It’s not every day you see a CEO dancing on TikTok. But being vulnerable and transparent is one of the reasons Ali Bonar has seen incredible growth and success with her company, Oat Haus. Consumers are moving more towards sharing real experiences and less about hiding behind the perfect filter. Customers crave connection and want to build relationships with transparent leaders—even if that means showing off their dance moves.
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Ali started sharing her journey online long before she ever considered being an entrepreneur. As she recovered from an eating disorder, she shared the ups and downs of her physical and mental health and began to grow a following.
Ali’s journey led her to create granola butter, and Oat Haus was born. But in her new role as a founder and CEO, it was only natural for Ali to continue sharing a behind-the-scenes view of the business. As Oat Haus grows, Ali shares authentic updates along the way, including everything from dancing in her living room to an inside look at creating new products.
Ali strongly believes that sharing helps customers feel like part of the journey. It’s refreshing to see a business that isn’t hiding behind a façade or trying to come across like it has everything together. Ali’s goal is to take customers along for the ride and make them feel so involved that no matter when they see her content, they feel like they’ve been there from day one.
But sharing online doesn’t come easily to everyone. Ali recommends starting where you’re comfortable, even if that means photos without video to start. A good starting point is simply filming what you do throughout the day. Take people through your life as a business leader and show what life is like behind the curtains.
As your comfort level grows, Ali recommends planning content for the entire week to hit different topics, including informational videos about your company, stories about what it’s like to be a leader and fun content. A variety of content builds strong connections and resonates with a variety of customers.
Even planning and great content don’t lead to overnight social media success. It takes time to grow a following, and a lot of how a post or video performs is based on the Instagram or TikTok algorithms. Even then, it’s hard to see the ROI of social and a direct connection between storytelling and sales. But it’s all about building the brand, showcasing the human side to the business and establishing your company and yourself as a leader who cares about people and wants to share.
The moments you’re the most scared of sharing are often the most worthwhile things to share that resonate with your people. In the end, Ali says not to overthink it. Just be yourself and feel comfortable bringing your whole self to work and your community. You’ll naturally develop strong customer relationships as you share your authentic self and brand.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.