Transparency online. Where do you draw the line?

transparency online - ameena falchettoMany will tell you that transparency online is crucial.

It’s critical to your impossible quest to be authentic.
So, where do you draw the line?

If you are blogging for business then here’s the skinny on transparency online.

How transparent do I need to be online?

If you are a solopreneur or a small business owner who is blogging for your business you may question how much you need to share.

Some will heckle and yell “I want the warts and all story!”

But wait.

There are only a few things you need to be completely transparent about:

  1. What you do, why, and how.
  2. How much you charge and your payment terms and conditions.
  3. Your experience that is RELEVANT to your business.

Anything else needs to be divided into complementary and irrelevant information.

Complementary vs. irrelevant transparency

Ask yourself the following questions;

  1. Does sharing this information bring my readers closer to becoming clients?
  2. Who am I writing this for? My clients or myself?
  3. Does my sharing help someone?

Complementary transparency is information is something personal you reveal that adds something to your business and/or to you as a person.

For example, I don’t hide the fact that I am married to John Falchetto, yes, he is my husband, the father of my daughter, my mentor, AND my business partner with who I started a couple of business with (many of the experiences, good, and bad, are shared on this site).

Irrelevant transparency is something that adds nothing to your business or you as a person.

Want some examples of irrelevant transparency?

I’m not giving you any personal examples but here are some to whet your appetite for entertainment …

  • What you ate for breakfast when you are not a in the business of food or nutrition or fitness.
  • Your medical history when you are not in the health industry.
  • Your bowel movements.
  • Your anger issues, or past criminal record.
  • Your personal relationship catastrophes.

The bottom line is all you need to reveal online is what you clients need to hear. Nothing more, nothing less.

No one is 100% transparent all of the time. It doesn’t mean you are a fake or an impostor. No. We are different depending on the situation and the circumstance.

Why should that be any different online?

Tell your story. Keep it relevant to what YOU do. And make it serve a purpose.

Transparency online is your choice, your story to tell.

Keep focused on your goal especially if you want to blog for dough and not for show.

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13 Responses to Transparency online. Where do you draw the line?

  1. Hi Ameena,

    I hope you’re having an awesome time in Dubai.

    Transparency is a very interesting topic in business, especially since we keep seeing way too much information on Facebook from our friends and business relations. Many do tell what they ate for breakfast.

    I’ve been thinking about adding all my past and current clients on my website. I believe it’s a good idea if I have many interesting clients, but maybe not if I don’t 🙂

    So, I want to be transparent, but if all the information im publishing is a wise business decision, that’s something I’m still having trouble figuring out 🙂

  2. Bowel movements are soooooo exciting FOR THE PEROSN WHO HAD IT! I totally agree that a lot of personal crap (no pun intended) should stay away – TMI my friends. Blogging is something like that though. It’s easy to slip in the personal stuff that doesn’t relate.

    Great advice Ameena, as always. Will look out for these bombs when posting (oops, it might be too late this week, yikes). Please forgive me.

    • Awesome Ralph! LOL! Thanks for that share 🙂

      Yes, sitting behind your computer writing can often give you the illusion that no one is watching and out comes the warts and all stuff.

      If in doubt, leave it out!

  3. This reminds me of that term” T.M.I”. I don’t mind when people share, if that is their website model, but to hear everything down to their last meal is where I start to zone out. Some websites are like that, it fits them and I come to expect it when I visit their blog, but if its about technology and next you decide to tell about some diner you ate at, I start to worry.

    Like the discussion we had the other day in email and how I admire you both for not showing every aspect because once its online, it’s there forever. You really have to pick and choose what you want people to know and what to keep off the internet. Your audience is use to a particular type of information from you and to deviate from that could be bad for business.

    • Hey Sonia,

      Yeah the TMI blogs make me thing “really?” My other blog is a bit like that with a parenting view but that’s not a business. I make a clear distinction between my business and mummy-life – my personal life is still quite private. And as you know, no pics of my daughters face anywhere on the interwebs!

      Thanks for coming over.

  4. Such great advice, and I love how you aren’t afraid to buck what everyone else is saying. I hear so many people saying you have to be really personal, really revealing, etc but I don’t agree. I think some personal information is fine because it makes you human and interesting, but your blog or website is not a support group! I couldn’t hit the unsubscribe button fast enough when someone whose newsletter I read revealed the gory details of her current, ongoing breakup in long prose in successive emails.

    • Hi Michele – I have received some scary email newsletters from people sharing intensely private stuff – and using that as a way to get a sympathy vote to get people to buy – I was horrified. And obviously unsubscribed.

      I often wonder if these “social media gurus” tell everyone to reveal everything as a way to set people up to fail – honestly!

      Thanks for sharing that you feel the same way!

  5. I’m a big believer in transparency in all sections of society especially in all kinds of leadership position whether in a business or political position. If you’re an employee or a business owner make sure you get everything in writing. In today’s world you have to be careful before entering into anything due to general lack of transparency.

    Tom

  6. I like the way you think! Boundaries are important in everything we do personally and professionally. Having said that, I am a Christian Life and Relationship Coach. Some of my blogs are intensely personal. The purpose of my blog is to let people know that I understand and can deal with issues of personal pain from not only a professional, but a personal and Christian spiritual standpoint. Am I on track here with my thinking? I don’t want to exploit myself, others mentioned in my blog and I am not intending on doing this for any kind of sympathy. Do you think my blog sends the message that I am intending, i.e. helping others solve a problem? Oh, I signed up for your site. Thanks. -Donna

    • Hi Donna, It really depends on what your goal is – I know that you can tackle intensely personal subjects from different angles. I see on your site that you are there to help by sharing your experiences and offering up solutions. Guess it depends on the feedback you are getting – is your content converting into clients?

  7. I share a lot on my personal blog/twitter that is “irrelevant” to my main business (headway themes, woo!) but I’ve been told people like to get a bigger picture of me and my life. I think customers like to relate to the “experts” when it comes to trust. But there are definitely a lot of things I see people sharing that are damaging, and business owners need to draw the line, ESPECIALLY on social networks.

    Don’t instagram a picture of yourself drinking beer and lamenting your bank account when you claim to make a fortune online. Also sports scores. I could Google that. Really, don’t share the bad unless you have some good to follow it up with. People have their own problems.

    • It all depends what you blog for at the end of the day – and there are no rules but those examples just made me laugh out loud as I’ve seen a few self proclaimed rockers and rollers thinking that people who read their blog can’t see their facebook updates complaining how things are going down the tubes!

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