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  • Important Keys for Separating Business and Personal Social Media

    7 June 2012

    Social media is huge these days, used by individuals and businesses alike. For businesses, balancing the tipping scales between personal and professional use is important and vital to building and maintaining a professional image. Many entrepreneurs have the added responsibility of maintaining a business image outside of the office. Being in the business of you is a 24/7 job. Your social media pages play a big part in your professional image.

    Below are a few important things to remember when utilizing your social media as a savvy entrepreneur.

    Be Cautious of New Friends

    Just because you’ve met a new contact at a networking event or had a friend or business request a connection doesn’t mean you need to connect via social media sites. Just like your mom always used to say, “Your friends are a reflection of who you are.”  Be sure that when others look into your profile, your friends list isn’t full of profiles that may not project a positive image. Also, you may run the risk of being on the receiving end of inappropriate wall posts or comments that can be read by others before you are able to delete them.

    The same goes for businesses or products that you “like.” Though you may really love a few bars around town or promote the legalization of marijuana, you should refrain from expressing viewpoints on controversial issues.

    Keep Personal and Business Connections Completely Separate

    Not only does repetitive blasting of marketing pieces about your business to all of your friends get annoying, it’s also not a good idea to comingle personal and business connections. Just as your friends likely don’t want their news feed or tweets to be jammed with the advertising of their friends, it’s usually not appropriate for business connections to see photos of you in your bathing suit last summer.

    Luckily, Facebook has caught up with the clear need to separate the different facets of our lives and now allows users to form different groups within a friends list. By dividing your friends into groups, you can contain viewing of certain postings to certain groups. It would definitely behoove you to spend time filtering your list of friends and assigning presets for each group.

    You Are Your Brand

    As an entrepreneur, you are your own brand. Your friends should view you professionally when it comes to your business. Most entrepreneurs don’t rely solely on friends for business, but oftentimes your friends will refer your business to other friends or acquaintances. If you don’t have credibility with your friends, they will not be a good referral base.

    While it may be appropriate (or at least more acceptable) for your little sister to post photos of her weekend exploits or controversial updates, entrepreneurs have to be more careful about the image they portray to the public. Unfortunately, the entrepreneur does not have the luxury of a completely divided personal and professional life as someone working as say, a barista at Starbucks. A negative image of the barista is extremely unlikely to lose business for a multinational behemoth.

    Consider What You Share

    Just as you should refrain from posting inappropriate photos to your page, it is important to spend a few extra minutes doing a bit of research before posting a link, video or an update. Though you may come across an article online that you find compelling and relevant to your business, check the reputation of the source of the article. Though this particular post may be ideal, it may be located on a site you may not want to represent on your page. Also, be sure to peruse a few other articles on that site, and check the quality of the site. Imagine your readers were to click your link, read the article and subsequently discover that you’ve directed them to an inappropriate site or an address that may get them in trouble at their home or office.

    Create a Business Page

    As an extension of your website or even your blog, a business page is a great way to be sure your connections and content remain separate. A business page is linked through your personal account, so it is simple enough to access, manage and navigate. You are free to invite the friends from your personal page to follow your business page if you feel it would be appropriate for the crossover. Additionally, it allows you to post those personal pictures, say, of your birthday party, on a page viewable to only closest friends. It also ensures that business contacts are receiving the proper image of your business, aiding in the development of professional relationships.

    Drawing a line between your personal and more official professional image is utterly mandatory. Utilize the fantastic features Facebook offers by building a professional business page, then categorizing your personal page into groups. As an entrepreneur, you will likely have a bit of crossover between your professional and personal lifestyles. Be careful to ensure that your image is appropriately depicted to each set of readers.

    Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.

     

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    8 Responses to Important Keys for Separating Business and Personal Social Media

    1. Jessica June 8, 2012 at 4:43 am #

      Certainly it is very important to have personal and business social media separate as friends n family knows you personally and would love to see your pictures while you were enjoying in pool or having a BBQ party on a beach side but business followers have no concern with it.

    2. Jarom Adair June 8, 2012 at 9:58 am #

      Agreed Adam–in this day and age of “transparency” it is way to easy to inappropriately blur the line between professional and private life.

      This article is about the things you have direct control over (the items you post online and who can look at them)–a great follow up post would be dealing with the items you have no control over. Perhaps insights on how to monitor (and sometimes intervene in) what is being said about you and your business online would be really informative too.

      Thanks Adam.

    3. Jon Paul Brett June 12, 2012 at 5:54 am #

      Personal and business circles are totally apart. I agree. And one should never inter-mingle both. Really good post Adam. :)

      • Matthew T June 12, 2012 at 11:46 am #

        @Jon Thank for the nice comment and for taking the time to post. Cheers!

    4. Ryan Eggenberger June 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

      “You are your brand.” I love this point and have been thinking about it recently in context of some of my acquaintances, who in fact still post pictures of drunken craziness and are often swearing up a storm. Even though I hardly see them in real life, I’m extremely hesitant to consider referring them to potential jobs I have open or jobs I am aware of, because of their online ‘brand’. Great post guys!

      • Matthew T June 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

        @Ryan You have some very valid points! Thank you for the great comments and for taking the time to post them here! Cheers!

    5. Jon Paul Brett June 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

      Honestly telling you things get puzzled when we mix both.Everything gets messed up then. You have really given a good message to all of us.

    6. Steve Pronger August 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      Some good advice there Adam. As someone who has been involved in social media to market my own business interests and now as an employee, you do need to be careful of mixing private and business interests. Friends will quickly unfriend you if you start bombarding them with marketing messages.

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