Balancing the Line Between Personal and Professional in Social Media | Social Media Virtual Assistant - Be Social Worldwide

Balancing the Line Between Personal and Professional in Social Media

Filed Under Social Marketing

Before the social media boom, professionals had a strict policy on keeping their personal lives and work lives separate. “Leave your troubles at the door” was everyone’s motto.

But in today’s world, social media makes the line between personal and professional appear a little hazy. Everyday it gets harder to pack away all of our personal selves into a suitcase and leave it by the office door before heading into work as our professional alter-egos.

With virtually everyone having two identities, when it comes to the online environment, is it better to try and keep those two personas separate? Or is it becoming necessary to blur the line a little?

Here are a few pieces of advice that will help you merge your two selves into one without going overboard:

Decide What’s Comfortable

If the thought of combining your business account with your personal one makes you uneasy, just don’t do it.

If you aren’t comfortable with allowing your work colleagues and clients to view family photos or conversations with old high school friends, then it’s probably in your best interest to maintain two separate accounts for work and personal use.

Don’t Hide Information

When you share information on the Web, you know that it’s too much to expect privacy. If you choose to keep a separate account for personal and professional use, be honest about any information that you’re putting out there. This helps keep the doors open for communication.

If you have both positive and negative compliments being posted to your site, it’s important that you don’t delete the criticisms. Having positive reinforcement can be reassuring, but the less-than-stellar remarks can show that you are open and honest. It encourages a dialogue and tells you what areas may need improvement.

Let Your Freak-Flag Fly!

When you’re quirky, don’t be ashamed to show it off in both your personal life and your business life. By exposing yourself this way, it helps nurture a closer bond with others. They see you as being more approachable and may feel an attachment to you. This is an excellent tool for smaller businesses when competing with bigger companies.

A great example of a business professional who isn’t afraid to wave his freak flag is Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos, who created a Twitter account for his cat, @el_gato. Is it crazy and absurd? Of course. But El Gato has over 2,000 followers. This is just another little quirk that makes people see Tony and his company as a great place to do business with. Customers see him as a real person, which allows them to feel more connected.

Reconcile Your Different Personae

See each different personality as a unique conversation starter. Choosing a personal or professional identity leaves no grey area, just black and white. Through social media, you have a whole Crayola box of opportunities for showing off your true colors.

With social media networking, you don’t have to be just a business professional. You also get to be a parent, a book worm, a master of baked goods, and the biggest Bon Jovi fan this side of the Mississippi. There is no limit to what you can be when you learn to blend together your two alter-egos.

The purpose of social media is connection. To truly connect with others, be they old friends and neighbors, clients or work colleagues, you need to reveal your true personality to maintain a lasting connection.


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  • Dawn Pigoni, IVAA Member