Riley Rose Empowers Millennials With New Instagram-Worthy Makeup Concept Store

A new makeup concept store, Riley Rose, empowers Millennials to try on Korean beauty products as if they were getting ready in their own bedroom.

Riley Rose is not like Sephora or Mac. No one’s going to give you a makeover. Instead, Riley Rose tapped into Millennials’ obsession with makeup and learning from social media. The popular makeup Instagram account, Wake Up and Makeup has nearly 12 million Instagram followers. The New York Times depicts Meghan Roark who spends $300 a month on makeup and skincare and watches about 3 hours of YouTube tutorials weekly. And these aren’t stand alone examples, they represent the new way Millennials and Generation Z want to shop and learn about makeup.

Using the Millennial’s dream of an Instagram-worthy location, the daughters of the founders of Forever 21, Esther and Linda Chang recently launched their new makeup concept store in several cities including Chicago’s Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue.

Some Riley Rose store highlights include:

  • Selfie lighting vanities for you to sit and swatch and apply lipsticks and highlighters
  • iPads next to the vanities with step by step makeup tutorials
  • Online-only Korean makeup brands like  RMS Beauty, Tonymoly, Too Cool for School, Winky Lux, R & Co, Stila, and CosRx
  • A fridge filled with face masks and much more face and skin care products
  • Beautiful packaging that makes everything look cute and original and sayings on them like Huxley’s “Great things never came from comfort zones”
  • Lots of pink – “Millennial Pink”
  • A pink brick wall “Wish You Were Here” photo booth with a selfie-camera and seats for all of your friends
  • Notebooks and supplies cuter that Urban Outfitters
  • Glitter injections and cute party favors
  • A candy section with sweet and sour treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Hair product section that brings you a new tool that makes amazing beachy waves

Online Only and Korean Beauty Brands at Riley Rose:

Watching YouTube makeup tutorials and seeing beauty bloggers explain how to apply makeup is fun, but not having that makeup at home can be a problem. Sure there are apps where we can virtually apply makeup and hair dye, but nothing where we have a lighted vanity and endless Korean beauty products. And let me emphasize – Korean beauty products.

When I walked into Riley Rose, I didn’t recognize a lot of the brands. But for internet beauty buyers, there are popular beauty brands like Lime Crime, RMS Beauty,  and Winky Lux. This, of course, made me excited to try on the Koren makeup brands.

There were so many different beauty products in cute packaging to try on and take with me to a selfie lighting vanity next to an iPad with makeup tutorials.  The marble countertops, good lighting, and neon signs made for an Instagram-worthy backdrop. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much fun trying on makeup and taking selfies. I was literally in the store for hours.

The Quality of Riley Rose Makeup: Lipstick

There’s been some debate about the quality of the products as Bustle mentioned because Riley Rose does have low price points and high price points and most of their products are not usually found in-store.

I quickly found that the pigments and packaging were all very alluring, but there were two things I noticed. The lipstick and gloss applicators weren’t the best – that’s something even Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits its improved on as YouTuber, Andrea Renee showed. Although the packaging is cute at Riley Rose, it isn’t cute to have pink and red product smeared on your face. Applicators are like paint brushes and just like you wouldn’t put a paint roller on a small cabinet, you don’t want big wands to apply vibrant colors on your face.

The second issue, and I think it’s because of the applicators, is that too much of the product would go on my face. So, it just felt like a wet kiss on my lips at times – something that a) never feels good and b) I haven’t experienced from other beauty brands like Elf, L’Oreal, or Mac.

What I love about sharing this with you is that I tried on several different makeups and compared them to learn what beauty products worked and what didn’t. I found Riley Rose to be so empowering – to not just see makeup in packaging, but try it on and discover how to apply makeup and what looks best. Best of all, the store has great lighting.


The Perfect Everyday Lip Color:

Hands down, try on everything. I found two of my favorite everyday lipsticks and glosses at Riley Rose. I spent hours at the pre-store opening trying on several Korean lipsticks and found my new 2018 lip color – which is the Winky Lux double matte whip liquid lipstick in shortcake. It comes on wet but dries quickly and doesn’t smudge. Plus, it’s a darker red like a burgundy that makes me look like the girl boss I want to be. When I went to The Chicago Woman’s Magazine food industry cocktail party in January, I got a lot of compliments on my new lip color.

I also found the perfect lip color to brighten my face. It’s the Peri’s Ink Velvet. I got the wow pink color. It comes on like whipped cream.

Ohhh let’s debate. How many days can you hibernate before you get cabin fever/go insane? I’m on day three and going strong. I see all you boo’s ordering pizza cc: @agirlandafoodstagram. I just feel bad for those delivery people going out in Siberia like temps. Tonight I’m having a dinner party with one of the first journalists and friends I met in Chicago (you can still hear her on WGN). We met on a street corner and she turned to me and said “you look like you’re going to the same event as me. Do you know where it is?” We’ve been friends now for over 7 years 😮 And tonight I get to make dinner for her and do my face with @rileyrose cosmetics without leaving my house. If the salmon doesn’t taste good, there’s pizza around the corner 💁🏻‍♀️ PS this texture spray is goals

A post shared by Windy City Cosmo | 🍸🎈💁🏻‍♀️💋 (@windycitycosmo) on

Skin Care Section:

Let’s be real, LUSH bath bombs are a thing and so is taking care of your skin with facials and bedtime routines, not just covering up bad skin with makeup.

Riley Rose has a whole tub full of bath bombs and a whole fridge filled with face masks, not to mention other cute Korean face masks and feet masks. Yes, feet masks! I bought one to try after my 30 days of hot yoga.


Lazy Girl Skin Care Routine:

While I was at Riley Rose for their grand opening at Water Tower Place, I learned a lazy girl skin care routine that took 5 minutes and you could do in the car or plane when you’re on your next Intagrammable vacation. 

Step 1: Apply Banila Co Clean It Zero balm with your fingers. It feels so refreshing on your skin because it’s kind of oily and brightens and refreshes your skin while also removing makeup. No more harsh toners to take off all the makeup.

Step 2: Apply Huxley Secret of Sahara Essence to hydrate the skin.

Step 3: Apply Dr. G Red-Blemish Clear Cream. This is especially good for people who have redness or who have dry skin.

Three steps and you’re done. No water necessary and very simple!



Riley Rose is a dream. Honestly, you can spend hours at Riley Rose and still want to try on more makeup and take more Instagram-worthy photos and selfies. It’s Millennial pink. Most of all it empowers you to try on different lip colors and experiment with highlighters and creams.

If playing with makeup and finding new skincare and lifestyle items are something you love to do, then this bright, pink store is your dream.

Riley Rose is located on the 4th floor of Water Tower Place next to Victoria Secret’s Pink in Chicago.




How To Get Paid to Instagram: The Secrets Behind Brand Ambassadors 

In the Aon Tower in Chicago, a woman turns to me and says that Tony the Tiger is inside, don’t be scared.

I walk into a room full of energy, and it’s just five adults on a Friday afternoon. With a smile and a handshake to match the warmth of her yellow shirt, I meet the Instagrammer, Elise Swopes.

Swopes is glowing. She just reached 275,000 Instagram followers. Tony the Tiger kicked off his road trip in New York City and stopped in Chicago where he teamed up with photographer Swopes to snap photos in iconic locations around the city.

Kellogg’s put a lot of strategy into announcing it’s cinnamon flavor, with a year’s worth of research and over 100 different variations including vanilla and caramelized sugar.  To launch the product, they just needed the right way to introduce it, and they chose Tony the Tiger and the Chicago Instagrammer, Elise Swopes.

“I love Chicago because I live here,”  Swopes said, “Me and Tony had breakfast together. I took Tony around Chicago, and we had a videographer film us at the top of the Hancock Observatory. Tony did the Tilt yesterday.”

Her video has already received over 7k views on Instagram. 

Working with global brands like Kellogg’s isn’t new to the Adobe Influencer Certified artist and Instagrammer. Swopes uses her iPhone to take most of her photos, which she edits. She started on her own over four years ago and then used an agency called Mobile Media Lab. Today, she works with her own manager to garner new business opportunities.

I sat down with Swopes to talk about her strategy, her background as an artist, and the importance of being part of an Instagram community to grow a social media following.

Windy City Cosmo: Wait, you just use Instagram? Like, no Twitter or Snapchat? 

Swopes: Yes.

Windy City Cosmo: What do you do as a brand ambassador? 

Swopes: I shoot and edit with my iPhone. I sometimes shoot with a camera and then transfer it to my iPhone.

Windy City Cosmo: Where do you have your Instagram photo shoots in Chicago?

Swopes: If it’s a gloomy day you will catch me in the Willis Tower or The Hancock.

Side note: Check out the 15 best places to shoot as a Chicago blogger here.

Windy City Cosmo: How do you edit Instagram photos? 

Swopes: This is an app called Art Studio. I’ve been using that for five years. I’m an Adobe Influencer as well. I do live demonstrations.

Windy City Cosmo: Do you have any tips for taking good shots?

Swopes: No one use the Instagram filters (she laughs) – they’re horrible. I haven’t used an Instagram filter since 2012.

Windy City Cosmo: How do your fans react when you post sponsored content? 

Swopes: About four years ago,  I got push back. But now people look to me for advice.You see my work for free, and I’m inspiring people. I need money to keep me alive so you can keep my art alive.

I think they’re also excited for me because my fans see that I show myself and am real and vulnerable. You have to be friends with your fans.

Windy City Cosmo: What makes a brand ambassador partnership authentic to your brand?

Swopes: I’m a yes woman. I like to figure out how I can work with a brand. They know how my work looks. Last year I shot some stuff at the Chicago Auto Show. I never shoot cars. And it went really well.

Windy City Cosmo: How do you monitor your Instagram followers?

Swopes: By being involved in a community with Instagram. Instagram has little lines that you can connect with Facebook – and it’s called Instagram insights. See here (she points to her iPhone) that I have a top following in Bangkok and Chicago.

Windy City Cosmo: How do you grow your brand on Instagram? 

Swopes:  I have a hashtag strategy and a community strategy. I follow a lot of Instagram accounts that are featured accounts. I tagged a lot of featured accounts in photos to get discovered.

Also, I got a viral image over the past couple of days.

To keep up with my network, I also get notifications from people I follow.

Windy City Cosmo: How do you keep a similar feel throughout your Instagram page, yet sill work with so many brands? 

Swopes: For me, I like to switch it up a lot.  I keep it simple and clean. The first picture on my Instagram was in 2010. I was going to South by Southwest at the time. My first photo is a screen shot of my driving directions through Google Maps to Austin, Texas. It was a month or so later that I started creating art. I used Snapseed when it was independently owned.

Windy City Cosmo: How do you get followers? 

Swopes: I woke up one morning and got thousands of followers. I was on the suggested user list. I think I made 100,000 followers from that list. I made 175,000 from traveling.

You can follow Elise Swopes on Instagram (@swopes). You can also follow Windy City Cosmo on Instagram (@windycitycosmo) and use the hashtag #windycitycosmo.

Now that you know some tactics to develop quality Instagram posts and work with brands, learn what you need to become a brand ambassador and meet more Chicago Instagrammers here. 


Finstagram: I Want To Be Myself on Social Media

If we can be ourselves, then why are we always trying to find outlets to show our deep down secret—our real selves?

In the name of being social, the latest trend is finstagram, creating a separate Instagram account to the private setting and going against rationale social media objective—increase followers.

Finding a Place to Be Ourselves:

Social media is the new “in public.” We are finding it harder to find and share private messages and create private social media accounts that aren’t swayed by public norms, and more importantly, left to public judgement and commentary.

Having a social media account with your real name or your brand’s name it like putting on a customer service voice all of the time. And that’s really hard and um, boring. It’s hard to not let your true self slip.

And for some, we want the “not safe for work” content—the realities of everyday life. And while group messaging and text is fun and convenient, we really want to share it on a platform that makes it easy to share and respond. More importantly, we want it to be a safe, secure, and private medium to document our real life, not our perfectly angled ulterior.

I thought the answer was Snapchat, moments of our life that quickly disappear (or now, last for 24 hours). We could share the secret things we wish we said on other forms of social media. But, people need a more scrapbook moment and history of their true feelings and inside jokes—a social media Mean Girls burnbook, if you will.

Finstagram: The Fake Instagram Movement:

Recently, The New York Times published an article, “On Fake Instagram, A Chance to Be Real.”  In the article, Valeryai Safronova, spoke with teenagers and college students about this new trend of creating a separate Instagram account with limited followers who they can be themselves around. In a platform that is centered on #followforfollow,  finstagram is a space to be you.

It’s like being in class and paying attention, while passing notes at the same time. More and more, we are realizing that everyone is privy to our notes, and we really don’t like when the teacher shares them with the class.

Moreover, there is constant conversation and a push for creating a strong, appropriate personal brand. Platforms that were once private, like Facebook, are now very much public and used to interact on a professional level with potential employers and interact on professional groups.

In the article, Safronova researched Instagram sensation, Essena O’Neil, located in Australia, who at one point had over 800,000 followers before she deleted her account and created an authenticity campaign, Let’s Be Game Changers.

“I made myself into a machine that gave others what they wanted from me, never knowing or valuing my true self,” Ms. O’Neill wrote on her website. “I was lost to expectations, pressures and a fearful desire to be accepted.”

Private v. Public:

There really is no safe way to be yourself. A private account is still searchable and hackable. It’s becoming harder to communicate when we tweet, Facebook, and Instagram pieces of our lives that use to be kept in password locked diaries. What’s scarier is that we are the ones leaking that content.

We want our name to be searchable on Google, but on the other hand we want to be forgiven for the flippant things we might tweet. We all have those photos in a bikini that we don’t want our boss seeing or the “I Don’t F*ck With You,” Big Sean moment. Maybe we can have the “hide from timeline” changed to “hide from parents, teachers, employers, and possible love interests” forever.

Maybe this trend of being professional and politely personal is making us into better, more politically correct people (unless we are the John Oliver’s of the world), or maybe it’s making us all want to set up a finstagram.

Social media accounts can’t be all of you, we need real life and texting for that.

Photo Credit:, Photo by alexisdc.


How Bloggers and Brands Create Authenticity on Social Media

Be authentic are the key words at Social Media Week (#SMWChicago), a week-long program (November 16-20, 2015) part of a global conference which combines social technology, creativity, and human interaction to discuss the latest trends and best practices for social media.

Bloggers vouched for it. Marketers and journalists agreed.

I am going to explore different bloggers and brands who are authentic and personal. I will evaluate the argument for finding the middle ground of creating an authentic brand, while also putting personality and yourself into the social media messaging.

What is a Brand?

To clarify, a brand is “the practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products,” according to Entrepreneur.

A blogger can operate under a separate brand name. For instance, my name is Amanda Elliott, but my brand is “Windy City Cosmo.” Some bloggers operate under their name. Journalists do this as well, creating a separate brand for themselves, while operating within the brand of their employer.

Define Authentic:

Authenticity means “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.

In writing, you need to have a voice, a tone and an objective that relates to your subject matter and audience reading your blog post or article. This is part of what authenticity means to social media marketers.

Brand Authenticity has four parts according to Digital Intelligence Today:

  • Continuity (brand being faithful to itself)
  • Credibility (true to its consumers)
  • Integrity (motivated by caring and responsibility)
  • Symbolism (support consumers in being true to themselves)

Brand Example: Elite Daily:

A good example of brand authenticity is Elite Daily, an online publication for the voice of Generation Y.

To create credibility, it only employees Millennial writers to share personal anecdotes for its Millennial audience.

It also has standards, the integrity component of authenticity, in its style guide. Elite Daily won’t accept posts that are racist or against the LGBT community. The brand further creates becomes overly personal about all things related to Millennials to help Millennials tackle their own battles on dating, world news, and women’s health, which provides symbolism.

Notice, when you view their Instagram account, Elite Daily uses statements that resonate with Millennials to add a deeper connection.

One post reads,” How do girls contour their face I’m lucky if I brush my hair.”


Humpday sentiments via Social Media Coordinator @alisaysdance

A photo posted by Elite Daily (@elitedaily) on Nov 11, 2015 at 10:01am PST


Elite Daily didn’t post a video of a girl brushing her hair while trying to contour her face. Now, the publication might publish a post, “Contour Fails: How I Tried to Look Like Kim K,” because Millennial women have probably attempted to contour their faces and just can’t.

You can be yourself and add personality as long as you are consistently tying your content back to your readers.

There was a big controversy about brands posting photos with #prayforparis last week. Some people found it ingenuine to post them because they felt it was just to draw attention to their brands and get “likes”, rather than feeling a reverence and empathy for the attacks and the French people.

Bloggers who Balance Authenticity and Their True Self:

There are some bloggers, that do a very good job of this.

Lamise Mansur is a yogi and runs a very powerful and active Instagram account under her name. She has 46.2K followers. While focusing on yoga poses, she also adds in food photos that tie into the yogi lifestyle she curates. Mansur and I went to high school together.


Apart from growing up in school as a fellow classmate, her quotes and her photography have help me to see her a social media influencer. On Instagram, she shows personality in her yoga poses and the fact that she is a more modest yogi, compared to others who do yoga in bikinis.

While creating personality, she isn’t overly personal. She’s personal in the realm of yoga and health and growth, but she’s private in the sense that I don’t know a lot of detail about her personal life.

Continuity: Does One Brand Mean One Topic?

Ultimately, your brand doesn’t have to just talk about one thing, like yoga. You can incorporate other areas and passions of your life while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of your brand.

On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, Social Media Week had a Foodie Chat, “Not Just #FoodPorn: Social Media and The Impact on the Way We Eat,” session at 5 pm. Three Chicago food bloggers talked about their success and tips for blogging and building an audience on social media with brands they want to work with and followers they want to attract.

I asked the question about how to remain true your brand while also exploring and writing about other topics.

One blogger, Monique Volez, founder of Ambitious Kitchen, who is predominately a food blogger, is recently writing about travel. She says that she’s found ways to incorporate her love for travel while also maintaining the focus of her blog on healthy food for Millennials.

Another food blogger, Julie Gordon, founder of Inspiring Kitchen, said that when she travels, she reports on restaurants at hotels to tie back into her brand.

You have to get creative with how you present your ideas and your stories because even you, the brand, can get bored with one topic.

Does Personality Bring You More (Social) Currency?

I’ve met a few bloggers in Chicago who are working with powerful brands. After establishing your brand, it becomes easier to receive samples of products or get invited to events to produce blog content.

As you grow your brand, getting paid for your work is a much harder feat. Yet global brands, like Coca-Cola, reach out to bloggers who are influential and wealthy in social currency.

You can’t pay for your bills with macaroni samples and heartfelt notes from followers, but you can get influence that gives you social currency. Unlike monopoly money, you can cash that in. Because that’s what professional brands really want—an engaged audience.

With personality, a brand transitions from a salesman in a suit to a best friend.

It’s interesting that bigger brands are paying for audience and personality from smaller brands like bloggers, who have limited means of creating revenue beyond contracts from companies.

Convincing readers to pay for content is an ongoing challenge. With the saturation of the blogosphere and the fragile state of publications (see Details Magazine) it seems naive to even think it’s possible, which hurts to say as a writer myself.

However, there is hope. When bloggers and brands balance the line between authenticity and being themselves, they can create something where that are paid two-fold. They are paid in their impact and appreciation from the community they built, but also paid by a professional brand, who uses them as a new level of influence to increase new user acquisition.

One of those brands is Coca-Cola, which has reached out to a few Chicago bloggers to promote and generate content. One speaker as Social Media Week Chicago, Jocelyn Delk Adams, founder of Grandbaby Cakes, writes and promotes on behalf of Coca-Cola and Pillsbury to name a few.

Adams, who has 70 percent of brands reach out to her for social media and content creation services said that when she works with brands, “It has to come from me. It has to be my voice.”

She spoke about the struggles of building an audience and how important it is to be authentic to the brand she built to continue to grow her brand and keep her audience.

“When you start a blog you start with one follower, and that’s your mom. If you find someone whose reading your blog who you didn’t know, you’re like ‘yay.'”

Another popular food blogger, Kit Graham, founder of The Kittchen and co-founder of Windy City Blogger Collective, started blogging in 2011 according to an interview with The Blog Issue.

Like Adams, she also writes and creates recipes for Coca-Cola.

Both of these established bloggers have generated income on their own by creating their own cookbooks,  Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories  and The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook ,as well as working with brands.

Chicago foodie blogger and deal finder, Maddy Osman, founder of Chicago Cheap Ass, created a brand that was authentic to her personality. Much like her brand’s name, she is open and honest and tells you the deals and advice you might be too afraid to ask for. One of my favorites is, “Spend Your Birthday Collecting Free Stuff.”

When I met Osman, I felt like I was meeting someone who was savvy, and professional, but also true to the person she is. People love her and her brand for it. Osman recently started solely freelancing and is continuing to help other brands achieve that authenticity.

Platforms: The Thing About Snapchat:

While bloggers and brands create different content for various platforms, Snapchat helps to provide a behind-the-scenes feel. Brands become more personal on Snapchat, taking you in the car or airplane with them on their journey of eating, dancing, dressing, and other everyday activities.

The Chicago foodie, 312Food on Instagram, is one  brand that uses . The account is run by Erin Byrne, and she only engages with her audience on that platform and Twitter. After starting her brand this summer 2015, there are 8,143 posts under the hashtag, “312food” on Instagram.



On a platform known for food and selfies, Byrne  focuses on the local restaurants she patrons and discovers daily. You can see where she goes and who she is eating with based on her tags, but she maintains a strong, authentic brand that feels like I personally like her, yet professionally appreciate her work.

I think what Byrne is doing is what we all want to achieve in the social media world. We want to be liked, but taken seriously (and as a business, paid for being all of that through products and services).

On her Snapchat (Snap312food), you see a more personal brand. The behind-the-scenes of where she goes helps me to feel involved with her work and apart of her brand.

Adam Soko, another Chicago Foodie, has also made a name for himself, at 24 years old this month, he has 19.2K followers. He actively posts his smartphone taken photos on Instagram, and then takes you behind the scenes on his eating adventures and the friends he enjoys them with on Snapchat (adamsoko).

On Snapchat, Soko revolves his content around food. He also takes it a step further and takes selfies and videos of friends dancing in living rooms. You get the personality behind the food. This made me like his brand on a different level.

I’ve had drinks with both Byrne and Soko at blogger foodie events. They are both awesome people, with great personalities. I was impressed with 312Food before I met her, and knew it was only one person, and I learned about Soko’s online presence while at a Violet Hour private tasting.

Walking the Line of Too Much Information:

When I first started managing a company’s Twitter account in 2010, I noticed that people who I was so intimidated by as an intern at the time, were tweeting about 80’s music and bonding over plaid socks. I only met with them for an hour about every other week, and who they were online and who they were in that meeting, were vastly different. There was personality, life behind these people, they had music taste and style.

It made them human, it put them more on my level, but it also slightly changed my professional view on them. It seemed we could talk about anything online, but not when we were face to face. There was a difference.

As I develop my own brand, I am torn between what is too much information and what gives me to be enough personality to be human and relatable instead of just a generic product or an idea.

I find more and more you can like the product, but hate the person, or hate the person, and love the product, but the most social media influence derives from liking the person people think you are and the product or idea that you are selling.

Examples of Brands Who Got Personal:

Brands and bloggers, have found ways to grow communities that help them in both their professional and personal life.

I met yogi, Margo Kellison Lightburn, who is a former Nike Yoga instructor, at a park before bible study last year. I am going to pause and say that while editing this very piece, I toggled with including “bible study” into the article,  because that’s a personal detail and religion is not a main part or any part of my blog, Windy City Cosmo. I even thought about changing “bible study” to simply “meeting,” because that is more authentic to my brand. But I decided to keep it in to make a point about authenticity v. being myself. I can still be the person who goes to bible study, but I don’t have to tweet to my audience, “Church on Sunday RT,” that’s too personal and doesn’t relate to my brand.

Back to Lightburn, I have since followed her on Facebook and Instagram. I love the way she incorporates her son growing up, and even his attempts to learn yoga, into her professional brand as a yogi.

PR Communications Founder of Geben Communications in Philadelphia, PA, Heather Whaling, shares posts on her website, PRtini. I have followed Heather since about 2012, and she always has good tips on PR advice and strategic communications. Sometimes, I was a bit suprised, but touched by how personal she got in her newsletters and posts. In one post, she mentioned her pregnancy, specifically that she gave birth prematurely and had to make quick changes as a company owner, to take maternity leave early. It was a very private and personal anecdote from her life, and quite frankly it was the first time I read a story like this from someone who I came to respect professionally.

At the Foodie Talk at Social Media Week, Adams said, “They love when you get personal.”

In a way, I believe it sometimes creates a bigger bond, like it did with Whaling.

However, ask yourself, do you link your Twitter, a more social and relaxed platform, with your LinkedIn, a more professional one?

Bloggers and brands alike are aware that they can be insensitive or overshare.

Blogger and speaker at Social Media Week, Gordon spoke about how she was promoting a French festival event in downtown Chicago, but in light of the current attacks in Paris, has refrained from heavily promoting the event, for instance.

Tips to Balance Your Personal and Professional Life Online:

The key tip is to include yourself in the brand, but curate content that always relates or brings your audience back to your mission statement.

  • Remember your audience. Your content should always be created with them in mind.
  • Keep your message consistent. Create a mission statement. While you can add different categories and products to your brand, make sure they resonate with your brand’s mission statement.
  • Explore different social media platforms to create a stronger bond with consumers and followers.
  • Your goal is not to be related, but relatable. Get personal, but not too personal. Gage when an audience is ready for heavier content, and when personal details may not be appropriate.
  • Check yourself. It’s easy to forget that real people see your content and are affected by your brand if you are developing a new brand. What you do matters and people are watching what you do in the beginning, even if you don’t see the impact right away.

While a brand may be part of you—a big part of you, it’s not all of you.