Over The Top On Social Media? Here’s How To Avoid Pushing Your Personal Brand Over The Edge
I’ll bet you’ve seen it in your news feeds. The opposite ends of the spectrum in the tone and content of social media posts by your friends and the business professionals with whom you’re connected.
Some gals and guys share an endless stream of rainbows and smiley faces. Their lives and careers appear without flaws. By all accounts, you’d believe they experience nothing but happy, happy, joy, joy 24/7.
And then there are folks who seem always down and out. They’re oppressed. They’ve been done wrong. They can’t ever catch a break. They constantly look to their online connections for validation that their feelings of “me against the world” are fully justified.
Both of the above are illusions. No one’s life is either all perfect or typically all bad. We all experience both the good and the really crappy.
How Going To Extremes On Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Brand
If you’re one of the people who go to either extreme on social media, chances are you’re turning off someone, somewhere, at some time.
If you appear to always be in a state of overjoy in overdrive, people might find you disingenuous.
Likewise, if you’re consistently ranting or putting on a pity party, you’ll start to drive people away.
For those using social media for personal purposes, all of this might not matter so much. But if your personal brand is directly tied to your professional persona as a solopreneur or small business owner, you’ve got more at stake.
The Social Media Balancing Act
When you’re using social media as a self-employed person, the lines between personal and professional become blurred. For example, many of my clients are also my Facebook friends. So anything I post personally becomes a reflection of me as professional as well. Sure, I could use Facebook’s list function to prevent certain posts from being seen from clients vs. other friends, but that’s cumbersome—and quite honestly (I think) sort of sneaky.
Instead, why not strive to achieve balance and use common sense to show you’re genuine, likeable, and someone people will want to stick with on social media channels? Sure, you can pretty much post whatever you want. It’s a free country, right? But as a businessperson whose personal activity on social media can either enhance or weaken your professional image, you should always think before you post.
Here are a few of the self-made rules I’ve found reasonable to follow on social media:
- Don’t demean others (including your competitors)—ever!
- Share your challenges, but don’t dwell on them.
- Share your successes, but give credit to others who have helped you achieve them.
- Don’t overshare. Posting too frequently and/or sharing too much personal detail will push followers away. According to a SlideShare on Forbes citing results from a SocialToaster survey, 39 percent of social media users would unfollow someone for crossing the line by oversharing.
- Be helpful to others—share articles, information, and advice.
- Don’t always make it about you—share other people’s content often.
- Politics and religion—use extreme discretion when posting anything related to either of these hot topics on personal social media accounts. Avoid them on business social media accounts. (Note, I don’t avoid them completely on personal social media because they’re a significant part of life. It’s unreasonable to make them completely off limits.)
- Don’t get caught up in others’ drama.
I’ve discovered having rules like these in place help ensure I provide variety in the content I post and prevent me going to extremes on social media. Have you set your own rules of engagement for your social media channels, or are you finding it tough to achieve balance? Either way, I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment and share your thoughts.
By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post
Image courtesy of Just2shutter at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Great post Dawn. Your list of rules should be printed and hung near the computers of anybody who has a personal brand that crosses over to their professional life. Having known you for many years, your personal social media presence is to be commended and anybody who wants to see these rules being followed has to look no further than your social profiles.
Hi Kris! Thanks for your kind comment! While I don’t think there’s such a thing as doing social media perfectly, I think common sense and the restraint to consider the consequences before posting help develop a presence people will stay tuned into. You do a great job at balancing “professional” and “personal” on social media. I enjoy the variety of content that you share!
Great post Dawn! My favorite is “Don’t overshare.” I get that we have to build the know, like and trust factor but there is still a such thing as TMI (too much information).
Thanks , Michele! I agree… it’s very important to recognize where to draw the line. Hope all is well with you!