There’s been something of a debate underway recently (no, not that one), surrounding social media and how much is too much when it comes to personal information. And when using social media for professional purposes this line between having a personality and sharing a little too much is a fine one to walk.
If you have a personal Facebook account which you use solely for chatting to friends and posting pictures of your dinner and/or your cat, then you pretty much have free license to post what you want (as long as it’s legal). But if your account is used even just occasionally for work purposes, how do you find the right balance?
Let’s start by saying that avoiding the personal touch altogether is, in my opinion, a huge no no. Robotic, dull tweets, repetitive updates about your company or reposts of generic news stories will win you neither followers nor business. Don’t forget, social networking by its very nature is intended for us to talk with each other, to build relationships and strike up conversations. If you’re not using social media to build relationships – business relationships with potential contacts – then you’re not doing it right. And to build relationships you need to be yourself. Nothing about a marketing spiel makes a user think “I want to get to know you”.
So share opinion on the market, yes, but let down your professional wall somewhat too. Talk about your hobbies or your family. You never know which potential contacts are also rugby enthusiasts or new parents and common interests are what start conversation.
I have lost count of the number of business meetings I’ve been able to set up – many of which have been very successful – from conversations I’ve had on social media brought about by something completely unrelated to the market.
That being said of course there are some things you probably shouldn’t share. It’s always worth keeping your company brand in mind and the professional image you want to portray.
If you’re attending the British Mortgage Awards on Thursday, for example, and feel a little delicate the next day, it’s fine to tell your followers as much. Telling them you bought a kebab on the way home, lost your shoe and fell asleep on your front door step is probably a detail too far. Keep it personable, not overly personal and you’ll be fine.