The Business Hazards of Online Oversharing
When it comes to social media, everybody has one of those friends or followers – you know, the one whose Facebook timeline or Twitter feed features a running account of their day, ranging from work-related minutia to relationship issues and everything in between. While that type of commentary might trigger laughter or irritation from others, the fact is, people have become increasingly open online – posting information about their lives through status updates, location check-ins and hashtags. And it appears that tendency to “overshare” is creeping into the corporate world.
Last year, for example, Hewlett-Packard’s then Vice President, Scott McClellan, inadvertently tipped off competitors when he mentioned undisclosed details about the company’s cloud-computing services on his LinkedIn profile. He’s not alone. A recent infographic from Barracuda Labs shows that 73 percent of those surveyed think employees share too much online. In addition, one in five said they had been negatively impacted by information exposed on social media channels.
With more companies utilizing social media channels to promote a business or product, it’s important to remember that “online oversharing” can take a toll, so individuals and businesses should carefully consider the image they are portraying. Here are a few tips to prevent oversharing:
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.
Don’t get too personal. Posting personal stories on a business page can be a good thing, even helping to humanize a brand. However, those anecdotes should be related to the topic at hand. Unless your company is dedicated to politics or religion, avoid discussing those types of hot-button issues on the official business page.
Be cautious, not boring. Find ways to punch up your online content, such as posting quizzes and online polls. Instead of consistently giving a sales pitch, seek out input from your fan base, asking them to share insight on what they like most about your company or product. Use that feedback to create an infographic or Facebook note.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. Research shows that images go a long way, often generating more likes and Tweets than simple text. Utilize attention-grabbing photos and videos to show off your products and company.
Reward loyalty. Find ways to reward loyal or influential customers. Provide incentives – such as discounts on products – to encourage fans to share your news.
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.
Kate Grusich is a senior account executive at Cookerly Public Relations. A former journalist, Kate has more than a decade of experience in the communications industry. Her current responsibilities include providing media relations, community outreach and writing support to a mix of government, corporate and consumer clients.
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