When Personal And Professional Brands Meet…Follow These Guidelines For More Authentic Engagement And Clear Boundaries To Protect Your Rep.
Hilary Jastram Thursday, June 21, 2018
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When we are running a business we have to stay woke! (Thank you to my children for keeping me up-to-date with the slang…or is “woke” out now?) Woke means you must be aware of how your personal and professional brands intersect. When you are an entrepreneur, you simply can’t take the chance that you will damage your business with ill-applied behavior.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you posting personal drama on your page?
Are you high-handedly discussing politics?
Are you sharing crude videos with your friends?
Are you needlessly spamming people?
Let me explain. Before you jump to a defense, there is a reason I am asking you these pointed questions. Don’t answer yet because I am going to ask you one last question.
Are you trying to grow your business or become an influencer?
If the answer to that question is “yes,” the answers to the prior four questions should be nos.
As entrepreneurs, our relationships between our personal and professional brands are inextricably muddy. Several years ago, the goal was to ensure that your professional Facebook page (or all your social media pages for that matter), used differing marketing strategies. You had a haven for your friends, where you could cut up if you wanted, but your brand page would tell a different story.
Now, the majority of entrepreneurs (at least, the ones I know), have welcomed in all sorts of people onto their personal page to build their networks. The personal page has become an offshoot of the professional page.
This does not mean constant advertising is the goal here, but allowing people into your privileged circle invites them to see another side of you…a deeper authenticity. In getting to know you, you not only gain a friend, but you will also pique interest in your company.
So let’s define what you are lenient about on your page.
Some best practices in this overwhelming social media age:
1. Your Face. You are presenting a face of your brand, if you are intending on being a leader, understand why people gravitate to leaders. They want the reassurance of following someone who has been there, done that and survived. Who has emerged from their hardships with hope.
2. Politics. Yes, it is hard to keep a lid on it when it comes to politics. I used to engage in what I deemed thoughtful discussion, but have since realized…I changed no one’s mind and in business, it is not about offending another person who may have a different belief. It is about presenting the fact that you are a political person. There is nothing wrong with that. Our world needs help. But you will lose business if people perceive you to be a person who will draw them into an uncomfortable discussion.
3. No Drama. A hard fast rule would be to never post about the bickering you get into with your partner, for example. The bigger picture is that it paints you as a petty person, incapable of controlling their emotions. Worse, you may be perceived as a person who likes to inflict pain, or who doesn’t care about the pain you cause. People expect you to conduct a relationship privately. But this rule also applies to engaging in comments with trolls, whether they attack you personally or professionally. You are modeling grace and taking the high road as a leader. This is one of a good leader’s best qualities.
4. Sales Strategy…or Not. There is still a marked line between your personal page and your company page. You can run sales and other promos on your pro page all day long (not the greatest strategy, but acceptable as far as etiquette goes), but do not do the same thing on your personal page. It is about delivering the expectations to your friends. They anticipate that you will let down your guard and interact with people without bringing business into it at every turn. So yes, operate your business. Let your friends know what you do, but remember to let your hair down, too, to show your human side. In the same vein, if you want to get close to someone and even consider working with them in the future, treat them like you give a damn. Don’t just go in for the kill. You know what? You might as well say, “Nice to meet you, whatever your name is that I didn’t bother to remember. I am only talking to you regarding business because I don’t think you merit any use of my valuable time but to quickly pitch you. P.S. Buy my (insert fabulous, life-changing thing here).”
I am not advocating that you become a plastic Facebook user or Tweeter either. Far from it. You don’t always have to be up. Yes, you can have a bad day, but resist insulting people, throwing people under the bus, and showing everyone your circus and your monkeys. I don’t happen to believe in fake either. But I DO believe in positive. I do believe in sharing lessons in the name of prosperity and growth. I do believe that we can push ourselves to be more respectful of our audiences. I do believe in setting a healthy example.
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