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Do You Overshare Online?

 

woman cell phoneWhen it comes to the Internet, oversharing may seem amusing—but in the corporate world, it can be downright dangerous. From information leaks to privacy breeches, constantly posting updates online opens up opportunities for risk and annoyance. How can you tell if you’re sharing too much online?

Here are a few ways brands share too much on social networks. Take a look at these descriptions and see if any of these online behaviors describe you!

Posting Irrelevant Content

Posting frequent updates on social media is good, but posting irrelevant updates is not. Fans may get annoyed and end up hiding, unfollowing, or ignoring your feed—in fact, according to one survey, as many as two in five fans will turn away. Likewise, unless your company is focused on a controversial topic like politics or religion, stay away from strong hot-button posts that may alienate followers.

Posting Highly Personal Information

Personal stories have a place in your business marketing—they humanize your brand. But personal stories about your company are different from personal stories about your cat and your lunch. They’re also different from posting what your co-worker said at the water cooler. Unless a personal status update relates to your brand and its messaging in some way, don’t post it. Doing so only confuses your followers and muddies your message.

Always Posting, Never Asking

Social media is about more than broadcasting your own message. You also need to ask questions to engage your followers. So instead of posting yet another sales pitch about your products, why not seek out input from your fan base or ask them to share insights on what they like about your products?

Posting Information Too Soon

When you have a new product set to launch, you might be eager to share it—but doing so prematurely can injure your brand. Look at the example of Hewlett-Packard Company Vice President Scott McClellan, who accidentally tipped off his competitors through a LinkedIn status update. Remember that when you post something online, you post it to the world. Share only what you’re ready for the world to read.

Posting Information Too Often

Even relevant information becomes annoying when it doesn’t stop. Rather than overwhelming your followers with constant postings, prioritize what you want to share. Stick to the most helpful, interesting information, using tools like Facebook Insights to show you which types of content users respond to best.

Regularly Changing Voice

If your company is like most, more than one person posts on your brand’s Facebook page. This is smart because the workload is lighter for each team member. The problem? If team members don’t have a clear sense of your company’s style and voice, they could end up posting in very different ways and confusing followers. That’s why clearly communicating to everyone who posts for you online exactly what the brand message is and what tone works best is so important for a consistent company message.

Whether you’re a dental office or a marketing studio, you need to pay attention to the way you post online. While the Internet is a powerful tool for social sharing, it’s also an easy space to share too much. Be alert to these dangers and strategize carefully about what you post.

Your Thoughts

Looking at the list above, does it seem that you have been oversharing online? In what ways? Could you be losing followers as a result? And what about other brands—have you noticed other companies overposting and frustrating you as a follower? Why? What will you do differently after reading this post?

Article written by
Shanna Mallon is a writer for www.straightnorth.com, headquartered in Chicago providing specialized web development, PPC and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.
7 comments
aceSpec
aceSpec like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great post. I'm beginning to use my Twitter & Facebook accounts for building my brand. These are great tips. The key definitely is to post/share useful & relevant information, and in a way that doesn't scare your followers.

 

Thanks for sharing.

PointA_PointB
PointA_PointB

 @aceSpec We strive to provide our community the best stuff! Glad you found it useful. ~ Catherine, community manager for Business Unplugged

BradShorr
BradShorr like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Great post, Shanna. These problems can be extremely damaging to a firm, without doubt. Too many firms see social media as some sort of toy, when in fact it is a very powerful tool that must be respected. You could argue that companies should train employees in social media engagement just as rigorously as they would train them in safety.

aceSpec
aceSpec

 @BradShorr I 100% agree on trainings for social media engagement. 

PointA_PointB
PointA_PointB like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @BradShorr Great idea, Brad! I agree that there should at least be some basic training around social media etiquette in corporate. I have remarked more than once that common courtesy is, in fact, uncommon. That goes double for common sense. 

BradShorr
BradShorr like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @PointA_PointB Hi Catherine, I could be wrong, but my sense is that smaller businesses have actually regressed on the SM training front since the mid-00s. When SM was new, untested and untried, business owners were very cautious and wanted to be coached on the right and wrong ways to use it. Now, owners have formed their own opinions about what SM is (and these opinions are often caricatures of the reality), and are apt to dive right in. 

PointA_PointB
PointA_PointB like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @BradShorr I think you are spot on, Brad. Everybody seems to think they can just jump in without much knowledge. I see worst practices every day. I am sure that you do as well. 

 
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