If you’re like millions of others in the business world, you’re heavily invested in social media as a way to create your personal brand.
And, indeed, some of the bright stars of the social world have a very clear purpose—promoting a service, building readership for a publication, or courting customers for a business. If well executed, their strategies offer value to followers while engaging them in a new idea or product.
In other words, there’s a point to their posting.
But then there are those who over-share—whose feeds run through a blurry mix of personal adventures and daily to-dos that neither offer valuable content nor serve their brand at all. Who needs to see you go shopping or grab cash at the ATM?
Although it’s nice for us to follow each other on social media—and share important events in our daily lives—over-sharing can damage one’s personal brand.
Why over-sharing is a problem
The over-sharing trend is pervasive, and it’s easy to hop on board. After all, isn’t creating a personal brand all about sharing who we are in our daily lives? Isn’t that what everyone is doing?
No. This line-blurring between personal and professional is damaging at best and dangerous at worst. If you step too far in the personal realm, it could destroy your image in the eyes of the public.
Prospective clients and customers want to know you have personality, but they also want to trust that you know what you’re doing and that your expertise is solid. It’s important to create boundaries and know WHY you are posting on social media.
So, let’s take a look at this checklist to see if your posts are actually of value.
Defining your brand and audience
Before you schedule a post—or just post on a whim—make sure you know both your personal brand AND your audience. These should always serve as a starting point for your posting strategy.
- What is my personal brand?
- What do I sell or what products am I offering?
- What kind of authority or expertise am I claiming?
- How is the use of social media part of my brand?
- Why do people (customers/clients) trust me?
- What is my audience?
- How old are they?
- What kinds of social media do they use?
- How often do they use social media and for what purpose (personal/professional)?
- What kind of value are they looking for (offers, content, networking leads, etc.) and how can I offer that?
- What are they specifically NOT looking for?
The social media over-sharing checklist
Now it’s time to get posting. But review the following checklist before going crazy with snapping and Tweeting. Eventually, these considerations will become second-nature.[ ] How is my post of value to my audience? If I were a follower, would I be able to clearly see a takeaway that is beneficial to me?
[ ] Is my post a good fit for my target audience? Am I using the right platform for the right kind of content (Instagram for photos, FB for article sharing, etc.)
[ ] Does my post reveal personality and energy without revealing too much information that doesn’t serve my audience or my business goals?
[ ] Does my post support the authority or expertise I claim, or does it undercut it? Am I contradicting my brand vision and mission?
[ ] Am I posting because I am bored or simply want likes/shares for affirmation?
[ ] Am I posting as an emotional reaction to something? Will that post damage my personal brand or hurt someone else?
[ ] Am I sharing a personal moment that is a) not connected to my brand or product and b) is aimed primarily at family, friends, and those who know me?
Yep, I’m over-sharing. What can I do?
- Create two accounts for yourself. One will be for personal posts and the other will be for professional posts. Whenever you question whether or not a post might serve you professionally, either don’t post it or post in only on your personal channels.
- Keep your personal accounts private. In order to ensure that the lines aren’t blurred between personal and professional posting, make sure that the public can’t follow you on both. In others words, allow users to follow your personal accounts by invitation only.
- Take the time to define your personal brand vision, mission, and goals clearly. It will be easier to determine a post’s value for yourself and your business if you know what you’re aiming for and what you stand for.
- Don’t hesitate to delete a post that seems like an over-share in professional circles. The good thing about digital sharing platforms is that new content is created constantly, so if you trip on an overly-personal or valueless post, it’s easy enough to recognize it, delete it, and move on.
- Listen to followers. Even if your posts are valuable, are you posting too frequently? Read and respond regularly to comments on this, and solicit feedback. Also, keep an eye on all accounts to see if there’s a correlation between an increase in posting frequency and a downturn in following/likes.
- Don’t make your personal brand posts devoid of personality, just make sure personality doesn’t overtake your message. You want to include some personality so your audience is more comfortable with you. But ask yourself if the personality you’re sharing is a) of value to yourself, your business, and others; b) serves only to humanize you and your business; c) does not reveal private information; and d) is accurately reflective of how customers will experience a relationship with you in a business context. If you’re not going to share something in person, don’t share it on a professional social channel.
Bottom line: Over-sharing can be damaging to your brand and, even worse, dangerously revealing. Social media was designed to connect us so that we can live our lives more fully and build our professional networks for visibility and business growth—not so we could get quick affirmation or views based solely on sensational posts.
So ask yourself before you post next time: Are you using social media for value or for superficial personal gain? Are you being authentic? And are you engaging others to lift them or tear them down?
Honest answers will tell you everything you need to know about your sharing habits—and which ones you need to cut out.
If you’re looking for serious, positive social content—including invaluable business advice, live coaching, money tips, and daily inspiration—then follow ETR Owner Craig Ballantyne on Instagram!
Craig posts daily stories with purpose, giving you valuable content to grow your lives, your relationships, and your businesses. Follow him today @realcraigballantyne!