Social media oversharing

Posted on 06 Jan 2017
Reader Question:

Dear Doctor Digital, apparently I’ve been guilty of social media oversharing – but isn’t it meant to be personal? Please Help!

Doctor Digital Says:

Oh dear. Social media is like flypaper when it comes to feeling compelled to let it all out. But like flypaper, that overshare sticks. Telling it like it is *might* be ok on your personal account, but when it comes to your business brand, there’s a fine, but deeply etched, line around when the personal should make an appearance. One of the key determinants on what personal information flows through your business account has to come down to what relevance does it have to your product.

There are some clear reasons why your business brand could be personal – if you are the brand, if your product comes from a personal experience, like a gluten free product after suffering with extreme allergies, or ergonomic baby carriers when you have had issues with awkward harnesses. Your personal experience gives you authenticity and connects you to your client base.

There is a vast difference between linking a personal experience with your product or service, and sharing intimate details or divisive and potentially polarising opinion on your social media channels. What to do? Here are some rules to keep you on the right side of the line, and keep your customers sharing your posts, not your personal life.

Stick to the plan. Your social media strategy should map out for you exactly the type of post you do, the frequency, the target market and the purpose of the post. If you follow the road map you have set out for yourself, your random overshare will be tempered by the gentle guidance of your strategy and remind you of your targets and what your brand uses social media for.

Less is more. The primary purpose of a social media presence is to connect with clients and customers. Don’t waste their time by posting irrelevant information. In fact, too many random or unnecessary updates can lead to a fan hiding, ignoring or deleting your feed. The important thing is to share meaningful content that you know your audience will be interested in reading.

Turn off the hot button. Posting personal stories on a business page can humanize a brand. However, those anecdotes should be related to the topic at hand, the brand, and the product or related brands and products that are harmonious with your brand values. If you run a vegan food company, a post about animal rights might be appropriate. If you run a car hire business for instance, pushing your personal meat is murder agenda may end up polarizing your audience. 

Not every picture is worth 1,000 words. Whilst research shows that images go a long way, often generating more likes and Tweets than simple text, follow the same rules as you would for text about the content. Gratuitous photos of your baby or pet? Not for your business page. Gratuitous photos of your baby or pet using your product – every now and again might just spike your likes and shares. 

When it comes to your company’s social media channels, remember that interactive engagement is the goal. Think before you post and share, and find ways to consistently mix up the content to keep your audience’s interest.