It's hard not to be aware of the narcissist threat of social media. But easy to stay clear when you're strategic about why you're there and what your goals are. When I hear clients with great insights that support their expertise/product/company, I'll point out that's exactly what they should be posting in social media, to raise awareness for what they're doing and position themselves as happening people worth paying attention to – with the goal of supporting their business growth. It's all part of a brand strategy... how are you going to get people interested, what's going to invite them in to the experience you're building?
A generalization, but the people who are the shyest about social media are uncomfortable with the public display and feel it's a bit show-off-y. There's a caution about being a narcissist. The medium does reward people wired like that and allow them to rise to the top, though it doesn't mean that everyone who excels in social media is a narcissist.
I have a British friend who's in a creative business and has a huge following on social media which he's earned through cultivating a great tone and style in his words and by sharing interesting bits of design, insights, and lots of images. The thing is, he shares images of what his company is selling the same way he shares what others are doing that he likes – by positioning it all as discoveries he's excited about. It works. And it's not narcissist at all. He was extremely cautious about social media and has made it work for him by not selling or pushing anything, but inviting people into his world of discovery.
When I create brand strategies for people and we're talking about social media, I try to help people look at their social presence to be clear that it's supporting their work, and it's a unique chance to invite people into their world in (what can be) a more experiential way than other media. Allowing people to uncover things is much more engaging for an audience than directly telling them things. So with a brand strategy behind your social media presence, you know you're feeding a larger story and it's not narcissist because it's you but it's not about you, it's part of a larger conversation that you're building that feeds the brand.
Brenda van Ginkel
Every great brand that's making a difference to people or the planet deserves to stand out and be noticed. I write about creative direction and brand strategy for entrepreneurs and those supporting them, packaging concepts with messaging for growth and audience engagement in a crowded, noisy digital space.