Which One Should I use?
A question we often get asked by workshop attendees and clients is: When do I use a personal versus a professional social account?
It's not a clear cut answer and depends on the type of business. It also relies on you making the right decision for you and your business. To help you do this here are some things to consider and a few examples of how clients of ours have navigated their personal and professional Facebook and Instagram accounts for business.
Let's begin by considering the following questions based on your brand’s message and values:
- Are many aspects of your personal life relevant to your business?
- Do you want to keep your personal life separate from your professional life?
The last question is something that may change and evolve at a later stage depending on the growth of your business and the growth of any little family members (more on this later).
Are you are a personal brand With Natural Overlap
If you are a personal brand like a past client of ours who is a TV host that values her identity as a mother as well as a professional and also targets fellow mothers as her online audience. Then incorporating her children and the activities they do as a family in her local area across all her social media makes total sense for her and her brand.
This may not make as much sense for a professional who has shared aspects of her family life in the past but is ready to refine her digital presence to attract more potential dream clients.
Are You Are Business To Business Professional?
We are currently working with a fellow marketer on The Brand Plan to define and distill her professional brand messaging and values. This is the first step towards building a more legit digital footprint including a new website that will showcase how she works with clients. In addition to a new website we are advising that she focuses on two social platforms: Linkedin and Instagram. Linkedin is a straightforward platform purely designed for professional interaction and information sharing typically with a formal tone. Instagram on the other hand can be used for sharing both your personal life and professional life. Up until now our client has used Instagram predominantly to share her personal travel and dining experiences with her family, peppered in with work events and creative inspiration.
As our client moves towards a more defined digital footprint we recommend splitting the two sides of her life to separate church and state. Continuing to share her family adventures (with close ups of family members) on her personal account, and setting up a separate account to reflect the professional side of her life as a marketer and brand development expert. Of course her general interests and what inspires her as a person will naturally overlap into both accounts but keeping them separate holds two sides of her identity that will be viewed by either family and friends or work related friends and potential clients without sacrificing the privacy of her family.
Do You Feature Children On Social Media?
An important contributing factor to why people separate their personal social accounts from professional ones is the presence of children. If you are a business owner that works in a field related to children and family matters; like the TV host I mentioned or a designer for a childrenswear clothing line then it can make sense to include your life as a parent on your social media. Sometimes your personal and professional identity is intertwined, so having separate accounts isn’t an issue.
Most new parents love to share cute pictures of their new babies on social media as their identity is evolving into a new parent who runs a business. The gray area (where things can get sticky) is when those babies start to grow up, particularly around elementary age, and you begin to want to keep their identity private or respect their privacy as they grow up and may want their own social platforms one day.
Then it may become time for your young family members to step away from your business related social accounts - if it's the right choice for you and your family.
A past client of mine who writes a family related lifestyle blog had two junior high school aged children and didn’t want to include them in her social media, plus one of them had their own social accounts. So she became skilled at showing the presence of a family (which is an important element to her brand) on social media around a dinner table or on a family trip, but in a more candid way without revealing their identities.
What Social Accounts To Link From Websites
Our marketer client’s professional Instagram account will be linked from her new website for potential clients to click through and see what inspires her as a person, what she is working on at the moment, what kind of network does she have and how she nurtures that online community as a marketer. A no no in most marketing expert’s opinion is linking any personal accounts to a professional website as it gives the wrong impression, plus someone who potentially wants to hire you through your website will be less interested in a recent friend's birthday party and more interested in your latest client project’s results. Keeping the content on the accounts relevant to the types of followers you want to attract is key.
How to Leverage Your Personal Profile For Facebook Groups
We are just wrapping another Brand Plan with a legacy coach who has a personal Facebook profile, a public figure page (a friend set up for her) and a business page for her company. She was confused about how to use them all and leverage them for her business.
Firstly a business page and a public figure page has the same capabilities such as insights, contests, custom apps to other social platforms or capture email etc. Personal profiles have to “like” the page to receive updates, and due to facebook’s algorithm the organic reach to those who have liked your page is less than 2% unless someone regularly interacts with your page. From the business owner's standpoint these pages can not tag personal profiles for privacy reasons so typically useful for those who are cross promoting with other brands, but less so for those who want to engage with personal profiles without set aside budget.
Part of the coach’s marketing strategy is to make better use of Facebook groups where she can share her expertise and help others who need guidance with their writing. For this reason she can join relevant groups using her personal account to help benefit her profession. In the future she may also consider starting her own group about legacy writing to support those needing a like-minded community.
Facebook groups are a great place for service-based experts wanting to reaching and offer their expertise by answering questions and posing questions (for feedback) to relevant communities. Particularly when they are building their business page following and starting to considering targeting a specific demographic through Facebook ads and boosting posts through a business page.
There are different ways to leverage both personal and professional accounts through social media particularly Facebook and Instagram. It all comes down to your type of business, who your target audience is and where they are spending time online. Whether it is business to business like our marketer, business to consumer like our legacy coach or a simply a creative tapping into a similar audience to themselves, like the blogger or host tapping into fellow parents looking local activities or design inspiration on social media.
Have you been struggling with a similar dilemma on social media, does this answer your questions or so you something new to add to the conversation if so reach out to us through the links in the bio below.
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