In this climate of deeply divided political and cultural issues, it’s very easy to offend someone just by replying, retweeting even posting on the wrong social media account.
Now, if you happen to work in politics or a religious organization, this article isn’t for you. It’s expected to see those types of posts on your social media.
But, if you are trying to sell a product or service to the average consumer or to business people, you need to make sure you don’t alienate a potential customer by liking or commenting on a political or religious post.
Keep in mind that just about everything you do online is public.
So if someone Googles your name, more than likely they’ll find your personal accounts as well as professional/business accounts. If you post political or religious views on your personal accounts – that’s OK – it’s expected.
Here’s how the individual social media networks breakdown when it comes to personal vs. business:
Facebook – You need a personal account to create a business page. However, because of Facebook’s new transparency rules, you have to be connected to your business page. If you’re a Realtor or consultant and use your name as a business, have a business page that’s obvious it’s for business only. Don’t use the same picture for your personal account and your business page! You need to easily tell them apart. Put a professional-looking picture rather than a casual one on the business page.
LinkedIn – This is the professional network so, unless you work in politics or a religious organization, keep politics and religion out of your posts. There may be an occasion that politics affect business, like trade with China. In that case, if it’s relevant for your business, then it’s OK to share a news item.
Twitter – Here you should have 2 separate accounts. The personal one should be in your name and the professional/business one with your company name and logo. Use TweetDeck to mange both accounts on one tool. But be careful! Watch which account you’re posting to. (I have, more times than I’d care to admit, sent a personal post to the business account by accident. You can go and quickly delete it, but be aware that in the few seconds that it was out there, someone probably saw it.)
Pinterest – Similar to Twitter, you can have 2 separate accounts. If you set up an account on Pinterest.com, you’re setting up a personal account. To set up a business account, go to business.pinterest.com. If you want to convert a personal account into a business one, go to the business site and easily switch. However, make sure you delete any personal boards before converting to the business account. If you want, you can “share” boards between your business and personal accounts, but the boards appear on both accounts. It’s better to have business-related boards on your personal account than personal boards on your business account.
Instagram – Owned by Facebook, it’s easy to accidentally mix business with personal. Instagram is only mobile and visuals – photos, graphics & short videos. Connect and share to FB at the same time. However, make sure that your personal Instagram account connects to your personal FB page and your business Instagram connects to your FB business page. AND watch which account you’re posting to! You can have more than one account registered in the mobile app, so make sure you have your picture on the personal one and your business logo on your business one to tell the difference. (If you don’t think your business needs a logo, then you need to watch my Branding class.) Furthermore, if you’re business is B2B and not very visual, then you really shouldn’t even be on Instagram. I only have a personal account.
YouTube — Here, too, you should keep personal and business separate. Don’t use your business account to like and save videos that you personally want to watch later. Use a personal account for that. You can have a personal account just for viewing and entertainment without posting any videos. I do. People can see which videos you’ve liked — by giving a thumbs up — and which you’ve saved to playlists. A potential client can easily click on “videos liked” on your channel and see them. You don’t want to offend anybody and people these days are easily offended.
On the business accounts you want everything public. That’s the idea. You’ll get found that way. Moreover, on your personal social media accounts, you can choose to keep different areas private or only visible to friends and connections. Each network has privacy settings.
Commenting — Watch what you comment on. Be nice. Don’t insult people. Yes, there are stupid idiots out there, and you may not agree with everything posted, but putting a vile comment on someone’s post may come back to haunt you. You don’t know if a potential client is seeing it.