You know what’s the biggest mistake I commonly see in social media marketing?
This—confusing your professional social media brand with your personal social media profile.
In this article, you will learn the value of being more intentional in your social media marketing efforts, and why you need to reign in your enthusiasm to overshare your life on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or TikTok.
But first, let me ask you this:
Are You a Lifestyle Influencer?
Time and time again, I see people milking social media algorithms to get the most number of likes, comments and shares on their social media posts.
This happens on all the social channels—Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter—and occurs when you see people doing any of the following:
- Downloading and re-uploading the latest viral video on their posts—often without crediting the source!
- Riding on the latest trending sounds, filters and dances on TikTok ad nauseum
- Sharing 10 times a day on anything that crosses their mind—or their newsfeeds
- Asking all kinds of questions to their audiences, because social media users like to answer them.
- Going ‘Live’ on Facebook or Instagram while fumbling—just because, you know, live video streams gets bumped up on the notifications
- Becoming social media poets or philosophers, because #Lifeislikeaboxofchocolates
- Preening and posing to get the perfect selfie for Instagram—#duckface, #ootd, #bathroommirror, #furbaby, #fishgape and numerous others!
These folks turn every waking moment of their lives into an object lesson. I mean, there is something to learn in every encounter isn’t there?
If you’re gunning to be the next great lifestyle influencer, it makes sense to over-share the minutiae of your life.
Nobody ever gets tired of seeing Instagram influencers sharing 30 IG stories a day documenting their make-up routine. Or their fitness workout. Or their cute baby girl.
But how do these posts establish your credibility as a neurosurgeon? Or an industrial engineer? How does being a fabulous flower arranger help you to promote ERP software?
Which brings us to an all important point.
Why Being Intentional Matters
It is easy to get carried away on social media. After all, the social platforms are specifically designed to activate our irresistible urge to keep checking them.
(Read how digital technology is designed to make users addicted to them.)
This quality makes Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and other social networks a double-edged sword for digital marketers.
On one hand, we’d like to receive a positive response from those who enjoyed our content. This is demonstrated by the reactions (or likes), comments, shares and clicks on our posts.
The more views we get, the happier we get. Hence, we post the latest trending topic out there. Or videos of a hilarious—or horrifying—incident guaranteed to go viral.
On the other hand, however, we need to consider if what we’re posting, commenting on, or sharing will add value to our professional brand.
Will the friends and fans who interact with our posts hire us, buy our products and services, or engage our firm?
Chances are that these ‘active users’ of social media may not be the same ones who will be our customers.
(That is unless you are a comedian or entertainer, seeking to offer your laugh-a-minute services. Or you’re a lifestyle influencer.)
Which brings us to this vital point.
Start with Your Customer — What Do They Care For?
Who exactly are the profitable customers whom you’re trying to reach?
That should be the first and foremost thing you need to consider. And yes, they can be either consumers or business professionals.
When thinking about your potential customers, consider the following:
- What are their specific concerns and challenges in relation to your product or service category?
- How do you position yourself to be helpful and useful—a salve to their personal or professional ills?
- How do your posts evoke empathy for what they’re going through?
- What are the types of content that will ignite their interest? What are their hot topics specific to what you offer?
- What’s a day-in-the-life of your prospect like? Can you replicate that in your posts?
Now does this mean that everything which you post should be targeted at your customer persona? Not at all.
However, it does mean that you should be conscious about what they’d think when they see your posts.
And that leads us to the next important point.
What Do You Stand For — AKA Your Online Persona
Sharing bits of your personal life online isn’t a bad thing—even on your professional social media profiles.
It makes you more personal and authentic. It reduces the physical and psychological distance between you and your audience. It builds trust and makes you more likable.
However, you need to think about the brand that you’re projecting online with whatever that you share. This is also known as your personal branding strategy.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How do the content that you share add to your profession?
- How do you demonstrate your expertise in your field? What evidence is shown in your posts?
- What about your social media profiles? Do they reflect your profession, organisation and areas of expertise?
- What do your posts/stories/reels/tiktoks say (or not say) about you?
- What about the frequency of your posts? Are you oversharing or under-sharing?
- Who are the people consistently interacting with your posts? Are they the right target audiences? If not, how should you tweak your content?
- Are you inadvertently sending a negative message with your post?
In short, don’t just share whatever comes to mind. Be more mindful of what you’re posting, how you comment on other people’s posts, and how your online behaviours reflect your professional brand.
Can You Still Mix Business with Pleasure?
Yes you can! You can mix business with pleasure on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or other social media channels.
Showing your humanity does help to build your online brand. However, it shouldn’t be like every single post or story or reel.
Merely hopping on the latest viral bandwagon alone isn’t helpful. Or posting photos and videos just because you wish to memorialize the moment.
Be careful too about exposing every skeleton in your closet in the name of “transparency” and “authenticity”.
Instead, do this:
- Seek to use your social media platforms to give value to others, rather than to be self-indulgent
- Strive to provide insights, tips, thoughts, and techniques that can help others to be better at what they do
- Share content that educates, enriches, enlightens, and encourages, rather than merely entertain (or titillate)
Do you agree? What are your thoughts on being more mindful in your social media posts?
Share them in the comments below!