Social Media - The Dangers of Mixing Business And Pleasure

Social Media – The Dangers Of Mixing Business And Pleasure!

Do you know what happens when you make a comment on a news story, “like” something, or share something?

If you  don’t have your privacy settings set up correctly, everyone you’re friends with, or who follows you will then be able to see pretty much whatever you do online. Maybe that doesn’t bother you but it could be a problem when it comes to business.

It’s become a practice to search businesses and people before doing business with them. We all like making sure that we don’t find out something horrible about someone we need to trust. We like finding out good things about those with whom we want to work. But, it happens that we find out unflattering things about people with a simple Google Search. Even worse, people find out bad stuff about us too.

Things can be going along happily on social media. You comment on posts, you share a few posts, you post a funny picture, and then someone makes a derogatory comment and it’s not usually a friend or family member who does so. Usually it’s someone you connected with due to business. They’re sick of reading about your personal issues. You wonder what the deal is since this is your personal Facebook account and it’s your wall!

Perhaps you’ve made a classic error of mixing your business and personal social media together. Sometimes it happens without us realizing its happening. People find us on social media and want to be our friend, and we are too nice to turn them down. Before we know it we have 4000 Facebook “friends” who have unfiltered access to our personal lives and updates. This may not seem like a problem, but it is in fact dangerous to mix business and pleasure online just as it is in person.

Separating your social media accounts can be difficult at first, but it is more than worth it. Sometimes you may determine that you need to instead, create new personal accounts and leave the accounts you currently have as your business accounts. When you create separation between your business social media and your personal social media it will make it easier to:

Focus on your business — By separating accounts it will be easier to avoid personal distractions while updating your social media accounts.

Create better marketing campaigns – It can be awkward to focus on marketing when you know your friends and family are looking and are probably not your target audience.

Enjoy friends & family more – When you’re not thinking about business you can socialize with friends & family on your personal social media easier.

Organize better for the future – If your business and personal social media accounts are separate you’ll be able to create an exit plan for the future.

Avoid offending potential clients – Your clients may not always agree with you on personal matters, and that’s okay. If your business and personal social media are separated you won’t have to worry about that at all.

Mixing business and pleasure is best left for a golf game or an occasional cup of coffee and not for social media which should be used for promoting, marketing and expanding your brand.


How To Keep Your Personal And Professional Life Separate On FacebookPretty much everyone has a Facebook page. There are over 1 billion users on Facebook. Naturally, with that large of an audience it’s important that your business be there.

Marketing your business via Facebook is a great way to get new business as well as create free word of mouth marketing.

In addition, it’s easy to create Facebook advertisements. But, there are some serious roadblocks with social media that can cause problems for any business owner. You innocently click “like” on someone’s picture, article, or meme and before you know it someone you do business with is offended and fires you.

Dr. Phil says that perception is reality, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re within your rights to have your own opinions when it comes to social media. Of course, you do! However, so do your potential clients. There are some best practices for using social media when it comes to business. One of those best practices is to keep your business and personal life separate.  (You may also read personal branding vs business branding)

The way to keep your business and personal life separate is to:

Create separate accounts — Choose very carefully when business associates or acquaintances want to follow or friend you on your social media. It’s perfectly within your right to turn someone down to be your friend. Creating separate accounts can solve a lot of issues.

Think twice before doing — On social media where people can follow you without your permission, it’s important to consider the ramifications of the things that you choose to share. If you want to be controversial, think about it first.

Use privacy settings — On social media where you can set privacy features, and even block people; ensure that you take advantage of the technology. No one will know they are blocked or that your account is even there in most cases, if you set your privacy settings right. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping private things private.

Understand the technology – When you set up any social media accounts be sure to understand how it all works. For instance, consider the chain of events that occur when you “like” something. Who sees your “like”? Do you care who sees your “like”? Is it really private?

What will your Grandmother think? – A good test to see if something is appropriate to post, including pictures, memes, and thoughts — is to know whether you would want your Grandmother to see it or not. If the answer is no, don’t post it.

Stay focused on your audience – When using social media to promote your business stay focused on what your target audience wants to see from you. It’s okay to promote your business on private networks occasionally so that your family and friends know what you’re up to, but don’t share private matters unless necessary on your business social networks.

Your personal life is none of your clients’ business. It’s likely that they don’t want to know much about your private life either, especially super private information that covers the three topics that you should not discuss in mixed company: Religion, Politics and Money. Keep that in mind going forward and keep your personal and private lives separate on social media as much as possible.


Personal Branding vs Business BrandingIn the physical world, people walk around their immediate neighborhood and get to know the stores.  Before they ever make the decision to buy, they can usually tell you what’s great about a store, what’s bad; what makes it unique, what makes it boring; what they would go their for, what they would never buy there; and so forth.

Whether or not these stores are even aware of branding, they have naturally created an identity.  And people learn this identity almost by osmosis; by simply wandering around browsing the shops.

Branding is not as clear a topic as some would have you believe.  The type we’re talking about here is the deliberate type of branding you have to invest in for your online business (and if yours is a local business, every word applies to you too – if you want to attract and retain new customers).

Branding is nothing more than creating a strong identity – so strong that when people think of the item or service that is your signature offering, they think of you.  Not your competitor.

What Does Branding Do?

No, I mean… literally.  The word comes to us courtesy of cattle wranglers of the old West.  Their herds roamed over thousands of acres, none of which was fenced initially.  They had to have some definitive way to tell which cow or bull belonged to which ranch.  So they heated irons in the fire and literally seared a distinctive mark – a logo, if you like – onto the animal’s rump.

While you certainly don’t want to be running around with hot irons, you want your brand seared into your ideal customer’s mind just as irrevocably.

But here’s where many people get it wrong:  They confuse personal branding with business branding.

Both can be used for business purposes, but it’s important to know which type you’re creating and why that particular type of branding is going to work best for you.

Let’s take a look at the differences…

Personal Branding

This is what you need when you are your business: “You” meaning the particular skills or qualities you bring to the table – things your ideal client or customer needs.

Personal branding is not just about what you have to offer people, however:  It’s also about your strong, unique voice.

Your “voice” is what makes you different; what makes you stand out from the rest of the professional in your field.  And make no mistake – the majority of them are highly proficient at what they do.  That’s the base line – the starting gate.

How do you “get” voice?  There’s no one answer, and no right answer… but it comes from knowing, clearly and passionately:

  • Who you are
  • What you believe
  • What you stand for
  • What your core values are
  • Why you are doing what you do
  • What you can bring to your customers

Personal Branding vs Business BrandingStill not clear?  Just look at the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.  Even if you were born less than two decades ago, you can probably recognize a “Stones” song or a Beatles song instantly.  Not just because of the words, either; but because of the distinctive vocal styling, the combination of instruments and beats – the character that these two bands have developed that vaulted them far above the thousands of brilliantly proficient session musicians rising and falling all around them.

Most of these session musicians are actually many, many times more accomplished as musicians than either the Stones or the Beatles.  It’s just that these two bands had a voice – one that connected with their audience and spoke to their needs, dreams, preferences and feelings on a highly empathetic level of connection.

That’s what you need to develop, if you want be the one person with your particular skills or offering your particular services that people instinctively seek out first.

And you won’t get it by being a clone of the Stones or a clone of the Beatles, to continue our music metaphor.

You don’t want to be a top-notch tribute band, either.  That’s not how the Beatles became the most revered band of all time.

You want to be original.  You want people to either love you or hate you.

That’s what you’re after.
But here’s the scariest part…

  • Personal branding is being yourself

You should be so much yourself, you’ve had to do a lot of soul-searching, growing and introspection to get there.  (If you don’t know who you are and what you’re all about, your followers won’t either.)

Try to fake it, and you’ll fall flat.  People can tell when someone has ulterior motives.

Sure, a lot of people will come up to your gate, get to see you for real and veer away:  But that’s good.  It means your time won’t be taken up with hordes of people who will never love what you do and always want maximum attention.

Save yourself for those who love everything you do.  When you’ve captured an audience like this, you know you’ve achieved personal branding.

You know you’ve achieved a following of repeat customers who trust and believe in you:  The sort who will return to buy, again and again… because it’s you.

Business Branding

Just as personal branding is all about personality and voice, business branding is all about perceived value.  For example, if you were to have two sneaker companies – let’s say one is Nike and the other is an unknown company called Clompers.  Imagine both are for sale.  Imagine both have equal numbers of assets, shares, property, customers and so forth.

Now imagine Clompers makes better sneakers – miles better.

Which company is going to sell for more?

Nike That’s right:  Nike.  Because it’s a brand name.  Everyone knows Nike.

When you create a business brand, you create it around what you produce.  If you produce physical goods, you base your brand on your goods.  The key lies in creating a signature product so powerful, people start to call similar products by your brand name, as if your brand name was the generic name for the product.  (Think “Pepsi”, instead of “cola”.)

At the highest level, similar brands will compete ferociously against each other, trying to steal each other’s customers.  (Think “Pepsi” versus “Coke”.)  Often, there’s just a hairsbreadth of difference between rival products.  So what creates brand loyalty, when this is the case?

Creating Brand Loyalty

In personal branding, creating loyalty is based on three key factors:

  • Your personality – how much your followers like and identify with you (or want to be you)
  • How consistently your are in their field of vision
  • How consistently you deliver what you promised

In business branding, customer loyalty is based on slightly more criteria, including:

  • Visual elements – Logos, graphics, colors, shapes, symbols
  • Textual elements – Name, tagline or slogan
  • Personalization – Think “Coca-Cola polar bear” or (if you’re old enough) Tony the Esso Tiger

But why are these three factors important?  What all these bells and whistles actually do?

They help customer not only to remember you, but to think of your product first when it’s time for a refill or replacement.

The stronger the identifier, the more recognizable and memorable your brand becomes.  (If you changed your logo every week, you’d create confusion and a weakening of recognition.

The one common denominator that both personal and business branding share?


Customers have to believe that your brand is best; or at least suits them, their needs, their budget and their lifestyle better.

When trying to brand a business, it’s advisable to expend all your advertising and promotion efforts mostly on one element alone.  For example:

  • Branding your logo
  • Branding your company name
  • Branding your icon
  • Branding your tagline
  • Branding your colors

(One way to brand colors:  Always display them within the same shapes.)

All this would be in aid of branding either your company… or a signature product.

Core Characteristic of Personal and Business Branding

Successful personal and business branding share certain core characteristics.  Becoming known and instantly recognizable is just the first step.  Next comes building the brand – this is even more important than promotion, and it’s a step too often skipped.

Promote your brand without rock-solid core characteristics in place, and you’ll fail miserably.  This is what you need:

  • Consistency
  • Visibility
  • Recognizability
  • A place in public consciousness
  • A promise based on values
  • Fulfillment of that promise

Concentrate on delivering in all of these areas, combine it with tangible elements such as logo and colors and your business will be well on its way to becoming a household name.


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