By the time you realise how good social media is for business, you’ll probably have a few accounts spread across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for personal reasons. This is absolutely fine, yet sometimes, the lines between personal and professional can blur, delivering consequences that can damage your reputation if your business and personal personas aren’t managed correctly.

When setting up a Facebook business page or LinkedIn Company profile it makes sense to connect to your existing friends in a bid to spread the word, however if you continue to converse with these on your business profiles as you would on your personal accounts, you could find clients and customers go elsewhere.

Imagine Reality

Forget the World Wide Web for a moment. Think of your position in reality, whether you’re a PPC management service provider of the founder of an eCommerce site, you have clients, customers and colleagues who see the professional side of you at all times.

For example, you could be the manager of an office, with a gift for motivating your staff, a zero tolerance policy on tardiness while being respected by all that cross your path. Now how would your staff react if they found out that at home your teenager walks all over you, you wear a pinny to cook on a Sunday and you call your partner every time you’re faced with a spider?

The respect from your colleagues would soon disappear.

This is why it’s so important to keep your professional and personal profiles separate and to create a professional persona that reflects the image you want to present to your customers, clients and staff.

A little charisma, a lot of charm and a great personality may attract new business but unless you’re a celebrity, your daily life won’t!

Weakness is a Flaw in Business

We all have weaknesses and to our friends and family these are accepted and seen as endearing, yet our clients and customers won’t thank you for being burdened with these. If they’ve connected with you to do business all they need to know is

  1. a) Are you capable?
  2. b) Will you deliver?
  3. c) Are you good value for money?
  4. d) Are you the best option?

They don’t want to know if you’re pulling an all-nighter to meet their deadline as your child-minder let you down, or that you’ve had an argument with your partner and so are not on top form. They don’t even want to know that you need their business to pay the mortgage this week. They just want the results; the journey to deliver is inconsequential.

Although it may feel like you’re connecting with customers on a personal level, especially when many are polite enough to empathise, they will shop elsewhere in future as they will choose a provider that doesn’t divulge the nitty gritty!

When Empathy Works

A little empathy towards your customer’s needs can work wonders, such as seeing your service through your target market’s eyes. For example, if you are an accountant you can relate about meeting the end of year tax deadline (without letting on you’re struggling) or if you’re a beauty therapist you can divulge the odd bad hair day.

This will give your professional persona a little personality without delving too deep into emotions or everyday life.

You Are a Problem Solver

Every business is a solution provider. It doesn’t matter if you’re offering a service that saves time while delivering results such as PPC management or you sell products that please your audience. You are the source that makes everything better and makes your clients and customers lives easier.

That’s why your professional persona should be bullet proof, strong, reliable, dependable and professional regardless of obstacles thrown your way. When managing your professional personas online be mindful of this line between the two and never cross it.

How to Manage Both Quickly and Easily

To manage both personal and professional personas effectively take these steps.

1) Set up completely separate accounts for each.

2) Make your personal accounts as private as you possibly can. Restrict them to people you socialise with and ensure you don’t show up in search results. You’ll find settings to control your privacy within each application.

3) Then make your business profiles as public as you possibly can. You want to show up in every search, you want to be seen and you want your message to be heard. Include contact details on every profile and make sure people know how to connect with your business online.

For just five minutes a day you can build followers and likes with your professional profiles while keeping your private life safe from prying eyes!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Professional Profiles

Unlike a personal profile you want people to find you and social media has many facilities for allowing this to happen.  Make sure your professional settings are set to public!

For a professional profile you should never:

  • Share photos of family and friends
  • Discuss football teams you support (you could easily alienate 90% of your target market if they don’t support the same team)
  • Discuss alcohol, hangovers, adult dating or wild nights out
  • Start conversations with friends, this detracts from your product or service, save it for the personal account
  • Tell everyone about your virus, technical or bacterial!
  • Air opinions on personal matters such as politics, religion or even the tardiness of your child-minder
  • Talk about your finances, such as your latest tax bill or even your latest tax rebate!
  • Invite your mum to blow your trumpet
  • Mention problems or discuss a customer or client negatively. Even if talking about them positively ensure you have their permission, they may have assumed your services were completely confidential.

Think of yourself like Superman – you’ve the chance to create a new impenetrable personality that provides a professional service at all times!