Last week I had a phone call with a friend who's buying a small business. She asked me a question: "Heidi, I know that you've purposely kept your family out of social media. Why is that?".
It's true. About eight years ago, I was at the peak of my blog writing posting 3-5 times per week. In searching for material to include, my kids were an easy and natural extension of the brand Me. But I felt vaguely unsettled about something so I sat down with my husband to decide together what we were prepared to put out on the web about our kids.
At the end of our conversation, we decided on complete anonymity. I would not post pictures of our family, use their names, reference their ages or put any other information about them on my blog.
Why? We felt uneasy about choosing public exposure on their behalf. We didn't want people knowing our kids when our kids didn't know them. It felt like an invasion of privacy. It was an easy decision.
Back to my friend, though, who said "I'd like to include my kids in the marketing of this product because it's so family-friendly.". I get that. And here's what I said.
Between saying nothing and saying it all, there are many stops along the way. There's a big difference between showing a picture of your kids holding your product and sharing their intimate fears and worries. I would ask the question "Do I want my child's future employer knowing this about them?" to decide whether you are keeping it fun or moving into personal details. If it could embarrass that child in the future, don't put it in.
As with all things social media, only you can choose how much to reveal. But if I could give one piece of advice, it's better to strategically decide where your comfort lies rather than falling into telling all. Once you put that information out there, you can't take it back. For the sake of our children, I think we owe them the courtesy of some deliberate decision-making.
Written by Heidi Reimer-Epp, co-founder and President of Botanical PaperWorks. This blog post originally appeared in Stationery Scoop under A Few Thoughts on Using My Family To Promote My Brand.