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Anna Duggal
Anna Duggal
  • 2 Minute Read
  • 30th April 2014

Social Media: when it's appropriate for business or personal use

Social media is fantastic. Fact. It means you can stay in touch with family and friends, share your photos from adventures or holidays, it means you can connect and interact with others in real time and it means you can market your business. But, you shouldn’t be doing all of these things at once.

Working in social media or working in a company which champions social media channels, quite heavily, needs to be differentiated from your personal life. People just don’t realise the reach of their personal comments, photos and characteristic traits from groups joined – whether they’re from last weekend or your drunken student days. Most social profiles can be made private, so take the time to check out your settings and keep your opinions within your close social circle.

If you choose to have your pages with open profiles, you have to be conscious of what you’re saying – especially if your account says where you work. The law of this ever-changing social web is now quite tight, so things you say on social media can be used against you by your workplace (check your handbook for more details for your business specifically).

If you work within social media, here’s some tips to help keep you out of trouble!

  • Double check which account you’re logged in as before you post and check it went out to the right account straight afterward you post. It takes two seconds and could save a lot of aggro!
  • Unless your account is specifically for, and only for work, don’t directly reply to anyone from your personal account.
  • Don’t post any opinions about your job on your social media pages – no matter what your niggle is/ how much your colleague annoyed you/ how bad your pay is etc. If you want to say anything, make sure your page is private and you aren’t connected to any colleagues or anyone who is secondary connected to colleagues (if they like it, it’ll show up on your colleagues feed too).
  • If you are starting a new job, don’t connect with all of your new colleagues straight away. Wait until you know them better before you connect, as ‘unfriending’ or ‘unfollowing’ always causes more trouble than it’s worth.
  • Don’t become over personal on your business social media accounts. It’s good to be personable, fun and talk about relevant topics but when you start to delve too much into your personal thoughts and whereabouts, it could put off customers, or worse, be dangerous, so have a limit.
  • Your personal account may have been around for years. If you are choosing to link it to your workplace’s social channels now, check your backlog and erase anything you wouldn’t want your CEO seeing today!
  • Plan your business social media channels and don’t confuse content which is relevant to post on that page with content you find, personally, interesting or funny for your own feed because, often, these won’t mix.

Many of these hints might seem obvious but with every company, the boundaries between personal and business social media channels are different, and can sometimes become blurred. And now that we have more openly addressed the link between the profiles, hopefully, these issues might just slip to the forefront of your mind next time you log into Facebook, Twitter etc, and help stop you from making a social media faux pas!

What are your struggles with social media? Where do you see the limit between social media for business and for personal use? Send us your social media privacy questions and let's see if we can work out the best solution!