Being Authentic on Twitter Without Sharing Too Much

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“Be yourself” and “be authentic” are arguably the two most propagated pieces of advice on social media. For good reason, too. Nothing works better on social media than real human relationships. The more casual and genuine you are in your interactions on social, the more long-lasting connections you’ll build. All that said, however, when is sharing personal stories a bit too much? Many of us still struggle to find the balance between sharing and sharing too much. That’s why for this week’s chat, we invited digital strategist Kim Scaravelli to discuss how we can be authentic on social media without over-doing it. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Kim Scaravelli
Topic: Being authentic on Twitter without sharing too much
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What does it mean to be real and authentic on Twitter?

According to our guest, being real and authentic on Twitter is behaving the same way as you would in real life. This includes every aspect of life and social media, such as sharing, listening, engaging, and having fun.

Pearl added that your authenticity should reflect in your tone of voice, your content, and the style of content you share. More importantly, though, being authentic means allowing your core values to shine through your profile and the way you present yourself.

Q2: Why is it important to show your real self?

It’s important because social media is about being social. Instead, if you’re only focused on selling your product or service, you’re not being human, you’re just a sales pitch with a Twitter account. Not only is that unappealing to an audience that’s expecting genuine connections, but it’s also hard on your mental health.

As Julia from NOW Marketing Group mentioned, to connect with people on a personal level, you need to be relatable to them. Unless you share your real self on social media, you won’t be able to speak to your audience’s vibe.

Q3: What are some ways to showcase your authenticity on Twitter?

Firstly, make sure that the language you use on social media is simple, everyday language. Use “you” and “us” perspectives in your phrasing so that you sound on the same level as your audience.

Don’t be afraid to showcase your real emotions. It’s great when you’re happy and all is well, but real human lives are more complex than that—acknowledge those not-so-great days as well. That doesn’t mean you have to tell Twitter every negative thing in your life, but show people that you also have difficult days sometimes.

Madalyn is a good example of humanizing your brand. She calls herself a “tattoo-wearing social media evangelist,” after a writer described her as such. What’s great about that line is that it tells us what Madalyn does, but it also tells us who Madalyn is. It gives us a peek into the person behind the brand.

Q4: How can a brand account share an authentic voice?

Many of our #TwitterSmarter chat regulars are brands, like GiveWP, Express Writers, and Charlie Appel Agency. The common thing between them, though, is that they’re all good at showing who they are behind their respective handles. Whether it’s Rachel, Taylor, Drew, or Alyx, they all have unique and distinct voices they aren’t afraid to show. That’s what our guest suggested as well: show your audience who they’re talking to. If you have an office space and a team that works together, tell your audience about them and introduce them. Crack a joke!

Sharing news and stories about your clients is also a good way to showcase the human side of your brand.

A great way to show who’s behind a brand handle is to simply sign off each tweet. It’s an easy way to differentiate a brand from its team. Alyx is an excellent example of this. Julia from NOW Marketing Group signs off with her initials. Slightly different tactics, but the same effect.

Remember, though, as Lance told us, set clear guidelines on what’s acceptable and what’s not. Your social media managers should have the freedom to be themselves, but not at the expense of your brand guidelines.

Q5: When does authentic sharing become over-sharing?

It’s a fine line between sharing and over-sharing. What’s over-sharing to you may not be the same for someone else. For example, for our guest, seeing photos of other people’s children or hearing deep emotions about someone’s personal life is a bit too much. That may not be the case for you, though. Find out what you think is over-sharing on someone else’s part. Then you can identify when you need to stop yourself from over-sharing.

If you’re ever unsure whether to share a particularly personal story, ask yourself why you want to share it in the first place. As Madalyn said, most of us share deeply personal stories because we want our experiences to be validated. Though it’s perfectly natural to want to be heard, remember that you don’t need someone else’s approval to live your life.

Q6: What’s the problem with over-sharing?

When you share personal stories, you want people to resonate with you. They should gravitate towards you because they want to be friends with you and get to know you more. When you over-share, however, your audience will start to feel as if you’re dumping your personal life story on them and they’re burdened to hear it through. Instead of resonating with people, you’ll end up chasing them away. Catch yourself before you start over-sharing.

Another problem with over-sharing is that Twitter is a public forum. You might think you’re sharing with your community, but in reality, whatever you say is available for strangers to see and read as well. That doesn’t make a good first impression. You don’t have to be perfect, as Christine reminded us, but you don’t want to be a hot mess either. It’s ok not to be ok—that’s natural. But it’s not ok (for your brand) to break down completely.

Q7: What are some things you should never share on Twitter?

Kim suggested avoiding strong emotions like rage out of social media. However, it’s fine to share your opinions. You may not always agree with others, but that’s how people are. We’re a bunch of wildly opinionated people, and we can all discuss those opinions in a civilized way. Now that’s social.

Our guest also suggested not bringing young kids into personal sharing on social media.

Jim also spoke about not sharing personally identifiable information such as email addresses, birth dates, and family names. These details can make you a target for cyber crimes.

Q8: Tag some people who’re great at sharing their authentic self without sharing too much.

Our guest suggested a whole bunch of people you can look up to for inspiration such as Melanie Benson, Maiko Sakai, Katelyn Bourgoin, Ebony, and Deb Coman.

Bernie gave a shout-out to a lot of great Twitter users, including some names familiar to the #TwitterSmarter community such as Chris Strub, Christine Gritmon, Dennis Shiao, and Nathalie Gregg. Check them all out—you won’t regret it!

Well, folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks so much for reading through, and for more great insights from our chat with Kim, have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. And if you have some spare time next Thursday, join us live for our next #TwitterSmarter chat. We’ll be on from 1pm ET. Catch you then!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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