Social Media Myth
Conventional wisdom has indicated that keeping a wide separation between personal and professional life is key to getting ahead. In the age of new media, this order of business is quickly approaching an impossibility. For many young professionals and entrepreneurs who are immersed in the world of branding and social media, leaving work at 5:00PM just isn't an option. While maintaining completely separate social media accounts is possible, it isn't always practical. Feel free to bend the rules a little and adopt a customized, personal strategy to mix business with pleasure.
Know your Plan Develop a clear strategy for your network and content on each social media platform. Few people have time to maintain an active personal and professional presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and blogs. Adjust privacy settings on accounts that will be maintained for personal use. You may decide to use Twitter and LinkedIn for professional promotion, and Facebook for personal friends only. Examine whether your professional contacts are likely to be driven away by personal actions. If your business is search engine optimization and your hobby is interior decorating, it could be wise to maintain two separate Pinterest memberships.
Always Promote your Brand Even when keeping work and play separate, don't be afraid to display your professional accomplishments to friends and family. Everyone in your personal networks should at least know the nature of your business and brand. Word of mouth referrals still matter. If your Aunt isn't entirely sure exactly how you can help her friend refinance her condo, she's a lot less likely to drop your name. Don't overwhelm your personal contacts with the minute details of your business, but be sure to maximize personal recommendations by selling yourself a little within personal networks.
Friend Selectively Even the most dedicated smart phone addict can't always delete inappropriate content before it hits their feed. While keeping strict tabs on social media is second nature for many, protect your professional contacts on social media by selectively friendly. Ask yourself before accepting a friend request from your fun-loving cousin if they are likely to behave in a manner that could drive away business. Make a strict policy of not including people who could post harmful information faster than you can delete it.
Avoid TMI Remaining relevant to both personal and professional contacts on social media requires walking a very fine line. Few people want to read a blog which is so focused on SEO that the content has ceased to be interesting. Social media is supposed to be fun and interactive, so don't sacrifice your genuine approach. We can guarantee that none of your contacts want to know that you got a terrible case of food poisoning on your Caribbean Cruise, but a photograph of a stunning sunset over the Bahamas doesn't cross the line. A glowing recommendation for a local restaurant or a photo of your son with a soccer trophy is almost always acceptable. Reserve details on a break-up or wild night out for personal text messages or a private blog.
The prevalence of social media in both business and daily interactions has thrown many professionals for a loop. Figuring out a plan and sticking to it is critical to maintain relationships with both your professional and personal network. What works for your business, brand and connections might not be the same as the best approach for your coworker. Keeping business and pleasure completely separate in the age of social media likely isn't the best approach.
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