There are lots of folks out there who use social media purely for personal reasons. They use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, they use Twitter as a source of news, Instagram as a source of inspiration.
Then there are those who use it primarily for professional reasons; they have a business, and they are trying to sell their products or services by generating valuable content online.
I am somewhere in the middle. I use social media both for personal and for professional reasons. When I’m teaching, I often get asked if it’s appropriate to combine the personal and the professional, or if you should have separate accounts on social networks for your personal life and your business life.
Really, it’s up to you. For Facebook, I’ve chosen to have a Facebook page for this blog and my social media consulting business. However, I also have a very active public personal Facebook account where I post stuff about my food blog, and the cookbook I’m currently writing.
For Twitter, I decided not to have 2 accounts. Everything I post goes through @rebeccacoleman, and it’s a mish-mash of social media, food, and personal stuff. Instagram is primarily food and personal stuff, you’ll see very little of my social media life there. Snapchat focuses again, primarily on food and my personal life, like events I’m attending. LinkedIn, however? 100% professional all the time. No food posts here, my LinkedIn is all about social media.
So, it really depends on the social network and its purpose, but it also depends upon you and how you are branding yourself.
What’s important to recognize is the mindset of your followers. If they are on social media for personal reasons, they are looking for specific things: connection, inspiration, news and updates, or simply just scrolling because they are killing time while waiting in line at the bank. If they’re there for professional reasons, they are most likely looking to update their knowledge and skills, looking for connections that will help them, career-wise, or they are looking for work opportunities.
So, it’s important to be clear about that as you are posting.
For the most part:
- Facebook: most people use it for personal reasons, but Facebook Pages, obviously, are for business.
- Twitter: people use it as a source of news, so it can be equally either personal or professional.
- LinkedIn: business, all the way. Don’t post photos of your kid’s birthday party here.
- Instagram: inspiration lives here, and that could be either personal or professional, but many people use it for brand-building.
- Snapchat: Snap is a deeply personal social network, so you’d do best to stay away from anything too commercial and salesy, even if you are using it for business. It’s great for building your personal brand, though. Offer useful little tidbits via video.
- YouTube/Video: Again, can be both, but many people use YT as a source of learning. So generate how-to videos featuring your product or service.
Here’s today’s infographic:
Infographic courtesy of Hubspot.