VOL. 128 | NO. 36 | Thursday, February 21, 2013
How Much is Too Much?
By Thomas Whitehead
Show of hands – how many of us have those friends on Facebook that are over-sharers? Whether they are talking about that last taco they regret eating, their string of continuous bad dates, that very last beer they indulged in or other information that maybe we don’t really know them well enough to absorb, I think we all have those people in our news feed.
This might surprise you, but I have begun to see examples of organizations who are becoming over-sharers as well, and this could be at the cost of their main reason to interact with their customers: sales.
A few years ago, there were so many blog posts written to encourage business leaders to blog, share more information and discuss business interactions to some degree. As a consumer, I personally loved to see this. I could now have more understanding as to what decisions were made about the brands and products that I liked.
However, recently, I have noticed two different trends that I hope are not going to continue in terms of sharing company information. I will preface this by saying that these two trends have been exclusively with private and small companies, not large or public corporations.
The first trend is sharing with customers on social media that your sales figures are down. I have noticed this with several retail stores and restaurants. Although I can appreciate hearing the perils of a small-business owner, I feel the bigger issue is the risk of customers perceiving that your business is in financial trouble.
The second trend is similar, but I have begun to see retail outlets and restaurants/bars practically beg people to come to their places. And, I don’t mean a simple, “Come to our store today!” requests. Rather, I have seen some comments similar to “we really need your business” or “we have had a slow month, please help us out” pleas.
Just like no relationship is perfect, we also know no company is perfect and each comes with their own struggles. However, just because I like to eat your burritos does not mean I am entitled to see your profit margins or quarterly forecasts. And, you shouldn’t want me to know that information.
Instead, your interaction with me should be focused on how my experience with your company will be one-of-a-kind and special through customer service, incredible products and attention to detail. If your messages are positive, then I will be more inclined to consider supporting your business.
There is a huge difference between shareholder and stockholder. As a customer, I have an interest in your success, but it won’t impact me financially if your business fails. As a stockholder, it definitely impacts my financial viability.
However, it is very important to identify which audiences you are speaking with through different channels. But, I can explore that topic later. Until then, I am going to go grab another burrito.
Thomas Whitehead is an account manager at Obsidian Public Relations, a Memphis-based public relations firm.