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Tips for Maintaining Privacy in Social Media Marketing

written by: Chad Anderson•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 2/26/2011

Social media is an incredible tool for marketing yourself and your brand, but requires a lot of shared information to be useful. Read on for some tips on maintaining your personal privacy while utilizing social media as a marketing strategy.

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    Sharing Too Much

    There is a fine line to be drawn between developing your personal or company brand and providing the Internet with too many juicy details. Not only can too much information negatively impact your brand, it can also provide potential attackers with the data they need to compromise your social media or even private accounts. Additionally, most people do not realize the vast amounts of meta data that gets sent with every update. Building a consistent and specific persona for use with social media marketing and being aware of the information leaked with posts can help provide a shield of privacy in a world that revolves around sharing.

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    Keeping Details Private Through A Brand Character

    The typical status update coaxes out of users a lot of information. There is a compulsion to show and tell that gets accentuated by socialTwitter Logo Social Web  media, almost to the point that updates are sent without being conscious of what they contain. Before even creating a social media account for marketing purposes, it's important to develop a persona and voice that you will consistently maintain in your posts. This will work doubly to improve the personal image of your brand as a relatable individual and to secure your privacy in that you can develop the character behind the brand without leaking personal details about yourself.

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    The majority of mobile phones, and nearly every smartphone, now comes with GPS devices. When taking a photograph, unless explicitly disabled, the phone's software will geotag the photograph with your exact location, polling the GPS device for the coordinates. This geolocation data is written to the image along with a number of other details, such as the phone type and camera lens, included in the file's EXIF data. Unless you want your exact location our your smart phone's information displayed whenever you share an image on a social media website, you need to strip the EXIF data from your images. Image hosting sites like Imgur do this for you, and somesmart phones allow you to disable geotagging. Although few phones support the feature, you can sometimes fake your location information or edit the EXIF data directly as well.

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    Another way to bury any personal information is to be hyper-social. Social media marketing relies around interacting with any followers, including answering questions and providing follow up. By exclusively using your stream for follow up and customer interaction purposes, you can satisfy your customer base, maintain a constant social appearance, and preserve your privacy at the same time. A good example would be how many companies now follow their name as a trend on Twitter, responding to customer complaints and praise with either a reply or retweet. On Facebook, liking pages that are relevant to your company and customer base can not only expand your network, but provide a constant stream of information about your company, further developing the persona of the brand.

    Since there is always a fine line between being social and dropping any semblance of privacy, always remember to research what sort of information a new social media service is transmitting about its users. As location check-in services and other forms of social media develop there will be increasingly less space for pure privacy in social media. Remember to always balance between social and keeping yourself safe and your personal opinions or activities from adversely impacting your marketing activity.

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    Image from and licensed under the Creative Commons.