Let’s talk about social media … specifically personal vs. professional social media practice. One of the most common questions I get from clients is “Should I have a personal account and keep my work on my professional account?” - YES! Why? Simple. There are most likely people out there that are really interested in the work that you do that don’t care what you do in your personal time and vis-versa. The same people that are interested in the client work you do aren’t necessarily the same people that are interested in what you had for breakfast. Now, there are definitely exceptions to every rule, but especially today with the growing popularity and importance in stories and live streaming across platforms, it’s important to draw a line.
Some questions to ask before posting, adding a story or streaming:
- Would I share this information with a prospective client? There is a difference between being human and being personal. Being human means sharing information about your life that makes you relatable, approachable and gives your audience a sense of transparency that they are being brought into your life in a meaningful way. Sharing things like food you love, some photos of family and friends, travels, but it’s a fine line because these same people don’t necessarily want to see your snaps of being hungover after a night out or a million photos of just you and your baby, it’s a fine line but an important one. Now, the greatest exception to this rule is obviously if the above mentioned things ARE part of your brand (aka bloggers). The reason you follow a blogger is to be a part of their life, get their recommendations on brands, and feel like they’re your new BFF, this is not the case with let’s say a calligrapher. The business of a blogger is personal, the business of a calligrapher is to create beautiful handwritten things.
- Does it fit with my brand? This is one that even I have struggled with, and as you may have noticed, have done a lot of work on in 2017. A cohesive brand. I try to stick to main categories in all that I post, talk about and share. And I try to do so in a consistent, visually appealing way. With the new algorithms and the increasing importance in consistency in posting and sharing visually appealing posts, this has never been more important. I can’t tell you how often I stop following a brand or blogger because of a change in their posting. Suddenly an event planner is posting a photo of their dog or a fashion blogger is trying to share parenting advice… Staying on brand is so important for clients and personal contacts alike.
- Why do people care about this? I don’t think anyone should ever pretend that every person that follows you cares about every single post. That is just not reasonable. But still, ask yourself that question with every thing you post. Who is this post for? Will they identify with what I am sharing? I am well aware that most of the people in my personal life only follow me because they are amazingly supportive humans so the more client facing work posts are not as interesting, but I try to speak to them anyway and vis versa, when I am trying to share my portfolio and need to be more detailed in explaining what I am sharing it’s important to speak to those people, so they care.
I’m sharing this now because I recently took my own advice and finally split my personal and professional accounts. I realized that it was important to have a place where I could just post the fun, life moments that instagram is for and a place where I can share the work I do every day and the things that inspire me to do that work. If nothing else, I hope that these pointers help to guide those that are struggling with creating meaningful content for their social presence.