I was fortunate enough recently to spend a couple of hours with Norma Davey and Frank Kenny. As we talked about chambers and social media, we discussed social media personas. This topic came up because we saw the need to share more personal information on social media by chamber leadership and staff members.
Since people buy–or join as in the case of chambers–from people they know, like, and trust, it is essential that you share things about yourself and your staff.
But social sharing can quickly become a Goldilocks-esque tale of caution as what we’re sharing needs to be “just right.” If it’s not, you’ll spend a lot of time with little results.
To make things harder, social sharing doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Some people are great at sharing just the right amount, while others could use a little … filter.
Here are four common social media personas and types of sharing personalities we see in navigating social media.
If you find that you fit one (or several) of them you may want to reconsider your approach. But don’t worry. These problems are easily fixed. The fifth personality, the expert, is the one we all strive to be because it’s responsible for the most engagement and return on your time investment.
Which kind of social sharing chamber professional are you?
This person attended a seminar or read an article that told them they need to share about themselves to build connections. But they skipped the part that told them exactly how much to share. Something fell apart when the concept was put into practice as this person knows no boundary when it comes to their shares.
In their mind the more sharing the better.
They fill their social media profiles with embarrassing stories, complaints, bad jokes, and general grievances. The Oversharer sees no topic as off-limits and sees everything as a way for others to get to know them. What they don’t realize is that people are getting to know them a little too well and that’s not a good thing.
What they’re doing right: at least they’re sharing.
Avoid this part of being an oversharer: the average audience member will feel overwhelmed by the sort of topics this chamber professional is inviting them into. For instance, while funny stories about a spouse or loved one can make people feel like they know you, letting them in on what the two of you fought about the night before is an example of oversharing. It won’t help anyone feel closer to you.
How to fix it: your shares should always be strategic. You want people to get to know you in the best possible light. There’s no reason they should see every dark corner of your personality. Leave somethings to the imagination. If you wouldn’t tell your grandmother or your best friend’s parent, you likely don’t want to post it.
The Agenda Writer
Everyone participating in social media for business should have a social media marketing strategy but the Agenda Writer takes that a step further. These social media personas are doing everything for self-serving reasons. All posts are about them and how they can help you because they are so amazing.
They are proud and they are loud and they are heavy-handed as they revel in the sound of the music of their own drum.
What they’re doing right: They know why they’re sharing. Everyone needs a reason if they’re doing social media for business.
What they do wrong: again, a social media strategy is important for any chamber. But when your social media strategy revolves around advancing your own agenda, there’s a problem. Common signs of this include every post written to show how awesome you and your chamber are, illustrating all the things you have done for others (in a self-serving way), and highlighting what places you in the best light while ignoring your members and other heroes within the community.
At a cocktail party do you want to talk to the sparkling conversationalist or the person who manipulates the conversation for their own gain? Not the latter, right? That person is the type who’s always looking over your shoulder to see who has just entered the room. If someone comes in that’s more valuable to their agenda, they’ll cut your conversation short.
It’s an awful feeling to be so unimportant to someone and people will (eventually) avoid the Agenda Writer. It’s difficult to connect with people if they’re avoiding you and your posts.
How to fix it: use the 80/20 rule about sharing. 80% of your chamber’s shares should be about other people and the amazing things going on in your community. 20% of your shares can be aimed at advancing your own mission or sharing things about the chamber that are important for your audience. Whether you’re sharing things about you or about the community you should always keep your ideal audience member in mind and share things that are of value to them.
The Clueless Connector
This chamber pro knows connections are important in social media and they do their best to share other’s posts. They share important things about their own lives so that people get to know, like, and trust them. Good, right?
The problem they encounter is that they share the wrong things for the audience because they’re clueless about their ideal demographic. For instance, a Clueless Connector may create tons of content on being a solopreneur and they may share the same; things like work-life balance when you work from home and productivity tips for working from home.
What they’re doing right: The content they create is excellent except for one thing….
Mistakes of the Clueless Connector: as mentioned earlier, the Clueless Connector is sharing excellent resources and valuable content but they’re sharing it with the wrong group. Those examples from the solopreneur are a better fit for a freelancers association than a chamber of commerce where most members have a larger number of employees. In fact, sharing information on being a solopreneur could actually sabotage the members’ employee base and give their employees ideas about starting their own freelance business and leaving their current job.
How to fix it: if you don’t want to be a Clueless Connector, you need to create materials and resources that aim your social media persona at a more fitting ideal audience. Do the research and find out what they’re struggling with and what they are interested in.
The “Look at Me” Sharer
This chamber professional is all about the visual representation of themselves. While they are the leader of the chamber, this person is further advancing their career by insisting on becoming the face of the chamber too. There’s nothing wrong with a CEO or executive director being seen as the face of the chamber or even being referred to as the “chamber guy” or the “chamber lady.” That’s quite common. But the problem occurs when someone insists upon their face being associated with everything including event marketing materials and the chamber Instagram page’s every post.
What they’re doing right: They aren’t shy about sharing the good work the chamber is doing but the reason behind it is misguided.
The turn off behind this type of sharing: yes, social media is becoming a very visual platform but that does not mean the CEO’s face needs to be plastered onto everything. In fact, it can be quite dangerous for the chamber should that person leave. A personal brand is important but not when it comes at the detriment of the chamber’s brand.
How to fix it: cut down on the selfies every time you get your hair done. If you’re out in the community and you’re taking pictures of your members and their successes and sharing them on social media, you’ll be balancing out the pictures of you. It’s natural that you’ll become known as the chamber person. But if as you’re reviewing your past posts you noticed that almost every single one is a picture of you, and only you, it’s time to dial back some of those images and share other subject matter as well.
Finally, these sharing personas can be a little comical and I’m exaggerating them for effect. However, if upon reading these you’re worried you (or your staff) may be guilty of some of them, it’s important to note what the ideal is. The ideal share is not a rigid description or some sort of equation that you can plug into. Instead, it’s a general tone of helpfulness by placing the needs of your audience in the forefront of your mind as you post. Here’s some more information about how you can become the most coveted of chamber social shares, The Expert.
The Ideal Social Media Personas: Expert
These personas share just enough of their lives that you feel like you know them. Yet, they stop short of sharing anything that would be uncomfortable or divisive.
In addition to their perfect sharing, they also involve you in the conversation. They may tell stories and share things about their life but at the end, they always turn the conversation back to the audience. This expert is a super engager and their sharing looks effortless as if what they’re posting on social media is something they’re sharing with a really close friend–you.
How they do it: Experts find topics everyone can appreciate and they share your stories about these topics. For instance, they often share crowd-pleasing stories about pets, natural beauty, favorite foods or pastimes, or questions. They avoid divisive topics like politics and religion and they also avoid being overly negative. while there are some topics about daily frustrations that can be uniting, Experts avoid anything that will make them look like a complainer. Experts share in order to connect and they connect by finding common ground.
Which chamber social media pro are you most like?