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How Much Is Too Much? Sharing Personal Information as a Brand Persona

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Back in the old days, news like graduations, engagements, births and new jobs were shared in local newspapers and trade journals. Social media has pretty much taken over these platforms for both personal and business use. But with how much is shared online, you may not know what is appropriate to share if you are your company’s public face. You may be worried about offending or boring people or even of exposing too much of your personal information. If you’re faced with this predicament, follow these general rules:

Is It Fit to Print?

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For decades, The New York Times has run “All the news that’s fit to print” on its front page, and, corny as it sounds, it’s a pretty good guideline for what to post online. So what is fit for your online persona to share? As a general rule, you should play it safe most of the time. Anvil Media’s president, Kent Lewis, states that online personas should behave like their grandmothers are reading their content and watching their videos.

The point of marketing is to let people know about products and services and the expertise behind them. However, it’s fine to stray a little when it serves the target audience. For example, event or wedding planners might find it to be entirely appropriate to announce their own engagements, preferences in ring styles and honeymoon plans since it pertains to their industry.

On the other hand, bloggers in other industries, such as car manufacturing, may face a bit of a stretch writing about life events unless they involve purchasing one of those items. But it may be appropriate to discuss life events, such as expecting a baby or a graduation, if they plan to buy a new car because of this news.

Tips for Sharing Information

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If you decide to discuss a personal milestone in a blog, video or other form of media, keep these tips in mind:

  • Do not share information about other people (colleagues, family members, friends, customers) without their OK. The same goes for discussing their children and related images.
  • Discuss any details that may affect other people with them before you post any revelations. For example, your significant other may want to be entirely absent from your blogs for any number of reasons. Respect their decisions.
  • Do not embarrass or insult anyone. Disagreements will occur; however, there is no need to shame, embarrass or belittle. Always keep your online discussion civil.
  • Be careful with satire. Not everyone will understand or appreciate it. Make sure your audience won’t take satire the wrong way.

Tips for Creating Your Persona

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Psychology Today reviewed several guidelines about how to share online in a way that doesn’t turn people off. It settled on several pieces of advice that is useful for a marketing persona as well:

  • Don’t bore people. Create a persona your target audience can identify with. It can reflect your actual personality or be an exaggeration of a character. Just be sure your audience understands it and won’t be turned off.
  • Don’t be negative. It’s bad for sales. The exceptions are updates to serious events that may disrupt operations.
  • Know when to brag. Although people generally shouldn’t show off, businesses should. Let your followers know if your company received an award or if you or an employee is being recognized for volunteer or professional achievements.
  • Be positive when you talk about your business and your industry. At the same time, don’t shy away from major controversies if it seems phony for you to do so.

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