Where do you draw the line between personal and professional networking?

In this blog I will give you an overview of how I use different sites for business and personal use.

As social networking begins to be apart of most businesses marketing and even customer service strategies where does your professional presence stop and your personal presence begin?

Personal social media sharing will be more than likely be unsuitable for your professional network. Most people let their hair down a little in their private life. This does not make it appropriate for people who you are trying to convince you should be their next recruit or pitching for a multi million pound contract to see.

Companies have begun removing the ban on sites like Facebook, giving employees access. Social media has entered the world of corporate marketing and gives a voice to the people within an organisation. Some organisations must be scared about how these brand ambassadors are going to be viewed within the networks.

I have a personal Facebook account for connecting and sharing with friend plus a personal YouTube channel where I rarely publish anything but mainly use for aggregating video feeds from the channels I subscribe to. I don’t use the other sites personally.

I have this blog which isn’t specifically aligned to my day job but may appeal to a business reader.

My LinkedIn account is 100% business focused. I am connected with a few friends but I wouldn’t share personal information with this network.

My Twitter account I initially set up for personal use but never used it so I culled all the celebs I was following as they never said anything I was interested in. I now follow business leaders, coleagues, competitors, social media and CRM micro bloggers.

I have set up a professional Facebook “page” and not another profile. Which I use to share content updates and links to blog posts for people who may prefer to subscribe to my content that way. I know other people who have two profiles. A profile gives you more freedom to add people rather than let them come to you but in my opinion I am less likely to confuse the two if I have a profile and a page.

I have put the basics of a profile together on Google+ which I would intend to use for business purposes but although they have 90 million users I only know two of them! When they extend the Hootsuite application to use Google+ for personal use and not just enterprise use I will start to push content to this site.

I have a professional YouTube channel which I plan to use as I develop my blog to add some video media to my various channels. I will use this channel to broadcast Vlogs (video blogs) and screen casts showing demos of software and sites around the web which I feel may create useful content.

This is the core of my social media strategy. I will be developing the strategy over time to improve the content, relevance and the timeliness of my communications.

What is your strategy for dividing your network between personal and business use? is it easy for you to draw the line or are there some grey areas?

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  1. LinkedIn is easy, as is my blog. Both are heavily weighted towards business and any personal stuff is probably deliberately designed to give my business some personality (I’m not saying if that’s good or bad!). I’ve not gone over to Facebook because I’m struggling with the cross over, and my Twitter account started out strictly business, but has morphed into a conversation between the people I know locally, plus some great entertainment (have you come across Professor Unwin yet?).

    I’m afraid I have to admit this “strategy” has evolved, rather than being a deliberate plan. Your blog has made me think if I should revisit it.

  2. Chris – I agree with much you say.

    I revealed in my blog earlier this week, that the old dinosaur in me has taken to LinkedIn corporately in a big way, but I’ve totally avoided Facebook and Twitter. If I Tweeted, the Joey Barton in me would very definitely land me in bother.

    I too have been very selective in who I admit to my LinkedIn network and have few real friends included, despite the fact that I seem to be attracting an increasing number of “friends”. I’m finding that method of contact increasingly frustrating.

    But the thing that bugs me the most is the frankly boring LinkedIn Tweet posts that increasingly seem to appear. One of the reasons I have not joined Twitter is because of what I see on LinkedIn.

    I’m really not interested in seeing posts on what I regard as a corporate vehicle which tells me somebody is stuck on the M25, their train is late, they are taking their cat to the vet, its mid morning cake time or they are eating a cheese and pickle sandwich at lunch.

    Who is interested?

    I understand corporate Tweets on LinkedIn, but my vote to is to keep LinkedIn corporate and restrict “banter” to “social” networks.

    I do of course have the option of hiding contacts. Must find some time later on!

    1. Thanks for the reply.

      I dont think people realise where the line is between the business and personal life information. Especially on twitter. A little of your personal life may add some personality to your account. Information which has no interest or value to their audience has no place on a professional Twitter account. If people are spamming LinkedIn with ALL their tweets, they need to check their settings and/or their social media strategy. Although I push some updates to Twitter and LinkedIn, I set the bar alot higher with what I post to LinkedIn. I have a twitter app on my LinkedIn profile if somebody wants to know everything I tweet they can see there. Otherwise my LinkedIn feed is just for business related information which I think will bring value to my network.

      Not being a football fan, I had to google Joey Barton to understand what you meant. I found this article here from which I base my next comment.

      I cant help but side with Joey though on some points. I do agree you should respect your employer and their social media policy but for somebody to stand up and tell the world what they think is wrong with society is part of his right to free speech. If people are not allowed to view there opinions on social networking sites then we would be living under a dictatorship. Not a place I would wish to be.

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