March 21, 2013

Too Much Information: Oversharing on Social Media

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We all know at least one — someone on Facebook who makes it his or her mission to update you on the incredibly important details of day-to-day life, from how hectic getting out the door was this morning to that funny meme he saw to his co-workers’ annoying habits in the afternoon to a photo of dinner to a play-by-play of tonight’s football game.

And cats.

Lots and lots of pictures of cats.

These are oversharers, and they’re likely to find themselves hidden on someone’s news feed or even defriended if the details get too, well, detailed. That’s one thing if you’re Joe Blow, but if you’re oversharing on social media, that could lead to lost opportunities to connect with clients or customers.

A survey from Lab42 found the No. 1 reason that people unlike a brand on Facebook is because the brand posted too frequently. The No. 1 reason people who never like brands on Facebook shy away from it is because of fear of clutter in their news feed.

So how often should you post so that you actually have an impact but avoid being the business equivalent of someone who shares what they ate for breakfast? It depends on your audience and your industry, and the truth is there is no magic number.

Posting more than a few times a day is likely too much (for Twitter, on the other hand, that’s just fine). Posting less than once a week is likely not enough. If you’re wondering where to start, post once a day, varying the time of day and topics. Then use the Insights that Facebook provides to see which posts get the most traction.

And remember, it’s about quality over quantity. Part of what makes that oversharer so annoying is that he isn’t sharing much of interest to anyone but himself — if what you post has value, your followers are much less likely to be put off by it and instead happy to see you pop up in their news feed among all those pictures of cats.

Mario Medina

Mario is the Creative Director of madison/miles media. He has a wife, two kids, a dog, a fish (but it might be dead — hard to tell) and an unhealthy obsession with Batman.