C-Suite Network™

Marketing Personal Development

Show Your Human Side in the Content You Share Online

When you show the human side of yourself…

…people feel like there’s an entry point into your world.

One of the most asked questions that I field from clients revolves around what they should post about after they get their hands on a pile of branded lifestyle portraits.

As I explain to those who enroll in my Idea Nugget Incubator Program, although it’s essential to illustrate your expertise, and more specifically, show how that expertise helps solve your client’s specific pain points, you also have one other major objective to consider:

You are in the business of building relationships that eventually mature from a follower who appreciates your work to them hiring you for your specialized help.

Talk Like a Human Being

One of the best ways to do that with an audience that’s never met you in person is to create content that breaks the fourth wall and lets them understand who you are as a human being.

What drives you to be the person you are? What do you stand for? What’s important to you outside of your business? Interesting hobbies? Family – is it important to you?

What about your past? How did it lead you to the path you walk on in your life and business today? Had any major setbacks? Struggles with identity? Discovering your passion to serve?

How about the future? What are your goals? Aspirations? How are you working on achieving those goals now?

These are just some of the questions that you can explore through your social media posts and blog articles.

When you create content that goes deep beneath the surface, especially with stories that share vulnerabilities, you’re painting a much more vivid, broader picture of who you are, who you serve and why you do what you do.

As a result, you’re purposefully curating your online presence in a way that shares both your superhero ability to offer the solutions to your client’s pain points while also being empathetic and relatable to those you serve by showing them that you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

If you only shared expertise-driven posts, you’re missing a golden opportunity to allow your audience to connect more deeply with you beyond the work, and allow them to feel like they are part of your world – and give them the chance to share everything you do with their community.

And when you’re looking to grow a community of advocates, referral partners, and clients, offering your audience an opportunity to build rapport with you through your human being-driven stories is one sure fire way to fan that flame.

What About the Images to Compliment these Stories?

Identifying, writing and scheduling the stories that share your human being side is step one – a very important step one!

But, the work is not done yet.

To ensure that your story has a legitimate opportunity to be seen by your audience on their news feeds, it’s essential that you compliment the story with image content that visually punctuates the sentiment of that story.

Here are a couple of options to keep in mind as you develop more content around this idea of showing your human being side and providing your audience an entry point into your life.

Old Photos From Your Past

Do you have images from the time period that you’re referencing in these stories? If so, these would be ideal to either scan or take a photo of with your smartphone camera and attach it to the posts.

I have written several articles that relate to my struggle with weight and self-esteem, and, for each of those articles, I’ve included photos of me when I was at the height of my weight post-college.

Although I’d prefer to never look at them again, I understand that the image and the story will speak directly to a lot of my clients who can relate directly to this issue.

In addition, using old photos taken “back in the day,” especially on outdated technology, are eye-catching because they look and feel different than photos taken today.

Remember all those old square photos taken with the sepia tint? They stand out, big time, amongst all the other stuff on a news feed simply because they look different. And no, the Instagram filters CANNOT replicate this look precisely in the same way, 🙂

If you discover old photos that visually punctuate the sentiments of the stories you’re sharing, digitize them and use them to your advantage!

Selfies/Smartphone Photos

Since you don’t have a paparazzi following you around 24/7, you need to take matters into your own camera from time-to-time.

If you’re engaging in a fun hobby or doing something with the family and want to share the moment with those you serve, then grab the phone and snap the shot. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to visually punctuate that story with an image that precisely paints the picture.

You don’t need to have a background in photography to do this, folks.

And don’t worry if the picture is good or bad – just take a couple shots of the moment from different vantage points – wide shot to close up, move from the left side to the right – and when you’re done, take a look at the options and pick the one that looks best to you.

When it’s a selfie or a smartphone shot, no one anticipates that image to aesthetically blow them away – it’s about sharing that moment or insight with those you serve – that’s what counts most in this case.

Branded Lifestyle Portraits

So, what happens when you don’t have an old photo that works or you forgot to take a photo with your smartphone camera?

Well, you could leverage one of your professionally-captured, branded lifestyle portraits to visually punctuate that story, as an alternative.

The key is looking through your image content portfolio and identifying a portrait that compliments and enhances the emotional resonance of the story that you’re sharing.

For example, if you share a story about the death of a parent and how that motivated you to pivot your life in a completely different direction, don’t use an image where you’re wildly laughing.

The emotion of the story and the sentiment of the image are incongruent, and it sends a confusing message to those who read the post.

That seems like common sense, but, you’d be surprised at how many times I’ve come across this incongruence between message and image online.

If your image content portfolio has a variety of images that span the emotional spectrum, you will be in good shape to select an image that makes the most sense for the emotion you’re looking to convey in that piece of content.

So, Should I be an Open Book?

The short answer? Absolutely not.

You are the gatekeeper of everything you share online, so, you decide what’s fair game and what stays close to the vest.

Although I am comfortable sharing many aspects of my life with my audience, I certainly don’t spill the beans on everything. I have a simple rule for myself that I adhere to every time I sit down to write stories that shine a light on an aspect of my personal life:

If I feel this remotely feels like an overshare or is embarrassing to my friends and/or family, I avoid it. If it’s something that I’m comfortable talking about publically and is relatable to my audience, I double-down on it and bring it up when relevant to the lessons I’m imparting on those I serve.

As long as you set healthy boundaries, you’ll provide yourself with a framework when figuring out how far you want to go with sharing your life with your audience.

When you set the intention to connect on a deeper level with those you serve, it helps them see you in a different light.

While they already know that you can help them get past what’s holding them back from the rest of your content, stories that share your human being side allows them to see that you’re real, that you’ve been where they are, and that you care.

If you want to build trust with your audience, lead with heart – they’ll thank you for it by signing up for your services down the line, 🙂

John DeMato is an NYC branded lifestyle portrait photographer and content creation expert who serves speakers, authors, coaches and high-level entrepreneurs across the country. His 50+ page e-book, S.H.A.R.E. M.A.G.I.C.A.L. I.D.E.A.S., lays out the how what and why behind creating a memorable and referable online presence – sign up to get your FREE copy today.

Accounting Best Practices Economics Entrepreneurship Industries Investing Negotiations Sales Technology

Bitcoin’s Highs and Lows: Where to Next?

Since the critical acclaim of Bitcoin and digital currencies in 2017, there has been a lot of talk about its future. Bitcoin was the first digital currency to attract mainstream attention, and after that, 2018 was less than glamorous, with the price plummeting.

Are cryptocurrencies a thing of the past already, or a Hard Trend of the future?

A Bitcoin Overview

Cryptocurrency uses peer-to-peer technology, similar to the file-sharing technology of the early 2000s. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency, it being virtual and decentralized. This means no one is in charge of it and it isn’t backed by the government. Bitcoin’s value is protected only by a distributed network that maintains its ledgers and protects its transactions by means of cryptography.

The concept behind Bitcoin first emerged in 2009 by an anonymous programmer (or programmers) using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. A single Bitcoin is today valued at $8,204, while the market cap is now at $145.66 billion.

Every Bitcoin is connected to an address and every Bitcoin is sent or received by a digital wallet attached to the address. Names aren’t associated with the transactions, creating a system that is wholly transparent while remaining functionally anonymous.

Bitcoin: A Soft Trend?

What exactly can you do with Bitcoins? It’s digital currency, so saving or spending them seems to be the immediate answer. However, in order to spend them, individuals and, more importantly, businesses must accept your Bitcoins. While a growing number of businesses accept Bitcoin, such as Overstock.com, most popular merchants and service providers including Amazon do not.

Let’s first discuss my Hard Trend Methodology and the differences between Hard Trends and Soft Trends to assess Bitcoin’s longevity.

A Hard Trend is a trend that will happen and is based on measurable, tangible, and fully predictable facts, events, or objects. They are future facts that cannot be changed.

A Soft Trend is a trend that might happen and is based on an assumption that looks valid in the present, and it may be likely to happen, but it is not a future fact. Soft Trends can be changed.

While Bitcoin itself grew in popularity, its future success is still a Soft Trend. During 2017, Bitcoin was treated by many as more of an investment than actual currency and likewise faced backlash when it was used for illegal online transactions.

However, the concept of cryptocurrencies is a Hard Trend, and here’s why:

Cryptocurrency: A Hard Trend

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay, including the underlying technology (blockchain) that enables them to function. Cryptocurrency, as well as blockchain, represents a radically new idea in finance: a decentralized system for exchanging value. Due to its open-source nature and its copyright-free core program, there will always be room for improvement. Programmers around the world have already developed military-grade encryptions and new ways to trade, thus stabilizing the prices.

Cryptocurrencies exist as mere entries in a blockchain-enabled accounting system. That system acts as a transparent public ledger that records transactions among “addresses.” Owning cryptocurrency isn’t analogous to having paper money in your pocket. Instead, it means a personal claim to an address, with your own password, and the right to do with it as you see fit. Over time, this will increasingly disrupt traditional models and global currencies, playing a role in a number of future digital transformations.

The Future of Currency: Digital Payments

Imagine you want new shoes, and your favorite shoe store accepts some form of cryptocurrency. If you don’t already possess cryptocurrency, you purchase some from a crypto-currency kiosk or an online exchange and assign it to your online account, known as a “wallet.”

When paying for your new shoes, you open your “digital wallet,” which is unlocked with passwords and/or biometrics, and the currency network is publicly informed that you’ve transferred $100 worth of cryptocurrency to the store. This happens fast, and there are almost no fees and no personal information divulged. Compare this with the slow debit or credit card counterpart, often with a third party involved. The benefits become more clear.

Other Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin was the first digital currency, but not the last. A large number of cryptocurrencies now exist, and the list is expanding. Litecoin, for example, was launched back in 2011 on the same blockchain as Bitcoin and was meant to improve it. Ethereum was created in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin and is a blockchain-based platform that can be used for developing decentralized apps and smart contracts. The list of cryptocurrencies is actually quite large and, as I said earlier, growing. And the enabling technology, blockchain, is being applied to a rapidly growing number of industries creating both disruption and new opportunities.

In Conclusion

Bitcoin versus the technology category of cryptocurrency gives us a clear example of the difference between Soft Trends and Hard Trends. Cryptocurrencies will continue to evolve and integrate into our economy and everyday life, as will the enabling blockchain technology, making cryptocurrency a Hard Trend, while the future success of individual cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is a Soft Trend: It may or may not have a bright future. When you’re able to distinguish between the Soft Trends that might happen and the Hard Trends that will happen, you will dramatically improve your ability to understand and manage risk as you become more anticipatory.

Learn how to accurately manage risk with my latest bestselling book The Anticipatory Organization.