions), and really not want to do it myself. What has got me posting lately is the fact that I’ve written a goal down as part of my marketing strategy. And in the case of a vulnerable personal share of an idea I had recently, something just came over me, and all of a sudden, the thing was up. It was uncharacteristically serious in nature, and some of the comments made me wonder if people thought there was something going on with me. But hey, I got comments! People engaged with my post, and no matter what they thought of what I posted, they were engaged. Let’s call that a win.
After that long, vulnerable, personal share, I didn’t feel like posting again the next day. I’m a bit of a rebel that way. If I don’t want to post, I don’t! Wanna see more of me? Too bad! Not today! Now that I think of it, I’m not really rebelling. I’m introverting. It’s a real thing and I do it all the time. Blocking out the outside world, real or otherwise (ahem…social media) is great for my writing process. For example, I signed out of all social media accounts I have as well as my email and started writing this article. It works to create boundaries.
I think that creating boundaries about how much I’m willing to share on social media and when, and taking days off from it when the feeling strikes me (i.e. I need to) actually helps with consistency. As an introvert with a strong will to protect myself, if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t post at all. Then, the only reason I’d have for staying involved with social media at all would be a fear of missing out. I might feel bad about that when the “shoulds” come up again – like if you’re not sharing, you’re creeping, so you should be sharing too. From a marketing perspective, this kind of approach could cause one to go “off-brand” or “off-message” (like this article), or find a way to finally buy that private island and live completely off the land. That last part is sounding pretty good to me right now. It’s too bad I don’t have any survival skills (yet) for living off the land. I bet there are social media groups in which I could learn about these things.
Even though one is technically hiding behind a computer when using social media and not interacting with large groups of people in-person, it is still inherently an extroverted type of activity in my opinion. Granted, it’s largely filtered material – people post what they want other people to see (and sometimes more) – but it’s still public. I think a lot of people don’t realize that even with privacy settings set tightly, that a so-called “private” post to one’s own “friends” or contacts can be copied and pasted with reckless abandon by said “friends and contacts”.
“But”, you say “Kathryn, don’t you trust your friends?” Not necessarily; not on social media. Those listed as “friends” on there might not be able to keep a secret. Plus, the point is to share, isn’t it? Share, share, and share some more! When I get thinking too much, I think about how I don’t know what people already know about me. I’m afraid that they know something about me that I don’t know they know, or that I don’t even know about myself. And now I’ve gone too deep.
My point is that as a self-protective introvert I believe I am right to be scared about sharing on social media. What you post will be there forever you know! If you’re reluctant to post on social media, even if people say “it’s good for you” or “it’s good for your business”, that’s okay. It sounds to me a lot like my mom’s argument about why I should eat cauliflower.
When I was a kid, my mom would make cheese sauce to cover the cauliflower. I mean, there had to be a lot of cheese sauce on this stuff for me to eat it. It would have to be to the point that I didn’t know where the cheese sauce ended and the cauliflower began. The cauliflower and the cheese sauce became one. It was a delicate balance, because if I got it wrong, the cauliflower would ruin the cheese sauce. So, when it comes to any form of social media, I’m looking for the proverbial cheese sauce to make it palatable to me. Sometimes, it is sharing pictures of food if I’m particularly proud of it. Other times, I’m posting things someone might also shout from a street corner. And every now and again, I get a bit vulnerable. And then, I take a break.
One of the ingredients in my social media cheese sauce is to not post every day. It’s hard to think of something to my standards every single day, plus it’s too revealing, and I’d be in danger of over-extroverting. In which case, I’d stop posting or interacting even a little bit, and then that oh-so-precious social media momentum is lost. So, a few times a week to the level of my own comfort is what people are going to get from me, consistently.
Another ingredient in the cheese sauce of the social media cauliflower (I don’t know why I keep typing that word – it’s hard to type as well as being gross) is to post what I want to post, meaning, it might not be part of a perfect marketing plan or recommended by experts, or even perfectly executed. What this means is that I’m posting jokes I come up with, observations that some might think are weird, but I think are totally apt; and I’m posting “personal” things on a “professional” site. It’s hard to know what to post on those “professional” types of social media sites simply because to me it feels very corporate, and corporate could be restrictive. I may be an introvert, but I am also a humourist, so I’m not going to be corporately serious. I may even make up new phrases. I can do insightful, though, and I get to choose what and how much I get to share.
After all of this meandering, another point emerges: I get to choose how I do this thing that feels like something I have to do. And I don’t even really have to participate. I could choose to do something else. But, now that I’m in it, I can’t seem to give it up. You know, just in case. I mean, it could work, right?