There is no doubt that filters can be fun. From the oversized glasses and crazy hair and filters that make us look fresh, young, and free, there are filters to commemorate any day and add the right nuanced mood to any mindset. And frankly, most of us have used them. In fact, most of us will continue to use them. Especially as we become more dependent on digital paths of communication for fun, family, and business – filters may become a ubiquitous part of life. The question I come across is, what are the rules for filters when it comes to our professional footprint?
What Are FilterS?
Filters are those fun tools on social media cameras that allow you to change the characteristics of the photo. From beauty filters that erase fine lines and add perfect shadowing for the perfect jawline contour to silly color hair, hats, and playful glasses. Some filters let you dance and change your voice, while others turn you into cute little dogs, kittens, and foxes. Others provide sparklers and a playful background, while other filters allow you to integrate music, cartoons or stickers. The idea is to create an image that compliments your messages and adds a bit of playfulness or intrigue to your videos and images.
There Is No Doubt Filters Are Fun, But Are They A Shield?
Filters are fun. They are also addicting. It is a creative outlet that lets us show-off a version of ourselves that we might not otherwise be able to conjure up. However, as speakers representing our brand, business, services, and products, are you using a filter as a shield?
Speaking can be scary. Even showing still images our ourselves can be intimidating. We worry about the side of our nose, the laughter lines highlighting our eyes and imperfect smiles, teeth, and hair. Showing up in a space where the attention is on us is why so many of us fear to show up. A filter allows us to create a distance between our real-selves and the version of ourselves we can people to see. We buy into the narrative that if someone can’t see the imperfections in our skin or tired eyes or flat hair, they will like us more and we will avoid the judgment that might come with being imperfect. A filter hides all of that. We feel safer. We feel more confident. We feel protected.
There Comes A Time to Show Up Honestly
As much fun as a filter can be in your personal Snap Chat account, Instagram or even Facebook, when it comes to you – be very careful using filters that change what you really look like. Filters can create the perception that you don’t take yourself, or your business seriously. Or, they might modify what you look like to the point that when people see you in real life, they don’t recognize you.
As business owners, we want to show up in a way that people will know us, like us, and trust us. Why? Because we do business with people we know, we like and we trust. Using filters, or photoshop, to radically change what you look like is creating a space of distrust. People may begin to think, ‘If I don’t know what she really looks like, what else is she hiding?” Or, if you have too many cute, playful filters that change your voice or turn you into a loveable teddy bear, your potential clients might say, “Man, she doesn’t take her business seriously…will she take me seriously as a client?” or “Why is she showing up as a teddy bear? Is it is a distraction because she doesn’t know what she is talking about?” There comes a time when you have to begin to show up honestly.
Filters Are A Distraction To Your Professional Identity
Filters are fun, but they are a distraction to your professional identity. You want people to know who you are. And we like people who we can relate to. That means imperfect people. People who make mistakes have a hair out of place or a smile that isn’t quite even. We like that because we are all imperfect and can relate to that.
We also want to know the person we are going to do business with take their business, brand, services, and products as seriously as we do our own. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for playfulness, but it does mean we need to show up honestly in a way that represents who we want people to see us as. We also do not want to surprise people when we meet them in real life because we look, sound, or act so differently than we do online.
Even more importantly, the longer we are sheltering-in-place during this extensive pandemic period, we want real people more than ever. We are craving connection with real people. We are overexposed to wordsmithed truths, over-edited images, and videos and idealized lifestyle shoots. We want someone we can connect to. We want people. People who are not hiding behind the safeguard of a filter.
Take the Shield Off – It’s Time to Show Up
As you begin to build your online presence and brand, it is time to take the shield off. Filters are fun, but they are not who you are as a professional. Photographers can be our experts when it comes to adding lighting and nuanced shadows to our images. But, for you – it’s time to be honest with who you are and how you can show-up online to represent yourself and your brand and showcase your products and services. Businesses grow through relationships. Do not get in your own way by hiding behind filters. We don’t build relationships by hiding. We build them by showing up and using our voice to take up space.
If you are unsure how to show up and put the shield down, reach out. From Small Group Coaching to even a simple Discovery Call, we can get you on the path to being the authentic, confident professional you are. Keep the filters for fun and family. When it comes to business, let’s get to work and be the professional your business needs you to be. shield