Vulnerability is key to being authentic on the internet. Your audience wants to know that you're human, and not some robot trying to sell them a product. Establish a relationship with your audience by being vulnerable. But what does "being vulnerable" actually mean? Vulnerability is the ability to share information knowing that you potentially get attacked by it, or receive some negative feedback. For instance, if you share that you love pineapple on pizza, you might get a lot of pineapple-on-pizza-haters. That's a silly example, but it gets the point across. Despite the potential negative feedback, vulnerability gives you the opportunity, as a business, to show your audience who you are, and why your business is important to you. In order to do that, you need to first make a connection with your audience. 

Establishing a connection with your audience is key to being vulnerable online. Let your audience know that you have common interests or common problems to be solved. Let them know you are human. You can easily do this while relating to your product or service. I'll give you an example of a post I wrote not too long ago on Instagram. This post showed a little bit of vulnerability while at the same time explaining what I do as a photographer. I posted the following image: 

Here was my caption: 

"I’ll be honest - this shoot was kind of a complete disaster at first. My speed lights were not working. The sun was quickly falling behind the mountains. And I got lost on the way to the destination. However, that never stops me from trying and making something work. I finally got my flash to work, and we caught the last of the sun before it dipped behind the mountains. And I’m really happy with how this shot came out!

You can turn anything into something. Using the outdoors is a fun way to create a studio. With just a speed light and a light modifier, I was able to get this shot, exposing the model and sunset at the same time." 

As you can see, I first explained to my audience that not every photoshoot goes the way it's planned. I let them know that regardless of producing a good photo, I still had quite a lot of challenges to overcome on the shoot. This automatically lets me relate to my audience because I know other photographers have experienced similar situations. Second, I infused my caption with a sense of hope. I wanted my followers to understand that despite things not working out, it wasn't going to stop me from finding an alternative and taking photos regardless of the situation. Third, I took this moment to teach my audience that they can actually use studio lighting outdoors, even when it's pitch black! In fact, I was teaching my audience the benefits of using studio lighting outdoors, something they probably didn't think about before. As a result, I was able to not only connect with my audience but also give them a takeaway message, all while being vulnerable. This makes me human. This makes it easier for my audience to connect to me, to relate, and to improve their own photography skills. In addition, this helps direct my audience to my end goal - which is to mentor photographers in how to use studio lighting, in almost any situation. (If you are a photographer reading this, and want to learn more, then click here). 

With that said, vulnerability can come in various forms. For instance, every now and then create a post on social media that talks about your family, your loved one, or a fellow friend that has impacted you in some way, shape, or form. Talk more in-depth about how your company got started, what were some of the challenges you faced at first and how you overcame them. Empower your audience by letting them into your life, just a little, and giving advice to those who are looking up to you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable in your business by taking risks, asking for input from your audience and making needed changes, and getting yourself out there. With just a little bit of vulnerability, you'll go a long way. You will present yourself and your brand in a more authentic way and really connect with your audience. In a world where everything is turning digital, make sure to keep yourself real. 

To find out more on how to grow a strong online presence with your business, check out my other article titled: 4 Ways to Be Authentic on the Internet and Why it Matters. 

Also, as an added tip, make sure to incorporate engaging photos into your online presence. To read more, click the following link: Why Professional Photos are Important to Grow a Business.