Personal vs. Business when it comes to Social Media
Social Media has been an evolving and overwhelming force over the past 6-7 years, taking over personal lives and forever changing the way people communicate. Social Media has connected people like nothing we have seen before! It has also become a major part of online marketing and business networking forcing itself on the business world. This has resulted in an overlap in individuals' social worlds, blurring the line between personal and business communication.
For some people this blurring of the line is not only OK, but welcomed. While others struggle to find a way to keep a balance and to keep each world separate. How do you accomplish this task without making one of the two different social worlds suffer? The first step is figuring out your individual line.
Figuring out your line could be a difficult thing to do, and could also make you realize that you don't mind the two worlds mixing on occasion. Most people will try to keep separate accounts, but will depend on reaching out to friends in the beginning to help create a fan base. But where does this end? Friends will support you up to a point before they start to ignore your posts / requests. This is the problem with social marketing. Social media was originally built for people to interact with their friends, and interests... and not to endlessly market to them. So then the big question becomes what is too much?
Another issue that many see is how your posting habits change from your personal world to the business world. Most of the posts you direct out within the business world are to make people aware of your product, industry, or about your company (things that people don't care about all the time in your personal world). Compare that to your personal posts which will include candid remarks, pictures of friends and family, funny pictures or videos, etc. These are posts that should not cross over into both worlds, but they usually do (business to personal).
So what is the right balance? There are many guides, books, webinars, and companies out there that are meant to help you with your social media marketing. They show you how to engage your fans, what to post and how to keep them interested. They usually focus on not overwhelming your fans, and an overall social strategy, but nobody really talks about how to interact with your family and friends. Some will say that they are going to be 100% supportive and you don't need to worry about it, but that is not the case.
So the answer I have found is that it depends... I know, great answer. It will come down to your knowledge / skills with social media as well as your knowledge / perception of your friends. I don't think that there is a set balance or guide to how to proceed in this delicate area, but I believe it is a topic that should come up more and not have a simple answer. Below I have included a few tips that I hope will help you begin to see the line again.
1) Keep your friends aware of your business. If they are your friends they will be interested in what you are doing, but might not always be willing to participate so don't beat them over the head with it. They may be able to provide some insight and even offer some suggestions that you haven't thought of yourself.
2) Keep separate social media accounts. While your business accounts should have a personal touch that let people get to know you, over sharing of your personal life with your business life is never a good idea and may come back to bite you.
3) Your personal social media accounts should be spontaneous, while your business accounts need a plan.
4) Posting about your business via your personal account is OK to do every once in awhile. This is just to help them keep informed about your business without forcing them to take a bigger part.
5) Make sure to never force the conversation in any world, try to present yourself to people who have an interest in your field (not just any random person).
Where have you struggled to keep a balance between personal and business, and what have you done to overcome those challenges?
Image courtesy of MiiiSH, Flickr.