At what point is it considered oversharing on the internet? Can you share a personal story with your customer base and still expect to retain them as customers?
As someone who expresses themselves best through the written word and as a solo entrepreneur, I find it hard not to spill my guts on the internet at times. But I have learned that most of my personal stories are not relevant or beneficial to the audience I strive to attract.
But who benefits from “oversharing,” and where do you draw the line?
A year ago, Rolling Stone Australia published an article about the latest phenomenon on social media: “vulnerability porn.” In recent years, people have increasingly shared their vulnerabilities online while often seeking validation. The “trend” has become so popular that the term “sadfishing” was coined for those sharing performative content for likes.
While one can argue that oversharing has built the careers of some influencers, sometimes it is their unfiltered commentary that gets them in trouble.
As a business owner or someone who represents another company (employee or contractor), it is important to find the balance between authenticity and sharing too much.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when getting personal online:
- Be honest about your intention. Be honest with yourself and your audience as to why you are sharing this story. Not every anecdote needs to be shared, nor may it be appreciated by your particular audience. Be transparent about your reason for sharing this personal story or information.
- Be authentic. Don’t exaggerate the story for attention. Show your audience that this is a genuine experience you are sharing without making it into something it isn’t.
- Know your audience. Just because one business or influencer shared a story similar to yours does not mean you will have the same success (or failure) as that storyteller. Know what your audience would be receptive to before diving into the personal pool.
- Weigh the pros and cons. Often, stories go viral, and the storyteller is not prepared for the results of sharing the story: loss of a job/client, harassment, etc. Make sure you understand the possibilities of consequences for sharing a personal story and what you can with as a result of sharing.
As we easily connect with strangers through social media, it is no surprise that people are drawn to those who expose themselves. Their authentic selves.
Since the start of the pandemic, many have tried to find connections with those in similar situations or those living lives we can only dream about. Business owners are seeing great success in showing the human side of their company by sharing their struggles as small business owners and even their successes.
However, it is necessary to know the line between being too personal and professional. So before you decide to share an ” unfiltered story with your audience, ask yourself if there is even a possibility you could regret it later.