|Created by Kim Kline, API|
I keep my business and personal social media separate.
While on some social sites I only have a business profile (LinkedIn is a perfect example of this), there are other sites where the lines could become blurred.
This is especially true of Facebook, Pinterest, and even Instagram.
On these sites, I either have a completely separate business and personal profile, like I do on Facebook, or, at the very least, I have set up ways to differentiate the two (like on Pinterest, where I have set up one board solely devoted to small business posts).
No matter what site I am on, however, I recognize that too much mixing of my personal and business life is rarely a good idea.
And I have never recognized
the need for separation more
than during this past presidential election!
The prevalence of divisiveness and mean spirited behavior was startling to me. And I had no desire to get in a “war” that could have more impact on my small business than I would like.
It became abundantly clear that mixing personal and business posts did not make sense ~ for me or my business.
3 Reasons to Keep Your Business & Personal Social Media Separate “Tweet This”
|Created by Kim Kline, API|
The Top 3 reasons You should Separate Your Business and Personal Social Sites:
- You don’t want to alienate potential clients
- You want to keep your “Brand” consistent
- You want to keep “crazy” things off your business pages
Alienating potential clients is never good for business. Anytime you share potentially controversial posts, you run this risk. That is why I avoid strong political and religious posts. You never know when what you say can keep you from landing a customer.
Your “brand” should always be consistent. This is whether that brand is associated with your small business or it is your own professional persona. Anyone wanting to do business with or hire you, will look you up online. Posts or shares that go against the image you want to portray are detrimental and may even be dangerous to your success.
Keeping “crazy” posts from friends or online connections off my business pages is the number one reason I separate the business from the personal. You have very little control over what others post. And even if you hide them from your page, it may not be before their posts have been seen by someone they may offend. This could potentially lose you business or keep you from getting hired.
That does not mean your online business persona needs to be free of personality and passion, especially if you have a Small Business. That would be boring! After all, I am my small business, and I want my current and potential clients to “know” me.
I enjoy sharing my business and parts of my personal stories. I write often about what it has taken to start and run my own business. I shared my fight against breast cancer. And I don’t shy away from my passion for gender and race equality ~ both in business and in life. For me, this is the one time it is right to more closely mix my personal and business online presence. (Discover more about this in my future blog article; "Are You Ever Smart to Mix Your Personal Beliefs with Your Business".)
That is why there is, and will continue to be, some cross over between business and personal on my social sites. I share my blog posts on both my business and personal Facebook pages. My Instagram posts often cover both professional and personal interests ~ things about myself and my travels.
However, even when sharing these personal things, I am constantly vigilant to keep my brand and the success of my business squarely in mind.
But what if you have not been quite so careful? Maybe you have shared things that,
probably should not have been posted.
What should you do now?
Having separate personal and business pages makes the most sense. It shows a clear delineation between those two facets of your life. But even then, you need to be careful.
People are naturally curious, and most will check out both. Friends will visit your business page, and clients will often take a look at what you post personally. That is especially true if your persona is an important part of your business ~ and I think this is true of most small business owners!
In some cases, having two separate pages is not possible, like it is for me on LinkedIn. And it certainly helps that I consider LinkedIn to be a strictly professional site. But that doesn’t mean I don’t practice vigilance. In fact, I am especially careful when it comes to posting on these sites.
However, if you either can’t have, or for some reason don’t desire, separate business and personal social pages, then it is important you recognize the potential problems. The best thing you can do is to take a few steps now to protect yourself and / or your small business.
Steps to Protect You and Your Small Business Online
Find out what is “out there” ~ Do an online search of both you and your business.
Clean Up Your Social Profiles ~ take a look at your posts through the eyes of friends and connections (this is possible on many sites by clicking on a “view page as” type of option).
Remove any posts that may shed you or your business in a negative light ~ You may even consider “hiding” or blocking friends and connections that consistently post things that are inflammatory or questionable.
This is the same advice I constantly stress to anyone looking for a job!
“Your best course of action is to imagine anything you post could possibly be seen by a wide variety of people - your family, friends, neighbors, teachers, employers, and even those that are strangers to you. Using that as a guide, do you still want to share that post? Asking yourself that question BEFORE you share is the wise way to go.”; excerpt from “Social Media, Background Checks, & Company Policy: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!.
Businesses would also be wise to use this posting guideline. Sharing things as if your customers were looking makes sense.
After researching your company, and fixing what you can, the best course of action is to be more careful in the future. Simply being aware of what you post, and the impact it may have, is often enough.
But you should also take into consideration
the potential “danger”
of your social media “likes”!
“Liking”, or reacting in any way, to a post says something about you. It can reflect things you find interesting, funny, or even things with which you disagree.
The problem becomes when those seemingly innocent “likes” alienate potential clients or generate an image about you or your company that you never intended. Find out more in “Ready to Improve Your Brand? Why You Need to Think Before Clicking ‘Like’!”.
If you have employees, it is just as important that you consider their social media activity ~ especially if they are an online “face” of your business. Just as it is important for you to separate the business and personal, it is also true for your employees.
That is why it makes good business sense to create a sound social media policy from the start. You need to stress the importance of what your employees post and how it can reflect on your small business.
Having at least some separation between
your personal and business social media
should be your goal.
You need to project an image that will attract, not repel, potential and current clients. Making sure it is consistent and supportive of your brand is key.
Do You Separate
Your Personal and Business Social Presence? Please share why, or why not!
I would love to hear from you!
And if you need help getting you or your business ready for an online check,
I will work with you to put you and your business in the best light!
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