A question new-to-social-media-entrepreneurs often ask is “How do I keep my personal life separate from my business life?” They usually understand the need to provide some personal content, but often wonder just how much personal content is still professional, and how to keep global customers out of their very personal life. Some people opt to simply not use social media personally, but many entrepreneurs do want to keep in touch with family and friends at a personal level on Facebook. Here is what I tell them about keeping things personal and professional.
Keep Your Facebook Profile Personal
There is no rule that says you have to accept friend requests from co-workers, Twitter connections, people you met at networking, and certainly not customers. If you truly want to keep your personal life separate from your business life, be judicious about who you accept as a friend on Facebook. While I’ve loosened my “rules” in the last year, I still only accept people who I have actually met and have at least a passing interest in seeing the personal side of their life. I generally don’t friend my workshop participants, people I meet at networking, or even random friends of friends. Some would say I’m missing out on the chance to connect with more people on a personal level, but I’m ok with that. If they are truly interested in connecting, we can do it in other places (Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn).
Another option on your Personal Profile is to allow public followers in your personal settings. When allowed/turned on, new potential friends/followers will have the option to simply follow you instead of requesting to be your friend. Public Followers will receive any posts you designate as Public right in their news feed as if you were friends, but they will not receive posts you designate as friends only. The only downside to this is remembering to make that privacy decision each and every time you post.
Use the Facebook Pages Feed
Did you know you can Like and Follow a Business on Facebook as your Business Page? You don’t have to Like every Page from your personal profile. Liking business-related Pages from your Business Page helps to keep your personal and business even more separate as you won’t have to wade through all the personal stuff when you’re in business mode, nor all the business stuff when you’re on personal time.
To like a Page as your Business Page, visit the Page in question, but don’t click on that Like button! Instead, look to the right of the Like button for the three dots. Click in there and then choose “Like as your Page.”
To see the news feed for all of the Pages your Business Page has liked, go to your Business Page and scroll down on the right hand side menu. Look for “See Pages Feed”. When you click on that you will only see posts from the Pages your business has followed using the above step. As a bonus, when you interact with posts in this Pages Feed, everything you do is attributed to your business, not you personally. This makes interacting with other Business Pages less time consuming and puts the focus on your Business Page instead of your personal profile.
Consider Separate Twitter and Instagram Handles
If you really like to engage in personal conversations on Twitter, or follow a lot of unrelated accounts on Instagram, it is probably worth considering having separate accounts for business and personal purposes. While including some personal stuff on your business accounts is great, if you overdo the personal, your business contacts or customers might be turned off by that. Similarly, on your personal account, if you talk too much business, your friends will tune out. It’s a fine line, but it’s certainly doable depending on how much you plan to post on these networks.
I have chosen to have a single Twitter, but separate Instagram handles. I try to keep my very personal socializing to Facebook and the personal Instagram (which I actually don’t post to that often anymore). For me, my friends and business connections are two very different audiences, so I keep them separate and only share some of the more professional personal stuff on my Twitter and business Instagram.
Implement Facebook “Sets”
Facebook recently introduced a filtering system called “sets”. This replaces the old Facebook Lists. Basically it’s a way for you to put your content into groups/albums and decide what level of visibility each Set has. It defaults to Friends, but you could change the visibility of a Set to Public, at which point anything further you add to that Set would be publicly viewable. I have the beta test for this and am just trying it out now.
Use a Public Figure-Type Facebook Page
If you’re an author, politician, speaker, or a well-known person of pretty much any kind, you could set up a type of Business Page called a Public Figure Page. This allows you to have the best of both the business and personal worlds in one. It functions as a Page, so you would have access to advertising and insights, and it’s completely public, so anyone can follow you on this Page. It would be a completely separate space from your personal profile where you can now share freely with those whom you allow into your circle of friends. A Public Figure Page is a great place to create your personal brand separate from your corporate Business Page.
There are lots of ways to keep your personal social media separate from your professional social media if you put a little thought into the strategy behind it. One person could take advantage of all these options, or only one, it’s up to you to decide how many profiles you can manage. Let me know in the comments what options you are using and how that’s working for you!