Sometimes it seems hard to draw a fine line between your personal and professional social media identities. With so many social networking platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), many people are set up with multiple profiles. So how do you draw the line between the Professional (representing your company’s brand) and the Personal (representing your personal life)?
Separating Personal and Professional Accounts
It’s often a good idea to keep Professional profiles and Personal profiles separate. Let’s use the example of professional networking. Having a LinkedIn account to connect with people as a representative of your organization is likely a better choice than sending “Friend Requests” through your personal Facebook page. A simple solution is to designate certain platforms for professional use, and certain platforms for personal use. A good way to keep them separate, suggests Sabrina Parsons, guest blogger at the SCORE blog is, “When a business person asks to be my friend on Facebook, I simply ignore their request on Facebook, but send them a request through LinkedIn. I usually add a message that says:
“Thanks for your friend request on Facebook. I use Facebook for personal use only and not for business networking. I would love to connect with you through LinkedIn where my business contacts are. Please accept my invitation.”
Where the Fine Line Starts to Disappear
One thing to consider when using social media at your organization is your online personality or profile. One question to ask is this: Are you representing yourself, are you representing your organization, or are you acting as an anonymous representative of your organization?
C.G. Lynch, writer at CIO Magazine, suggests that “this inevitable blurring between the personal and professional life creates perils for Twitter users. Sharing a tweet (a message on Twitter) that has certain personal information could cause you to lose your “followers” (people who subscribe to your Twitter messages) or, worse, get you into trouble at work.” This theory holds true not only for Twitter, but for all social media. Lynch puts it well, saying:
“Like it or not, the emergence of social networks, the proliferation of mobile devices and the ubiquity of the Web has blurred our personal and professional lives.”
But with a little bit of communication and common sense, social networking can be beneficial for your organization and its employees. Lynch says, “sharing personal messages (intelligently) can be advantageous to your business. You should not be afraid to do it.”
Elizabeth Hannan from Social Media Today suggests two steps to empowering your employees to connect with others through social media:
- Design a corporate social policy that is an amendment to your communications policy.
- Educate and address your employee’s in an understanding fashion.
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Sources: Work/Life Balance: Keeping Your Personal & Professional Networks Separate (Sabrina Parsons, SCORE Women’s Success Blog); Opposites Attract: Corporate Social Media Policy Guidelines (Elizabeth Hannah, Social Media Today); Twitter Tips: How to Safely Blend the Personal and the Professional (C.G. Lynch, CIO Magazine)