If you’ve been using social media to connect with your audience and consumers for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of social media advice like:
- Be yourself and show your personality
- Get personal. Don’t make it all about business
- Be authentic and honest
- Don’t be afraid to make people mad
- Be real, share your struggles too
But what happens when that advice is taken the wrong way. What happens when you take it too far? What is too far? It takes a lot of time and effort to build a brand that is remembered, respected, and referred … but it only takes one bad post to undo all of that hard work and kill your brand in the eyes of consumers.
Now it just may be a few at first who unfollow, unsubscribe, or unfriend you. But then you repeat the mistake and a few more walk away, and a few more, and a few more … until you’ve damaged your brand and you need to move into repair mode. Not sure what you need to watch out for … or where to draw the line?
Here are 5 things you should think twice about before you share them with your social networks:
1. Mean/Snarky Sarcasm.
If you’ve got a snarky or sarcastic personality, remember that voice inflections and body language can’t be communicated through written social media posts. Snarky, sarcastic comments often just come off as mean. And let’s be honest. Those mean and snarky people may be fun to watch for a while (like a train wreck you can’t look away from), most people don’t want to do business with meanies.
2. Too Much Information (TMI).
Yes, you do need to get personal and let people get to know YOU, the person behind the brand/business. But there is such a thing as TMI.
We don’t need to know when you’re drunk, or that even though you have a big morning meeting you’re going to have another giant beer. We don’t need a play-by-play of your quest to take a girl home from the bar or 35 posts (in one day) about how your kid is so cute and being a mommy is the best thing in the world. We also probably don’t need to know about your sex life, bowel movements, and grocery list — or that you’re tweeting from the toilet.
3. Too Much Honesty.
Truthfulness and integrity are critical in relationship building, but you can be too honest. Remember that saying, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? It applies here.
If you disagree with a post someone else made or have a different opinion, yes, jump in the conversation and share your perspective. But be nice about it. All too often, I see conversations happening and someone jumps in with a post like: “That’s stupid…” or “You’re wrong…” or “@Name says this. I think they’re wrong. What do you think?”
Would you respond like that in person? Probably not. No one wants a bully in the conversation, so be careful or you may get blocked.
Okay. You may have a potty mouth. But I believe speaking it, when it just rolls off your tongue without you thinking about it, is different than writing it. People tend to shrug off a slip here and there, but they take it way more seriously in written form. When you include profanity in your posts (especially the big ones), we all know you thought about it and chosen to include it. Was it for shock value? No one knows … but I guarantee it will run people the wrong way.
Some may make the argument that those people just aren’t your ideal clients … But if you take the approach, “Screw it. I can do and say what I want when I want with no care about anyone else,” I think you may find that your pool of potential clients will get smaller and smaller.
It makes you look “less than.” It makes you look unprofessional. And frankly, people don’t want to business with others who seem not to care much about their audience.
5. Current Struggles.
I agree that asking for help and sharing your challenges helps make you relatable. But there are different types of challenges, and you need to watch what you share, especially if you’re using social media for business and to connect with clients and potential new clients.
Social media is awesome for sharing small challenges asking for help. For things like, figuring out how to get a plug-in/piece of code to work, looking for a specific tool or resource, getting a recommendation for something, etc.
Social media is not the place to share that you are struggling to get clients, not making enough money, can’t pay the bills, need more clients, aren’t filling a program, product isn’t selling, you don’t know what to do in your business … Sharing these types of challenges does not inspire others to have confidence in you or trust you. If you really want to share those types of problems, wait until you’ve solved the problem or overcome the challenge and then share your journey so others can learn from you.
What ABout You?
I’m sure that if you spend a lot of time on social media sites like Brian and I do, you’ve seen even more bad examples of what you shouldn’t post … and we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
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