Should You Share That?
We all know “that guy,” the one who tweets about what he ate for breakfast or updates Facebook with which tie he wore to work. It seems we now live in an era of where everything is game for sharing. This creates an interesting paradox, not only for individuals, but also for businesses. While we want to share our lives with others, it’s also important to remember some critical boundaries.
Moving beyond Useful Information
Social media offers us unprecedented access to personalized news feeds and up-to-the-minute information. We’re now using multiple platforms to create customized streams of information. Back in March, CNN reported that more Americans got their news from the internet than from television or radio, and 92% of survey respondents said they got their news from more than one platform.
This trend means that sharing useful news has become a popular approach for enterprise social media use. Companies that wish to differentiate themselves as subject-area experts often use Twitter and Facebook to deliver industry updates, relevant news, and other tidbits of generally “useful information.” This tactic makes sense, because it shows that your company remains on the cutting edge of the industry.
But if your business is just pushing out links all the time, what are you missing? First, you’re missing the opportunity to engage your followers in a dialogue. Simply sharing links all the time isn’t the best way to invite conversation—even highly news-focused entities like NPR and the New York Times shake things up a bit by asking questions or soliciting feedback.
Meanwhile you’re also missing the chance to humanize your brand. Sharing all those links essentially means you’re sharing a whole lot of objective third-party information. And forget the fact that people may start to feel like you’re spamming them; they also miss out on really getting to know your company. The key to social media is that every company is made up of people who have stories to share.
New Strategies for Sharing
Consider your audience and think about what your followers are really looking for. Take a look at your social media stats and see what people already respond to. If photos always get great feedback, find a way to include more—or take it a step further with a video. These ideas could get you started:
- Start a campaign that seems counterintuitive. Inova Health System’s successful “Fit for 50” campaign appears to go against the grain; it encourages healthy lifestyle choices, which ultimately means that fewer people might need Inova’s services. But the campaign has helped the company build trust—and interaction—among followers, which is key for any company in the healthcare industry.
- Lose the suit for a day. Even the most buttoned-up corporate offices have a lighter side. Maybe the company does a Habitat for Humanity house each year, or there’s an office-wide Halloween costume contest. Give people insight into what really makes your corporate culture unique. Photos and videos are often the best way to capture these elements.
- Spend more time listening. Make it a point to ask questions that are thought provoking and meaningful. Some of these might include asking for feedback on new products or promotions, while others might be more personal, like “What’s your favorite holiday tradition?” As always, you’ll want to spark conversation that could provide insight into your customers—or enrich your online community. Don’t lose sight of possibilities for that!
- Forge new connections. Social media is all about creating a robust network of connections. It’s easy to focus on the B2C here, because we want individual people to follow us. But what about reaching out to other businesses that may offer complementary services or local charities your company has supported? Connecting to them via social media opens up new options for cross-pollination of your fan bases. The best way to forge these relationships is by being gracious—give credit for good ideas, promote one another’s events, whatever makes sense for both of you.
So before you push out that link, ask yourself, “Should I share that?” Consider that alternative posts could help you build a more dynamic and engaging online community.