Successful Social Media => Authenticity

A good piece on “The Simple Way to Avoid Social Media Failures” from Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp’s Jeff Stibel on the HBR blog.

Social Media is an especially important medium for Sovereign Professionals.  On the one hand, it represents a cheap channel to reach your market, to connect with communities and to build authority and credibility.  On the other hand, in the world of the sovereign professional, you are your business, you are the brand.  The stakes are perhaps raised higher.

Stibel’s piece gives some great examples of people’s failure to truly appreciate the immediate, permanent and intimate nature of social media: your knee-jerk response is preserved in virtual aspic; your mother-in-law, your soon-to-be-ex-wife’s divorce lawyers, your (grand) kids and your customers can all, always, see the happy snaps of your beer-cheery mooning at the policeman that you posted on Facebook and forgot.

Aside from stopping to think, Stibel’s advice is simple: be authentic.

“Pretending to be something you’re not, or attempting to conceal or manipulate the truth is a surefire way to lose. You win by matching your image with reality, acting with integrity, and sincerely apologizing when you’re wrong.”

Powerful advice for freelancers, interims and micropreneurs everywhere.

It also raises an interesting point for portfolio careerists.  Whether or not you choose to cross-promote the various activities which make up your portfolio depends on how well aligned they are.  However, what is clear is that you can never expect to keep them completely separate.


About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (
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