This question has stumped the greatest minds of the 21st century, or at least stumped your average coworker.
What you should share depends on the purpose of the account.
Is your account for connecting with family or coworkers? Here is where having separate personal and professional accounts comes into play. Part of the joy of some social media is connecting with family and friends, so, rather than sterilize your personal account(s), simply create separate professional versions.
(If this already sounds like too many accounts for you, consider parceling out the platforms. For example, keep Facebook for personal use and LinkedIn for professional use. Remember: there is no such thing as a non-professional LinkedIn.)
Things you can share on professionally-designated accounts include:
- job opportunities
- retweets or shares of colleagues’ posts
- pictures of events or info about upcoming events
- company press releases
- news that affects your industry
- articles from thought leaders
- case studies
Most importantly, consider your TARGET AUDIENCE:
- What are their common questions?
- What is their pain?
- What is keeping them up at night as it relates to their jobs?
- What interests do they have that may provide some variety in your posts (like travel, golf, gadgets, or sports)?
BEST TIP EVER: At least 80% of your content should be aimed at solving the pain and answering the questions of your target audience. Do not talk about yourself the entire time or you run the risk of people tuning you out.
Hit the Bullseye
We recommend thinking about content to share on social media in the context of a target. Posts related directly to your business are in the center of the target. To avoid seeming like a soulless telecom robot and to reach a broader audience, we recommend going a little outside of the center target. Readers and folks across social like to see that you have other interests, and can creatively connect these interests back to your industry.
For example, let’s take the interests of space, cars, and health, and say you are in IT. The overarching commonality you can tie in is technology. Here are some examples:
- SPACE – You share an article about how Elon Musk plans a 2019 launch of satellite internet from space.
- CARS – You share an article about how test fleets of driverless cars are beginning to infiltrate Uber.
- HEALTH – You share an article about how 3D printing of heart valves is saving premature babies.
Incorporating your interests into your professional posts allows you to broaden your audience and attracts more eyeballs. But, beware the content that can alienate your followers and ruin your career:
Controversial posts. Anything about politics, religion, sexuality, violence, and even animal abuse have been the nail in the coffin for some on social media.
Obvious sales pitches. Social platforms are for grooming relationships, not spamming your connections with product pictures or announcements of your monthly 10x spiff. Save it for your newsletter. Same goes for social media message inboxes. While it’s difficult to resist, do not sell yourself in a social media message. Call or email the prospect.
Insider Information. Do not break the news by pre-releasing company changes and violating your NDA. Bad idea. Releasing private information will come back to you with hefty repercussions.
Pictures of partying. While everyone knows that drinking is one of two ways people in the channel communicate (the other is food), it might not be appropriate to post your pics of everyone a few drinks in and not looking their A-game. The people in your photo may not approve and it may not portray the best impression of you. If you want to share party photos, follow this simple rule: keep it classy.
Thoughts and feelings. Posting about your child’s 6th grade “Meet Your Teacher Day” or how much you appreciate the U.S. military is great, but not appropriate for professional accounts. Save updates about the building fire drill, your lunch panini, or how they are filming The Walking Dead outside for personal pages.
Negativity. Do not complain about your job or throw shade on other companies. Industries are small and print screens last forever. This is not the place to rant about a botched service delivery, or your boss, or a doomed acquisition. Take it offline. Social media is the ultimate glass house.
Nota bene: Overall, Facebook and Twitter are more forgiving in comparison to LinkedIn when it comes to controversial content. Posts can fly there that do not on LinkedIn, including quotes, pictures of pets, sports updates, or advice. You can get a little more expressive on these platforms because they are built with a social, not professional, focus.
No matter what, keep posting frequently. If you are not active, your feed will not show up to your followers. To be a “thought leader”or expert in your industry you must be seen. The adage “out of sight out of mind” has never been more true than when applied to social media communities, so click the button and be seen.