I talk to so many entrepreneurs who do incredible work but feel invisible online. I used to be one of them. I’d share my blog, I would stay active and consistent on social media…but no matter what I shared, it felt like no one paid attention.
No one seemed to be “listening.” Until one day after crying about it (a couple of years into my health coaching business,) I asked myFiancée for the truth:
“Should I just give up? No one is paying any attention. It’s like I don’t even matter.”
“No Kristen, you don’t need to give up, you just need to be more of yourself. The stuff you write is good, but…it’s boring.”
At first I was taken aback, I was boring?
But deep inside I knew she was right.
This was the beginning of my journey to put more “me” into my brand. And it’s made a HUGE difference: my people know they want to work with me before we get on the phone. It’s also made writing and sharing easier to just drop the barrier and be human.
It didn’t start off like that, however. At first it was painfully hard. I felt safer with a clear line between my personal and professional life. What if they judge me? What if I share the wrong thing and offend someone? What if I scare my clients away?
But when I got clear about my message, I could see that my whole life has been a storehouse of juicy content, waiting for me to write it. And the people who want to work with me actually want to get to know me a little first. In other words, I needed to put more “me” in my brand to have a more successful business.
Whether you’re rebranding and have spent this year launching to the sound of crickets, or just starting out and wondering how to get anyone to pay attention, I wish someone had told me how imperative it is to have “you” in your personal brand.
If you’ve been feeling invisible in your business these 5 signs will help you know for sure if this is the cause.
And the list of people doing this well will help you get an idea of what works and why.
5 signs there’s not enough YOU in your brand:
1) You feel invisible online.
No one “gets”, “feels”, or relates to your blog or social media posts. You share. And you share some more. But no one likes it. No one comments on it. And they definitely aren’t sharing it. What gives? I’m going to give you the honest truth here (it may hurt) but it will set you free from the jail of invisibility: no one cares about you and your business or expertise unless they “know” you.
If the only person liking and sharing your stuff is your mom, it’s because the only one who cares is your mom.
People care about people. Real, human, messy, interesting, people.
Here’s a clip from an old blog post of mine from my health coaching days.
Sucks, right? It’s dry. It’s facts only. It’s informational without being in your face.
People have Wikipedia for that.
Repeat after me: I don’t need to be Wikipedia. I will stop trying to be Wikipedia.
We get addicted to TV shows, certain blogs, radio shows…because they aren’t facts only. They are interesting stories about how life works, lessons learned, in particular from people whose life we could live if only we could figure out how. (Or people’s lives we’d never ever want to live; every messy, intimate detail is another reason why.)
(Here’s a more recent post of mine. The difference speaks for itself.)
2) You look at your brand and feel like it’s just like everyone else’s.
If other people tell you, “You know you remind me of XYZ” who happens to do exactly what you do, only they are more successful and better known…there is definitely not enough YOU in your brand.
Another clue here is this: if you look at someone else as your brand model, and you do the same things, but you’re stumped about how to not “sound like them,” your focus is in the wrong place.
Try instead to focus on your life and how your experiences relate to your message for your brand. Knowing your Life Purpose is a GREAT first step because it will help you clarify who you are, how you’re unique and what message you’re here to give.
When I got CRYSTAL about the fact that I don’t do business coaching, and that my Life Purpose is to help people see and celebrate the truth of who they are, what I could share became more obvious to me: I can share stories of how I became all of me and celebrated all of those odd and weird wonderful quirky parts. I could also share stories about people who are being all of them and how ironic, beautiful and perfect we each are as humans.
3) You’ve got a life full of stories but you can’t think of a thing to write.
You normally write how-to’s, instructions, or list posts for your blog. And you’re fresh out of ideas! This happens when you’re not clear about your message and how your life is constantly feeding you content to share.
Once you know your message, it’s easy to look around your life and see the ways your life is supporting you to share your story as a way to deliver your message.
My message: The path to a fulfilling life starts with a fulfilling purpose. It’s time to find yours. Here’s a post I recently shared that has bits of my life and some teaching points so you can get a feel for what I mean:
4) Your email inbox is always empty after you mail your list.
This soooo used to be me. And ouch, does it hurt. You saw that dry post about snacking I shared with you? Siiiiigh. No one responded to my newsletters in the past. But here’s a screenshot of what happens now when I share a post that includes a teaching point and a story from my life:
When you share from your heart, people respond from theirs.
Now I don’t mean that you get a response every time. But if you never get a response, there is not enough “you” hitting the inbox of people who might want to become your clients and customers. They can’t see or feel you enough to want to get to know you any better.
To be clear: this isn’t about becoming a performer with every post. This is about being the most self-expressed version of you online so your market “gets it” that you “get them,” you just happen to be on the other side of their dilemma.
5) Your social media accounts haven’t seen a selfie in weeks.
If Facebook can’t remember what your face looks like…there’s literally not enough you in your brand. I see you, all you lovely people with profile pics of sunsets and dogs. Stop hiding! If you want people to care about your message and what your work can do for them, you need to get them to care about YOU first. Why would they trust someone they can’t see??? When was the last time you trusted someone you couldn’t see? Unless you’re Yoko Ono, there’s just no excuse. (On her Instagram account all you ever see is the back of this chick’s head, occasionally you’ll see her face. But she’s Yoko, yo!)
People wanna do business with people. Your brand needs to give people the opportunity to “get to know you,” “make eye contact,” and virtually “shake your hand,” before people will jump on board.
Some things to keep in mind:
No one is asking you to tell everything all the time for entertainment value. But just enough to make the people who would buy from you understand that you’re the real deal and you’re a real human, just like them. If you’re a financial advisor for women, it’s important that the women who follow you see that your life includes their dreams and since you’ve “figured it out,” they can figure it out too. Also super important is letting them know that sometimes the problem never goes away, you just become more skillful at handling it. See Sarah Jenks below for an example of what I mean.
You don’t need to share everything. Just share what’s “on message.”
Find what you’re comfortable sharing and know WHY. For example, at this point in my brand, I’m intentional about not sharing my romantic life. I definitely AM dating, but I’m clear I’m not sharing because the things happening in this area of my life aren’t presently aligned with my messaging. My brand is about helping people be authentically who they are. And my message is this: the path to a fulfilling life starts with a fulfilling purpose. It’s time to find yours. What’s happening with my romantic life doesn’t have a clear tie in to that at present. So I don’t share it. You might catch a story from my past. Or even a story from my present – if it ties into my messaging.
People doing this really well on their blogs, social media accounts and websites include:
Sarah Jenks (Creator of LiveMoreWeighLess.com, women’s embodiment coach. Sarah has a mastery when it comes to being real about being on the journey with her ideal customers, just several steps ahead of them.)
Heather Chauvin (This parenting coach talks about the loss of her son’s father here. She’s incredibly transparent about facing real life challenges, as a real life human, who also happens to be a parent.)
Summer Bock (This peak performance strategist and fermentation expert does an incredible job sharing her wisdom while laughing at her mistakes. She makes it a point to share what she’s learning along the way. Rather than going for perfection, she’s clear it’s about optimal performance in her body and in her life.)
Sonaya Williams (This systems and operations genius for small businesses fell in love and her business fell apart. Here’s how she took a dose of her own medicine, and let her prospects know, she’s able to walk the talk.)
Click links for examples of real live humans, running real live businesses and brands, by being completely themselves.
If they can do it, you can do it too.