LiveJournal sent me a note today that my account there is 19-years old. Once upon a time, I was a fan fiction author on that platform, and the account is still out there in the ether of the interwebs entertaining fans of long-gone sci-fi shows. (Don’t judge.)
After reading the email and having a small crisis about being solidly middle-aged, I thought back on all of the social media accounts I have established over the years… MySpace, LiveJournal, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Some under my name, some under pseudonyms. The one thing that all of my social media profiles have in common is this: I will never use them to post business content.
I know, I know. You’re probably looking at me and thinking, “Why would you create more social media profiles for your business when you have all those out there?”
My answer to you is simple – the purpose of all of those profiles and all of the content they contain is personal, and my business content and my personal content in digital spaces is meant to be very, very different. Plus, my audience – though it may overlap – is different in both places and, therefore, my content needs to be tailored to my audience.
Time and energy are precious assets to a small businessperson, so maintaining distinctly separate social media profiles and accounts can take up some of those assets you may want to spend elsewhere.
Let’s break down why it’s worth your time to do so:
Grandma Betty just wants to see the kids.
You launched your business and announced it excitedly to all of your friends and family on social media. And that is perfectly fine – support of friends and family is really important to small businesses. But your friends and family shouldn’t be your target audience for your business (more on that in a minute), and your business content shouldn’t be sandwiched in between pictures of your beach vacation and the recipe for Aunt Estelle’s pinwheel cookies.
It’s okay to have some personal content included with your business content – it shows you are human and makes you and your business relatable. But there should be a distinction between your personal content and your business content, and Grandma Betty shouldn’t have to shuffle through ads for your artwork before she gets to see the kids’ school photos.
Aunt Estelle is probably not your ideal customer.
While your friends and family want to support you, unless you’re creating something they want to purchase, they aren’t your target audience. You want your social media content to be targeted and thoughtful and directed at those people most likely to buy what you’re selling. It’s great to think that your target audience is “everyone,” but it isn’t realistic, and you could waste a great deal of time and money trying to make content that fits the bill. (We talk a bit more about determining your ideal audience here.)
Establishing your business brand is important.
Everyone has a personal brand. A coworker of mine once described your personal brand as “the way you show up to everyone around you.” Now, your personal brand at work may be different than at home (some would argue it should be), but it’s really what people think of you when they hear your name or see your picture. Your business has a brand that is separate from your personal brand, and having a separate social media presence allows that distinction to be made clear to your customers. To be fair, there are situations in which a business brand and personal brand overlap (authors, artists, realtors, practitioners of professional services, influencers, etc.), but keeping a unique and business-only social media profile allows for your business brand to take off without any added baggage.
“I don’t care.”
Finally, let’s be honest. If your business is tinting windows, your customers don’t necessarily want to see the pictures of you on vacation in the Florida Keys fishing for tarpon. They want to know that your staff is the best in the area for turn-around time on returning a finished car. If you’re the chef in a local breakfast joint, your customers don’t want to hear that your toddler just learned how to potty on her own. They want to know your morning specials and that you’re going to be serving mimosas with Sunday brunch. The more you muddy the waters between your personal content and your business content, the more likely you are to have your customers go to another provider who doesn’t waste their time with irrelevant information.
Again, strategic updates regarding the things you are doing in your personal life are worthwhile and can help your customers see you (and your staff) in a much more relatable light. It humanizes your business and can certainly work to make the connection between you and your audience. But those types of posts should be the exception, not the rule.
In the end, it’s beneficial to create and curate a business profile on social media for your business. It might be a little extra work, but it will pay for itself in the end. And save your personal updates for your personal social media account – Grandma Betty and Aunt Estelle are waiting for those vacation pictures.
If you have questions about how to utilize your social media accounts or want help on creating content for your feeds, drop me a note. I’d love to talk!