I get a lot of questions about how to maintain a personal and a business presence within social media. Many folks like to “be themselves” on social media tools with their friends, yet they also want to establish a business presence in order to promote their businesses. The solution they come up with, often, is a private profile, and a separate Facebook Page to market the business.
I see a couple of issues with this, though.
- Let’s start first with the Gen Y person who has been using his or her profile to share photos of fun nights out with friends. Can you be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that no business contacts will ever see your photos? That none of your friends will share it in a way that it could be seen? Probably not. Many Gen Y-ers are now in the process of cleaning up their profiles as they begin to think about potential employment. What wouldn’t you want someone considering hiring you to see? And the same goes for your business. You CAN’T be absolutely sure that something you share through your personal profile won’t go further than you expect. Better not to post it at all.
- And since you’re not going to be sharing anything that you don’t want to go any further that your immediate circle, then do you really need a separate business presence? One of the unique things about direct selling as opposed to other industries is the fact that we do build relationships with our prospects and customers. We share information about our personal lives (the fact that we have kids, etc.) in order to connect with people. It makes them more comfortable when they choose to do business with us. Our profile gives us an ideal opportunity to share that personal side of us. By strategically posting information about our lives, interacting with personal friends, and talking about our interests, we give people the chance to get to know us as a whole person, instead of just a business entity. It’s unlikely that customers feel any particular loyalty to the big box store down the street. But if they feel connected to you, they’re a lot more likely to continue to do business with you.
- Social media tools take time. Now if you want to spend all your downtime in front of the computer, I can’t stop you. But wouldn’t it be great if you could interact with everyone during some scheduled social media time for your business, and then get on with life? When you have to maintain a Profile AND a Page, you are doubling your workload online. You have to interact with people in 2 places. (Not to mention the fact that anyone can raid your customer list on a Page.) Get it all done through a profile. Since you’re not blasting business messages there anyway, but instead are building relationships, you don’t NEED a separate business presence.
We need to rethink “personal” when it comes to social media tools. I don’t believe we can just share anything online, because what we post lasts forever. We always have to think about the long-term effects of everything we post. Because of this, balancing personal and business through the same profile can bring you good results, while maximizing the time you spend on your social media tools. After all, in person you would mention your business when hanging out with friends, wouldn’t you? If you saw a need, I sure hope you would. You can do the same thing as part of a content marketing strategy through your profile.
What’s your take on this? Looking forward to reading your comments below.