Is the term ‘TMI’ becoming a thing of the past? Social networks like Facebook encourage you to post “What’s on your mind?” and unfortunately, some take that quite literally. Let’s start with an extreme example of a post from an (anonymous!) Facebook friend of mine:
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first status that included details no one wants to read, so I clicked “hide all by_____.” Call me harsh, but everyone has a friend who discloses a bit too much information and at some point, they’ve hidden said friend. Not because you don’t like them as a person or enjoy knowing what’s new with their life, but because most of us don’t care to know if someone’s lunch upset their stomach or read real-time updates of your wife’s labor. So why do people do it? According to Harvard, it simply feels good. In fact, our brains respond to self-disclosure the way they respond to pleasure triggers like food, money or sex.
While I’m not going to confront my friends on their oversharing (just passive aggressively hide them) I can tell my clients. With more and more businesses settling into the social media landscape, another kind of oversharing emerges: the update for the sake of updating. Here’s a snapshot into the mindset: “We haven’t posted on Facebook or Twitter today yet….let’s get something up there.” Random updates can make your business appear as though you are updating just to look active. Random updates can also lead to your fan base clicking “hide” and ignoring your business for good.
So what should you share? How often should you update? In my opinion, there should never be a quantity rule. Ensuring your business sends out seven tweets per day often means the focus has been shifted from quality to quantity. The whole point of a social media presence is to connect with your customers. So don’t veer them away with unnecessary content. The important thing is to make sure you are sharing meaningful content (thoughts, articles with a POV, ideas, etc.) that you know your audience will be interested in reading. Set the bar high, and if that means you don’t post for three days and then share two articles in one day, so be it. Your audience will appreciate you for it and know that following your page is worth their time.
We all know how valuable and scarce time can be. If you do have time throughout the day to sift through your Facebook or Twitter feed you want to read content that’s not only interesting but also insightful. Don’t waste your followers’ time by posting irrelevant (or TMI!) information. Here are some examples of my favorite brands that nail social media due to their content, responsiveness and overall strategy:
Essie Nail Polish: http://www.facebook.com/Essie
Jimmy Johns: https://twitter.com/#!/jimmyjohns
Also, this Infographic has some great insights into the best times of the day to Tweet or Facebook.
-- Laura Cumbow is an account executive at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.