Friday, August 17, 2012

Three Ways to Make Sure Your Business Doesn’t Share Too Much

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

If you haven’t spent a lunch hour clicking through the eight pages of pictures that comprise Rich Kids of Instagram  on Tumblr, you’re missing out on something magical. It’s as if they condensed Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous into a picture for the millennial generation (Rolex watches, private jets, and #hashtags galore) and then slapped it onto Tumblr for all of us poor plebes to enjoy. But the meteoric rise of this new offering to the social media world has some analysts wondering if people are sharing too much. Social sites naturally appeal to our desire to show off our lives and the interesting things going on within them. But this habit has a tendency to annoy other people if you do it on a consistent, near-bragging point basis, and when a business is too willing to share updates and articles, followers begin to trickle off. So before you hit the “post” button for your next status update, keep these three things in mind.
1. Try not to get too personal
A good social media campaign can help humanize your business and foster trust between you and your customers. But there are some owners and social media managers who take it too far, and begin to use business feeds to update people about their lives, or the lives of their employees. Maybe that story your receptionist Kelsey told about her Cousin James and Aunt Heather fighting over the last turkey leg did have the entire office in stitches – you still don’t want to share it on the company Facebook page. Never say or post anything on social media outlets for your business that you wouldn’t say to a customer walking through your door. You want to show that the human element is alive and well in your business, but you also want to keep things professional.
2. Keep the frequency of your updates at an appropriate level
Even if you make sure everything stays above board and professional, you can still update too much. I remember seeing a twitter feed that would be updated anytime someone in the office made a successful sale. That meant it was going off every ten or fifteen minutes with essentially the same message over and over again. Yeah, it helps show that you have real people in the office but why would anyone want to have their feeds clogged by something like that? Appropriateness extends beyond professionalism. Space out your posts to every couple of hours or so and see if you like how that makes things look. If you feel like your missing out on some important links, up your frequency a little bit. Just remember that, even if you’re interested in what is being posting, your followers might not be. Try to cater to their needs first and engage them as much as possible.
3. Post things that you would actually enjoy reading
Like this article! (Hint hint, wink wink).
In all seriousness, I cannot begin to tell you how many updates I sift through that link to articles or reports that no one in their right minds would want to read. Some people just get really excited over the topic being covered and then rush to post it on Twitter or Facebook without actually reading it first - I’ve even been guilty of that a couple of times. But if I do read the article and it winds up being terrible, I feel a little guilty routing traffic to something I didn’t even like. Your feeds should be semi-organic and have a nice mix of content, so don’t run every single update through a five person committee. But remember that unfollowing someone is just as easy as following them, and if you’re putting up article after article after article, and only a few of them are any good, you’re going to lose a lot of people.
Social media helps create a conversation with people who otherwise may have never taken the time to find or research your business. But it’s also a fairly new medium, and people are still working on finding the best ways to use it. Now we’ve gotten pretty good at it, but the business world still needs to sometimes step back and make sure they aren’t sharing a little too much.


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