Successiory is focused on recharging, this summer, for ourselves and for our clients and their customers. This month, in June, we're focused on the importance of "me-time" (wrote a personal post on this recently), something we forget far too often in the midst of the rat race (*smile*).
As a social media consultant, what I'm about to harp on may seem counter-intuitive. It isn't. At the end of the day, if you or your prospects are turned-off by social media, I'm not doing my job. That means, I have to take care of you, your comfort on social media, first. Only then do I have a leg to stand on when I start advising that you use the channels as they were meant to be used to get the most out of them - for business or personal use.
Why Separate Personal and Professional
I'm a firm believer in living life on your terms, so if you don't see a need for distinguishing between the two, then you don't have to. Some industries - arts and crafts, motivational speaking, musicians - make it 'okay' to combine those aspects of your life online. Others, make it mandatory to separate. Across the board, however, here are a few reasons to consider.
- Privacy. Some channels have been violating basic privacy expectations, quite boldly. Public Facebook timelines, 'incognito' connecting of Google accounts. Everyone's "life is an open book", until you get a stalker, change jobs or change your mind.
- Family. Many families live 'across the continents' and social media has provided a platform for us to share our lives around the world. While there is nothing inappropriate in your familial interactions, there are a million reasons to limit others' access to them.
- Industry. As alluded to earlier, some professions do not want your 'beach body' or 'favorite recipes' showing up in feeds. If you're in those professions, you know you'll lose followers fast. There are also some people you should only connect with professionally.
- Focus. Some people need to compartmentalize for peace of mind. Their jobs are stressful or their personalities demand compartments to relax. They should be free to unwind online. Others use different channels to focus on different areas of their lives.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus are all examples of channels that I'm active on, and walk the fine line to keep my personal and professional interactions separate. I'll try to touch on the main points for each, to help you draw your own lines.
- Facebook: accounts, pages and groups. Facebook only allows you to have one account (personal), which gives access to pages and groups. Businesses and individuals use pages to establish themselves professionally. Groups, however, pose more of a problem. Only accounts (not pages) can join groups, which means professional Facebook groups still pose a problem, if you're following Facebook's rules. Still, you can change your group privacy settings.
- Twitter: separate accounts. As Twitter is a newsfeed, you should ensure that your newsfeed contains content you want to read and share. Separate personal and professional accounts allow you to keep those streams and audiences separate too.
- Pinterest: separate accounts. Just as with Twitter, the streams that inspire you professionally, may be different from those that inspire you in your personal realm.
- Google Plus: pages, profiles, Gmail (plus). Google has combined (even when we said no) our YouTube, Blogger (blogspot), Maps, Pages and more, via our Google Plus Accounts, using our Gmail accounts. I propose one of two options. (1) A personal Google Plus Account with a professional Google Plus Page, or (2) 2 Google Plus Accounts with the option of a professional Google Plus Page.
Like I said, this is not for everyone. Some people are their brands, in that their professional and personal social media interactions are one and the same. For you, perhaps this is less important, but I would still advise that you "give yourself an 'out'", in the event that privacy begins to become an issue.
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