The Problem With Oversharing On Social Media

We have seen lots of reports in the news in recent times of people getting caught out ‘oversharing’ through forums such as Twitter and Facebook. Bragging, criticising, arguing or attacking are usually at the heart of these regretful moments, many of which have led to real life consequences, such as losing a job, being left by a partner, or being shunned by friends.

The oversharing phenomenon has also made its way into the business world too, thanks to the huge swell in digital marketing, with the informality of social networks sometimes causing a breakdown in professionalism on social media sites and blogs. For those businesses that are looking to use social networks as part of a cost effective and high impact digital marketing strategy, it’s crucial to get the balance of social media management right between engaging followers and users and oversharing. So how do you do it?

Be polite – this is pretty fundamental in life generally, but if you want to use social media networks to create a positive image for your business then your ‘voice’ needs to be good mannered. Even though some customers and consumers use these channels to attack businesses for bad service or faulty products, it’s never a good idea to respond overly emotionally. DON’T SHOUT at your fans, followers and interested parties, don’t swear, and don’t insult them. Remember it’s all public and it’s all permanent.

Stick to the facts – if you want to avoid oversharing the easiest way to do this is to keep what you share factual but engaging. Sure, include some opinion, perhaps some humour, but make sure the focus of your social media for business is mostly details of offers, news that affects your sector, new products or services or updates in your business, rather just than your own personal opinions.

Get the balance right – social media for business should be 70% helpful information relating to your products, services and target customer; 20% promotional; and 10% ‘entertainment’ i.e. competitions, fun facts, games etc. Nowhere in there do you need to include ‘arguing publicly’ or ‘criticising competitors.’

Beware of ‘Facebook fatigue’ – recent news reports have indicated that large numbers of teenagers are switching from Facebook to less involved social media forums such as Twitter because of concerns of parental snooping and oversharing. For businesses trying to use Facebook marketing to reach this audience that means a significant shift in focus. Do your research and follow the trends relating to your target consumers to make sure that what you’re sharing is where they can see it. Alternatively, get creative in the way that you use Facebook to make sure that you give followers a reason to keep following.

We all have weak moments when oversharing threatens, but the consequences in a business environment are just not worth the risk. Remaining professional, factual and aware of what your consumers want is still the holy trinity of successful social media management for business.

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