The Social Media Balancing Act for Professionals and Business Owners

If you’re a professional or a small business owner, it’s important to not only stay on top of your business social media accounts, but your own personal ones as well. As social media marketing experts, we get a lot of questions about this, so let’s take a look at some of the most common inquiries.

Why is it important to keep up both personal and business channels?

Maintaining even a single social media account can be time-consuming. Thinking about what you’re posting, collecting and curating content to share, and keeping up with responses and followers can seem overwhelming at first. As a result, it might seem easier to just really put all your emphasis on your professional pages rather than maintaining both. The main problem with this is that no matter how private you keep your personal life, it’s inevitable that the two become linked. You can’t always control what personal posts get shared or spread around, so it’s easier if you simply aim to develop both simultaneously.

What this means is that you should keep up an active presence on both your professional and private accounts, while keeping in mind that the two are connected, even if you don’t intend for them to be. Always consider your business audience when posting on your private page. Simultaneously, make sure that if your personal posts are found, you appear to be a real, genuine human being, not a Twitter “egg” or a proxy for your business page.

What is considered “professional” content?

For your professional account, your goal should always be to post with your target audience in mind. When sharing content or writing posts, make sure it’s something that brings value to your followers, doesn’t blow up their news feed, and doesn’t strike too controversial a tone. Make sure to only share things which are high quality. This means that you need to read and understand any articles you share, verify that any re-tweets or shared content are from reputable sources, etc. It can take a lot more time to make sure that the content you’re posting is “professional”, but, in the end, the outcome will be much better than if you hastily post whatever you come across just so you can meet a certain quota.

What is appropriate for my personal account?

Your personal account is obviously going to take a different tone than your professional account, but you should always keep in mind that the two things are never going to be completely separate. Although you might hold strong political views, for instance, you may want to hold back from sharing too aggressively, even on your personal page. On the other hand, you do want to give a warm and inviting vibe to your personal account. If your customers or clients do find your personal account, they want to find a person who takes time to share their personal lives with their friends, has a vibrant social life, and interacts with their friends and community. When consumers see a business owner as a real person with their own life, it can create a deeper sense of connection, which can become valuable to your business.

Why can’t I just have one or the other?

As you know, social media is a time-consuming enterprise, and it can be tempting to just focus on doing one single social media account, per platform. The thing is, there has to be a separation. Advertising your business or talking about your industry from your personal page is likely to come across extremely confusing and unprofessional. When you’re posting pictures of your children’s graduation one minute and talking about an exciting new business venture right after, your profile will appear scattered and incoherent. People won’t know what to expect.

On the other hand, if you just have a business profile, people will wonder why you don’t have a personal profile. Even if they can’t see much of it, like on Facebook, consumers will often look into business owners with whom they’re considering doing business. If you simply don’t exist, they’re likely to be turned off by a business owner who seems reclusive or unapproachable.

Do I even need social media for my business?

The answer to this is simple. If your business is customer facing, then yes. Alternatively, you could ask yourself: Do my customers use social media? The answer to this question is almost certainly yes, unless you’re marketing to a very unique market who are exclusively off the grid.

In this day and age, nearly all demographics are active social media users. Depending on your target audience, the exact social media channel they’re using may vary, but you still need to have a presence. People have grown accustomed to finding out about new products, keeping up with news and updates, and even solving customer support issues through social media. If your business does not have an active and visible social media presence, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Your competition definitely has social media; you need to, as well.

How often do I need to post for each one?

Post frequency is another balancing act unto itself. If you rarely post, your presence will likely be buried by other things and your visibility will suffer. If you post too much, your followers will feel overwhelmed and inundated, becoming that much more likely to hit that “unfollow” button. As a result, there is a huge amount of data out there about how often to post and when to post, and it can vary between social media sites.

  • Facebook – Post once a day between 1:00pm and 4:00pm.
  • Twitter – No more than 15 tweets per day, spaced an hour apart throughout the day. This can include re-tweets.
  • Pinterest – 10 pins per day, spaced an hour apart throughout the day. This can include re-pins.
  • LinkedIn – Post once a day, between 10:00am-11:00am.
  • Google+ – Post twice per day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
  • Instagram – 1-2 posts per day, once in the morning, once at night.

These rules are the general rule of thumb for both professional and personal sites, although there is likely a lot of information available which may impact each of these sites, depending upon your audience, your product, and your industry. Get all the information you can regarding how often to post and make sure to adjust according to your own personal experience and results. Social media is all about staying flexible and doing what works!