It always helps to personalize your business online, whether you’re on social media or posting to other types of sites. Study after study reveals that people who can put a face to a post are far more likely to react positively, than they will to a logo or graphic.
This doesn’t mean you have a license to post useless drivel.
“At Taco Bell with Jo Blo, Ran Domguy and Ben Dover.”
You probably see these types of posts roll across your Facebook feed every day.
Is this a form of personalization? Yes.
Is it a good form? No.
First of all, no one gives a rat’s ass that you are at Taco Bell except perhaps your wife or doctor. Most of your followers may actually think even less about you, given the quality of the food you apparently eat.
Second, no one has any idea who the people you’ve mentioned are, so why tell us about them? If it ain’t Jesus, Steve Jobs or someone else important, no one needs to know.
Third, unless you are a restaurant reviewer, what the hell does the fact you are eating food have to do with the fan page I agreed to follow in the hope of learning something valuable?
Here’s the bottom line.
• I don’t care what you are eating; no one does.
• No one cares that you are at the gas station.
• No one cares that you are with your brother at his colonoscopy appointment.
If you have ever posted this type of crap on any of your business social media accounts, push back from the desk and slap yourself upside the head.
Adding a personal touch to your business accounts can provide powerful benefits, but only if you don’t act like a dolt. There are three basic guidelines you can follow that will usually keep you out of trouble.
Make It Relevant
The first is to make sure you tie the personalization into whatever you are selling in some way. For example:
“Here’s my son and me shooting my next video teaching you how not to post about Taco Bell. He’s a natural director – a bit of a dictator! Video should be out tomorrow so keep an eye out for it.”
What have we done here? We’ve tied in a cute photo of our son that makes us look like a normal, reasonable human (whether we are or not) while also giving a heads up on a video we will be releasing. The reaction of our followers should be to see us as a person like them – while also getting ready to watch the video when it comes out. This is pretty much what we are shooting for with social media, so job well done.
Show Yourself in a Positive Light
In some situations, you can go ahead and post non-business personal content as long as it is tied into a positive achievement. If you provide services to businesses online, for example, it is fine to mention that you just completed your first marathon. Most business owners know how hard that is to accomplish as you grow older, and will probably view it as a positive measure of your character, stamina and ability to accomplish difficult tasks. Keep these types of posts to a minimum, however.
Don’t Get Yourself Into Trouble
Politics and religion are off-limits, period. Don’t post or engage with others on these topics. It doesn’t matter if you are devout, an atheist, born-again, Republican, Democrat or whatever. What you believe and stand for is not relevant to your business.
What is relevant is what your target audience believes. If they are anything like the population of the United States, they represent a wide variety of views and attitudes. If you start blathering about how George Bush and/or Barack Obama is the spawn of Satan, you will piss off 40 to 50 percent of your audience. Does upsetting half of your potential market seem like a good business plan?
Personalizing your business on social media is a smart move if you do it in the correct way. Follow these guidelines and you should be fine. The only exception we’d make is that it’s perfectly fine to post your negative feelings about liberal-conservative atheists who pray to their dog. Those people are just weird.