It is surprisingly easy to be everywhere and not really be seen by anyone.
And despite the need to be visible to reach your potential clients, you may well be simply hiding in plain sight.
Social media has become a playground where you can pretend to be visible while doing your best to keep yourself hidden.
A close look at social media feeds tells the story of entrepreneurs everywhere who waging a war between the part of themselves that wants (and needs) to be seen and the part that wants to stay safely out of sight.
These entrepreneurs demonstrate immense creativity in walking the line of taking the action to be visible and throwing on their Harry Potter style invisibility cloak.
Before you decide that this isn’t you, ask yourself if any of these touches a nerve.
Have you ever written a post or video that pushed your limits and challenged you to express yourself in a new way and probably upset the apple cart? You knew your position was going to challenge everyone to think differently but while you were writing, there was a little voice telling you that “no one will see it anyway, so you are quite safe”.
And, of course, they don’t because it is a self-fulfilling prophesy. The thought of “no one will see it” puts an energetic dampener on your content so people won’t engage. The lack of response makes you doubt your value, credibility and sanity.
Alternatively, you take that innovative, challenging, controversial post and share it with a group who you know will agree 100% with you.
You tell yourself that this is your ideal audience but deep down you know that these are your alter egos and the people you can really help are elsewhere.
All that has happened is you have spent time helping no one, especially yourself.
Speaking Someone Else’s Mind
You want to connect with people so much that you speak about what they want to hear about not what you need to share. You focus so hard on what their “problem” is that your unique response to it gets watered down as you bend yourself out of shape trying to make your position fit their expectations. The end result leaves no one any the wiser.
Posting For the Algorithms
You have bought the idea that if you aren’t posting all the time you won’t be seen. To produce that much content, it loses the necessary edge to get attention. You end up posting blandness that everyone just scrolls past.
More time producing higher quality content is way more effective and impactful. And those algorithms favour content that gets people speaking – if you post once a week and everyone raves about it, you can guarantee those algorithms will show you some love.
You see a post or an article about a topic you have strong opinions on and you can see a whole lot of cracks in their take on the subject. But you don’t want to ruffle any feathers so you either pass up the opportunity to share your view or you fail to go all in. And you probably kick yourself for the rest of the day.
Business is not a popularity contest. It’s about helping people and you can’t do that if they aren’t given the chance to hear what you have to say.
Confusing Marketing and Sales
You assume that posting is itself an open invitation to ask about working with you and that your words should be enough to instil the motivation to reach out. There is no clear invitation, link or action they can take to go further. So they don’t.
Which is when you assume that no one is interested in what you are offering and try a different strategy. Meanwhile, those people who would have connected are left looking elsewhere.
Going Straight for the Sale
At the other end of the scale, if every post is a pitch you can guarantee that people will lose interest and you will become invisible. People want relationships. That means connection and conversation. Sales come when people feel heard. Take the time to get to know people before you pitch to them and you will be far more visible.
The Effect? Strategic Invisibility
All of these can be examples of using visibility as a means to be invisible and stay safe.
I know because at one time or another I have used them all.
I persuaded myself that I was doing the work to be visible but the reality was very different.
And I also know this is true because I see it everywhere in the online world.
If any of these touch a nerve for you, the chances are you are doing the same. And if the clients aren’t knocking on your door, consider how you are hiding your true self and your true thoughts from the people who are looking for you.
Visibility is scary.
But it is less scary than never giving yourself the opportunity to be yourself.
Putting the visibility gremlins to bed comes down to a few simple rules of thumb:
Know what your opinion and position is.
Know what you have to say on it.
Say it consciously.
Be open to conversation.
Social media is a valuable marketing tool if it is used to create connection. Post in ways that encourage dialogue and debate. Share your opinion and be open to the discussion that follows. And never forget to let people know how they can take the conversation further.