Feb 18, 2009

Social Media: Business or Personal?

I have been discovering social media this year. I joined Facebook and reconnected with a lot of former and current friends and then I joined Twitter (@KimGuymon). I'm no expert on social media but I really feel like it's the year of Social Media Marketing and that businesses should decide if it's for them or not. Blogs, Facebook and Twitter all have their virtues when it comes to keeping in contact with friends and customers. You just need to clearly define your goals before you start so that you can stay on track.

When I joined Facebook, I decided that most of my friends there will be personal friends so my Facebook updates are almost all personal thoughts, activities and feelings. I have some business friends, too, but Facebook is more personal than business.

When I joined Twitter, I decided to make it more business than personal. The people I follow and those following me are more in it for the business side of my life than the personal one. Consequently, my tweets are nearly 100% about what I'm doing with my business life. Now, my tweets feed into my Facebook page so my FB friends get a mix, but I know they'll forgive me.

This blog works on the same principle. This blog is all business. If I post something personal, I tie it in with my business most of the time.

Clearly defining what you're doing where is important in social media. I honestly don't appreciate following a business at Twitter only to have them continually tweet about their personal lives. I have actually un-followed people because they were doing that. I don't mind the occasional personal tweet, but what you had for lunch, how high your child's fever is or what color your new shoes are isn't why I'm following you - especially if your Twitter name is your business name.

There are advantages to tweeting business stuff - a tweet is short. You can tweet out what's new in your online store, a coupon, or what you're currently working on in your business.

Facebook gives you more opportunity to express yourself with longer posts. And, you can set up a page for your business and invite your customers who are also your FB friends to become fans. Then their friends see that they've become fans of your business and will hopefully come check you out.

BUT, because of the short nature of the posts you can do at both Twitter and Facebook, you don't have much room to mix business and personal messages together.

A blog gives you a longer format to express your opinion. You can mix a personal story in a post about your new page kit and have it be totally relevant to your business blog. Our industry is very personal and our customers want to know more about us. But, you still need to be conservative in what you post - don't air your dirty laundry and think it won't potentially come back to bite you. Many in our industry have said too much at times and sometimes their fan base turned on them and used some of their personal lives for public ridicule.

So, if you're participating in social media, evaluate your goals for each form and then be mindful of those goals as you post.

1 comment:

Nicole Amsler said...

I too use Facebook for my friends and family. The occasional client and business associate sneaks in but that's okay--they have already witnessed my personality.

I use LinkedIn for business only. After every networking event or random happenstance, I can email my new business contact and say, "Hey, are you on LinkedIn? Let's connect." It gives me a reason to follow up.

Great post! As always,

Nicole Amsler