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Personal vs. Business: Why You Need Separate Social Accounts

Debbie Miller

When you are personally immersed in social media and have a business of your own, it can be difficult to assess whether to envelop your brand into your own presence or create a second, distinct one for it. There are certainly benefits and hurdles to each approach, and it should be decided on a case-by-case basis which route is best for you.

Having a single presence on which to focus has numerous perks. It keeps everything streamlined; allows you to leverage your own name in the forefront; and presents the opportunity for an even larger fanbase with both your personal and professional connections merged.

That said, when I debuted my blog, Social Hospitality, in 2011, I opted to create a stand-alone social media presence for it. Although I already had personal Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, I believed it to be most appropriate to distinguish Social Hospitality’s online identify from my own.

As a result, I have social media accounts for both myself, Debbie, and my company, Social Hospitality, on almost every channel. While it may be more work to maintain, there are many reasons this is the right fit.

Here are a few of the reasons I made this decision.

5 Reasons Why I Separated My Social Accounts

  1. It helped solidify my company in the marketplace. We tend to “judge” businesses now based on whether or not they’re active on social. Many times when I visit a website, of any kind, one of the first things I look for are the links to their social profiles to check them out. There’d be a sense of irony if I were claiming to be a brand about social media and offering social media-geared services, but didn’t have a social brand myself. In a way, it allowed me to not only “talk the talk,” but also “walk the walk.”
  2. The audiences are different in many ways. For example, I have friends from all aspects of my life connected to me (Debbie) on Facebook — childhood, high school, college, high school and college jobs, social media friends, etc. I’ll occasionally share business-related content there, but for the most part, I keep my posts there more in line with my personality and life in general. Contrarily, on the Social Hospitality (SH) Facebook page, I share news and stories related to social media and/or the hospitality industry. It’s much more professional and tailored to the distinct audience that would follow the Social Hospitality brand.
  3. It allowed me to be more focused on building the specific kind of audience I wanted to build. I could be targeted who I pursued to interact with on social under the SH umbrella. For example, on my business’ Twitter account, I follow a wide array of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. This serves as a win/win since it aligns with my industry, and also, since I focus on how this industry is using social media, it provides first-hand insight into how they’re executing their social media strategies. I get a lot of my own social media content to share, as well as inspiration for story ideas for the blog, from simply following brands on social. For my personal Twitter account, however, I follow a broader range of people and share a wider variety of topics. Granted, there is overlap, but I like being able to differentiate the personal from the professional.
  4. Having a known company name adds a layer of credibility. Certainly, one can build credibility on their own and be more renowned than their brand. This is a regular occurrence, especially in the social sphere. But, for me, starting as an “unknown,” showcasing my reputable SH brand aided in nurturing my career and my personal brand as well. The term “Social Hospitality” has an aura of sophistication around it and boosting that in the digital space helps propel my own reputation.
  5. It adds a safety net, in a sense. I welcome the notion that there are many people who know SH but don’t know me. I feel less vulnerable as a result. It’s also brought some humor — I recently had a client send me an article she read about LinkedIn for hotels, not realizing I was the one who had written it. To me, that’s a win. To me, having a credible brand and being a credible resource, while still being able to have a personal presence as well and keep those personas balanced, is exciting.

Think about what is best for you and your personal brand. If most of the connections on your personal profiles are business ones, it may make most sense for that to be the face of your business life as well.

If you have a personal brand, how do you execute your social media presence? As a single one, or broken up like me? Let me know in the comments!

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Debbie Miller is the President of Social Hospitality, a marketing firm focusing on social media and content marketing. Debbie works with businesses and individuals on a larger range of subjects related to digital marketing and communications. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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