One of the biggest things holding individuals and companies back is trying to be perfect. Too many of us hold out on releasing our ideas, projects and products because they’re not quite right.
Caring about quality is admirable, but it’s also a drawback. Every day, over 80 million photos are posted to Instagram, but so many more are withheld because the lighting is off. Or the location isn’t trendy enough. Or it’s the wrong time of day to post that kind of photo.
And that extends beyond social media. The fact is, the quest for perfection is harming your brand.
So let’s look at how we’re all struggling to find the balance between quality and quantity, and how to be perfectly imperfect.
A while back, we wrote about the importance of telling stories. The beauty of storytelling, in its oldest verbal form, is that each retelling is different and personal. Details are forgotten, added, embellished. The tone changes based on the teller’s mood. In short, stories are profoundly human.
And your brand is no different. It isn’t perfect and it will change depending on the humans who control it.
That’s not to say you can’t strive for good quality photographs and well-edited copy. Those should be a given. But in between those posts, are you staying silent? It’s likely that your audience — and the algorithms dictating your exposure — will appreciate some posts of humanity in between.
The most engaging content is the most human. It’s why daily vlogging has taken off big time — people love being invited along for the ride.
If you’ve got a favourite sports team, I’ll bet you follow their Instagram stories religiously. Seeing what professional athletes get up to day-to-day is fascinating to the average fan. The end result is great, but it’s the journey that makes it worthwhile.
Our brains aren’t wired to strive for perfection. We can process the struggle of the journey more easily than cold, clinical perfection. Even when it comes to faces, too much symmetry is off-putting.
So if telling stories is important to your business, you can’t just show the finished article. At best, it suggests you’re a secretive company. At worst, it hints you’ve got something to hide. Your audience might love your polished studio photographs, but what’s happening behind the scenes?
More than ever, documenting the process is integral to the success of your brand.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the entrepreneurial whizz, puts out a lot of content. He uses his personality as a hook to get people to invest in his brand. Putting himself in front of the camera, he’s crafted an audience that most influencers could only dream of.
And one of his biggest mantras is as follows:
Document, don’t create.
Of course, he’s not saying that creating art or products is to be avoided. He means that when you’re speaking to your audience — probably over social media — you can’t afford to be too fancy. You might think you need an expensive camera, lighting and a team of videographers to produce a video, but Gary would say you’re wrong.
In a time when social media algorithms favour regular posts more than ever, it’s a good time to start posting ‘imperfect’ content.
Now we know the theory behind the method, let’s get to work. Here are three simple, actionable tips to get you documenting instead of just creating:
Show people how your company is dealing with setbacks, not just the successes. Show your humble side and your customers will put their trust in you. Taking others along for the ride will help you create a community, and that is a massive bonus for any company.
Rhys is Conscious Creatives' resident writer and photographer. His work has been published in various online publications, and he was recently chosen to update a bestselling book on SEO. He continues to seek new and interesting angles for his photography work, shooting his local streets on 35mm film.
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