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Ask Abby, Marketing Maven
How Personal Should You Get?

How Personal Should You Get?

Dear Abby,

I have often heard you should tell a story to make things personal with your prospects and clients.  I try hard to adhere to this by allowing them into my life so I can gain access into their personal lives.  As I move towards getting my social networking sites up and running though, I am wondering, how much personal information should I be sharing online?  Can you help me know where to draw the line?

John, NY, NY

Dear John,

You raise a very good point.  It is always a good idea to “connect” with people, especially new clients, by revealing things about yourself; letting them know a little about your family, how many children you have, the ages of the children, some hobbies perhaps.  In fact, I have seen advisors send newsletters where the opening paragraph speaks about their most recent family vacation.  It helps warm people up to you.  It helps them relate and feel like you are more than a business acquaintance but someone they can know and trust.  I fully support this tactic when it is done correctly.

But, when it comes to social media, I think we all need to be a little stricter with our controls.  Should you post those photos from your most recent family vacation on your business social site?  Should you share your daughter’s college graduation pictures?  My recommendation would be not to do those things.  I see nothing wrong with posting pictures of your staff or the most recent charitable event your firm participated in, but when it comes to your personal life and social media, I would keep the two separate.

There are a few reasons why.   Social sites are very public.  And depending on the controls you may or may not have set on your own social networking sites, you may be allowing people to view your daughter or your family that you might not be aware of.  Secondly, social sites should be a store front for your business, and as such, it should be more about your business.  Once a prospect becomes a client, you can then choose whether or not to share personal information with that person.  Essentially, you get to screen the candidate first.

I hope this helps answer your question around how much information to share via social networks.  Thanks for writing in.



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