Without a doubt the question I get asked most about social media is “Should I have separate business and personal accounts?” I’ve had this dilemma myself, and while I can advise individuals on what might be best for them, the final decision is heavily dependent on you and your situation. Here are some things you need to consider when deciding what structure to use with your social media profiles:
Separate Personal And Business Social Media Profiles
- Can be seen as more credible as a face is being put to a business (if you have the business in your bio etc.)
- You can be open and express opinions on your personal account without the fear of offending customers/clients
- You won’t be held professionally accountable for your personal views
- Separate accounts give your personal life a layer of privacy as you can control what outsiders can see of your personal profile while still being able to interact with potential customers through the safety glass of your business profile
- Great if you’re one of those people who shares things online that wouldn’t be appropriate in a business setting
- Multiple accounts take more time to maintain and grow
- More content is needed to keep them both unique
- Your audience is split – E.g. Some people may follow your personal profile but not know what you do and therefore may not follow your business account
I’d recommend this structure for businesses that sell products, or service-based businesses that are made up of more than one person.
Personal Profile Only
- Gives your brand more personality
- The balance of business and more casual posts can help keep your following engaged
- You may need to watch what you post if potential customers/clients are following you
- Jokes/more casual posts may be viewed as unprofessional
- Opinions posted/debates had may harm your reputation
I’d recommend this for one-man service-based businesses, such as graphic designers, freelancers and music artists.
Example of someone using this structure well: Make It With Fifi
Business Profile Only
- If you damage your reputation and tarnish your brand in anyway, you can start again with a new brand and most people won’t know it’s the same person
- Lots of privacy
- It can be hard to show personality/express opinions
- People can’t put a face to the business, which can make it harder to build strong relationships with customers
I’d recommend this for one-man service-based businesses who aren’t really into social media on a personal level or want some privacy surrounding their identity and who they are.
Example of someone using this structure well: Explicit LDN
Having a business profile only is a lot less common than the other options, so I reached out to Explicit to ask why he’s chosen to set up his social media in this way. He said:
“I’m not really a fan of social media and I thought that my content shouldn’t be judged by my character, but by the quality of the work. I also wanted to establish my brand as something serious and I felt that leaving my face and personal opinions out of it would make the brand seem more credible.”
Still unsure? Here’s how I came to my decision:
Before I decided to focus on my personal brand, I had a music blog separate to my personal blog, and with that music blog I also had separate social media accounts. This often meant that I was spreading myself too thin, both in terms of my writing and where I was posting it as well as what I was posting on social media. When I went to gigs, I wanted to post pictures on my personal profiles, but I felt like they should be posted on my business profiles (and I obviously didn’t want to post them on both. Since focusing on my personal brand and only using my Aysh Banaysh profiles, I’ve been able to grow my presence and reach a lot more effectively and put out more content. However, when I became frustrated at inappropriate behaviour, many people pointed out this is why I should have a separate business account. Thing is, this simply isn’t true. When I had my old business Twitter with the site’s logo as my avi, I was still subject to inappropriate behaviour, as if knowing I was female was all anyone needed to know.
However, while I keep my main business (music marketing and social media) all under the hood of Aysh Banaysh, I do use separate profiles for my online magazine, Eat More Cake. In this situation, separating Eat More Cake from my core brand was necessary as:
- It targets an entirely different audience to that of my personal account
- It generates enough much content on its own to warrant the need for its own account
- The majority of the articles aren’t mine, and I wouldn’t want people to get the impression that they were if they didn’t read the byline. I’d rather promote their work by sharing it directly from the Eat More Cake Profiles to avoid this assumption.
- I don’t always agree with the opinions some of the writers express, and while I admire their work and want discussions to be had surrounding the topic, I wouldn’t want those opinions to be mistaken for mine.
- I didn’t want my strong opinions shared on my own profiles to damage the Eat More Cake brand
Like I said, it all depends on you and your situation, you may even try one structure out (like I did) and decide that it doesn’t work for you down the line. It’s not the end of the world if you have to try out a few different things, just make sure you thoroughly test out each structure before dismissing it, it may be that you just need a social media management tool to make things a bit easier (especially if you’ve chosen to have both business and personal social media accounts).
How are your social media profiles set up? Why did you choose that structure?