If you’re running a business it’s sometimes hard to decide whether your social media should be you or your business.
There are no hard and fast rules, but these are my observations.
- Never post anything negative about anyone else, it’s the fastest way to chip away at your own reputation. If you don’t have anything good to say – don’t say anything.
- Don’t post anything your mother wouldn’t feel comfortable reading.
- Avoid social media after any intake of alcohol!
- Only post material that will genuinely be of interest to people – tips, advice, interesting activities to your circle, etc. People don’t want to know what you had for lunch (unless you’re Joe Wicks or Jamie Oliver) or that you’re taking the dog for a walk!
You can have your personal headshot or company logo as your avatar, but remember that it’s quite difficult to have a conversation with an organisation.
Twitter is an informal platform so it lends itself to chatty, conversational posts. Just remember that you are representing a business so think before you hit ‘send’.
Your personal profile is your personal profile so it should feature a headshot of you (and only you, not you and your partner, child, dog or other people). It should not be your logo, products, premises, a cartoon, caricature or anything else. The LinkedIn T&Cs state that an image must be ‘a recognisable image of the account holder’.
Whilst LinkedIn is categorised as a ‘social media platform’ it is a business platform and, therefore, people expect a fairly formal business-like approach. I keep seeing posts saying ‘Why is LinkedIn becoming the new Facebook?’ usually because someone has started posting personal stuff in their updates.
If you use LinkedIn effectively it can be an excellent business tool to generate leads and new business – you really don’t want to appear anything less than highly professional.
LinkedIn offers the opportunity to have a company page – it’s worth completing a page, but for smaller businesses it’s not somewhere people are likely to look much. People buy people and want to engage with a human being, not an entity.
Don’t use your Facebook personal account to promote your business. Whether you use your personal account to chat to your friends, stalk your children, post cute cat videos or don’t use it much at all, it should be separate from your business communications.
You can have more than one Facebook Page – and as long as you’re listed as an ‘admin’ on each page they exist completely separately from your personal account, regardless of whether you were logged into your personal account when you created them.
Facebook Pages are much more community focused so you may need to work a bit harder to get engagement. Chatty posts – with information that interests your followers is important.
Don’t get drawn into slanging matches – politely suggest that any issues people might have should be addressed 1-2-1 or offline.
When people comment you need to answer at least within a couple of days so you will need to check regularly for notifications and messages and answer them to retain your credibility.
Facebook likes images and video – so posts without don’t get as good a rating.
Facebook owns Instagram so you can post directly into Facebook from your Instagram feed.
Instagram works whether you are an individual or a brand – but people do associate the brand with the brand owner so you still need to come over as a human being rather than a ‘company’.
Instagram is image based so photos, graphics and short videos all work well. You can write accompanying content – and Instagram is a dynamic and informal platform so make sure you write positive posts with energy.
You can get away with being more quirky as long as it’s congruent with who you really are.
There are dozens of other platforms, but these are probably the biggest. Get these right and the rest will fall into place.