A mixup of personal and business on social

By Louis Eksteen

The world of social media causes interesting mixups. Personal and business lives are much closer these days than in a past when one’s personal and business activities were easily differentiated. Today, most people have some sort of social mixup happening in their lives.

The easy aspect of the social mixup to avoid is inappropriate personal social behaviour that catches up with you. Many articles and posts have covered this topic. To a certain extent, to little or no avail. The media is littered with social disaster stories. (Apart from an awkward personal and business social mixup, you also need to avoid some other social pitfalls as well.)

When I mention a social mixup here, I mainly refer to managing professional social media as well as personal social at the same time. To be able to manage, say, a commercial Facebook Page, one has to firstly have a personal Facebook account. In the early days of the transition of Facebook from a purely personal experience to that of an advertising company like Google, it was easy to confuse one’s personal and business personas.

Facebook’s got it right

These days Facebook is a great example of how to design an experience for one’s different identities. Essentially Facebook creates one personal account for you and add services such as Facebook Pages for business, while always existing within the framework of your own personal profile and its account.

Especially on desktop, one can easily switch between personal and Page identities. Facebook’s mobile apps still have a way to go, but they’re getting there. (Interestingly, apart from commercial Facebook Pages, the social network is also creating an internal company competitor to Microsoft’s Yammer and others, called Facebook at Work. Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.)

Anonymity on Twitter

Twitter has not emphasised real identities to the extent Facebook has. The result is that Facebook knows who you are, while Twitter is a minefield of pseudo and parody accounts. Sure, Twitter would like you to be yourself in the Twitterverse, but often you’re not. (Fake accounts is a continuing problem, also in the monetisation of Twitter.)

At least the Twitter mobile app allows you to run many different accounts at virtually the same time. This means you can relatively easily manage personal and business accounts. Just remember which hat you’re wearing when, as you really don’t want to tweet your personal political rants out on your boss’s account.

Separate accounts system

Instagram is a little bit more difficult to use in both a personal and business capacity at the same time. A brand account plus a personal account requires an endless logging in and out process. But it could actually work in your favour, as the possibility of social mixup is diminished. Tools can help.

Pinterest for business

Pinterest has created a neat business orientated account system, that allows a properly differentiated business identity. Like Instagram, you need to use these accounts separately from your personal account, which makes switching necessary. It works well to help you avoid a social mixup.

Avoid a mixup

Before you venture into social for business, you need to make sure you avoid a costly mixup and embarrassing conundrums. Simply Google “social media mistakes” to find many practical hints and tips on how to behave and what not to do.