“Sometimes I wish I could walk up to my music for the first time, as if I had never heard it before. Being so inescapably a part of it, I’ll never know what the listener gets, what the listener feels, and that’s too bad.” – John Coltrane

When it comes to social media, there is a fine balance between creatively staying true to yourself or brand and becoming an numbers-driven lifeless robot. With the vast array of analytical tools and research out there today, the amount of information we can gather on our followers and the insight we have on content engagement is seemingly endless. We really have everything we need for crafting the most likeable, shareable, retweetable pieces of content.

When Coltrane crafted a jazz piece, he described it as an expression of the inner most parts of his being. To him, his music was a way to paint a picture of his spirituality and life experiences. He also desired for it to have a deep positive affect on the listener. Coltrane saw music as a medium to uplift people and “help humanity free itself from its hangups.” And while he desired for his music to be received well, it never clouded him from writing music that came from the depths of his soul; music that was true to who he was, not just on how the listener would respond. It’s a fine balance.

Social media is also a fine balance. Unlike Coltrane, we actually have the capabilities to know what the customer or follower gets and what they feel. We can craft our content to incite the responses we want and then sit back and watch it happen. The problem starts when we swing so far to this side that we depart from who we (or our brand) really are; there’s no soul left in it. We become tone deaf robots, all banging the same notes. This is also a danger of automation. And if you know me, you know how much I rave about automation tools like Buffer, but you can’t let them get away from you.

Find a way to use automation to your advantage. Use your analytics to craft engaging content. But don’t let your lust for likes, retweets, and follower growth devour your authenticity. Find your voice and let it stand out. There’s already plenty of noise to go around. Play your own notes. Be YOU. And be you in a way that makes others’ lives better for following and listening to you being you.

“You can play a shoestring if you’re sincere.” – John Coltrane


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