Social Media: how personal is too personal for your business?
August 20th, 2014

Social Media: How Personal Is Too Personal For Your Business?

by Regina DiPerna

Social media makes it easy to grow your brand, enabling you to market your products and services with more ease than ever before. But it also gives you an opportunity to sell people on your company’s personality and values. Brand trust is the ideal outcome of a strong social media presence, and yet for some companies, the line of good taste can be difficult to find. We’ll give you some pointers about what’s too personal, what isn’t personal enough, and what’s just right.

We’ve all seen brands that aren’t personal enough on social media. You know the type: they post strictly about their products and services and, well, that’s about it. Their accounts all appear automated—repetitive links to their own content or website without any interesting lead-ins, no photos, no videos, and, consequently, no engagement. Their tone is generally dry, overly buttoned-up, and they don’t update regularly; their social media accounts are basically ghost ships.

You’ve probably also seen brands that are too personal on social media (and if you haven’t, you might be that brand). But where’s the line between engaging and off-putting? Right here: avoid social media posts that are too frequent, irrelevant to your business, or in some way unprofessional. Let me explain.

Work culture has really changed in the last decade or so. With Millennials now in their 20s and 30s, we are now in the era of jeans at the office, visible tattoos, and business meetings as potential Instagram opportunities. It’s great! Many successful social media campaigns include some type of personal aspect: maybe a behind-the-scenes photo of a dog in the office, maybe the team tweeting quotes about a seminar, or an Instagram photo of the craft beer in the office fridge. This is a win-win for everyone: these types of posts typically have a high engagement rate, and it’s a fun way for employees to build organic brand trust in the company. The key is to strike a balance. Think “equal parts fun and professional.” Think “represents that we are real people, but also that we are trustworthy and work hard.”

What you want to avoid is annoying your followers (read: potential customers!) by posting too often and/or posting about things that aren’t even tangentially related to your brand. A post can be unprofessional for a million different reasons. How personal is too personal depends on your business, and for that I have no other advice but to use your personal discretion. For example, if you work at a super cool digital marketing agency, posting photos of your employees’ dogs on Facebook is great. If you work at a doctor’s office, not so much.

Some last minute things to remember:

  • Users have no reason to engage with your brand on social media until you give them one.
  • Tailor your content (and tone) depending on which social platform you’re using. Your audience and objective will likely be different on Twitter than LinkedIn, for example.
  • Harness the power of user-generated content by reposting user photos, content, Tweets, and more. It’s a great way to humanize your brand on social media, increase engagement, and show the world that users are excited about your product or service.
  • Keep in mind that your personal social media accounts reflect on you as a business owner or employee. Avoid complaining about your place of employment or clients! In fact, avoid making public anything you wouldn’t want potential customers to see—it can cost you. Consumers check social media when researching a company’s products and services, sometimes even before they check a website. They may also check the personal social media accounts of employees—and while you may think this is stalking, they consider it good research. If they see something questionable, they will immediately hit the back button, literally and metaphorically.

The best thing about letting Sage Island handle your social media strategy? We know what works—we analyze your brand and target audience, and we come up with creative solutions that get results. Because we’re a full-service digital marketing agency, we can develop a social media strategy and execute it for you so you can get back to doing what’s most important: running your business. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your brand.