Over the last few years, many individuals have started to expand their horizons to use Social Media for business, and many are asking the question—“Does it make sense for me to have separate personal and business social media accounts?” The answer is that it depends, so let’s talk through your options below.
There are some companies that require individuals to have separate accounts, and these companies tend to be more sensitive in making sure social media activity is compliant, archived, and company appropriate. These are all real concerns for a company, organization, or network. The bigger problem here is that these companies are trying to control every aspect of social media activities, even posting comments on behalf of their employees, representatives, distributors, and managers. We have seen that in most cases having separate accounts can be good for the company/organization, but it makes it difficult to build relationships.
There are other companies that are more progressive in their empowerment. They know that their employees and representatives are always representing the company—whether it’s on the phone, via email, at lunch, at cocktail parties, at networking events, etc. The difficulty here is that personal accounts are just personal accounts, so when an employee leaves the attachment of the personal account to the company goes away.
Combining the Two
I think the real answer is somewhere in between. Looking at the two quick positions discussed above, the best case scenario is finding the “best of both worlds.” Think of it as a business account with some personal mixed in. Sales is about relationships, and sometimes in building real relationships it helps to share who you are as a person.
Let me be clear—there’s a fine line when you are co-mingling personal and business communications, and I recommend that it’s always better to be more cautious when including personal communications. This is where the direct selling industry is a perfect example because independent individuals and distributors have built their businesses on sharing something that has greatly helped them personally and professionally. Social media and the use of many different tools (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, etc.) make it easier to share the great news of how something has changed your life.
I have said it before and I will say it again—Direct Selling is a great place to use social media for sales because the Direct Selling industry has always been about Social Selling.