When building your personal brand, you’re constantly told to keep things on the professional side. People will respect you as a professional if you act like it. But between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and whatever other sites we’re on, it’s hard to create a balance between the personal and professional things we post online.
The average Millennial employee is connected to 16 coworkers on Facebook. So, does that mean your Facebook can’t be so personal? Not necessarily. It does mean you have to watch what you post because your social media can affect your work. You need to consider how you act, what you wear, where you go, and who you interact with. All of these details play into your brand.
Even though you mostly use social media to interact with friends and family, your profiles have become an extension of your personal brand. Considering this conflict, there are ways to balance the personal stuff with professional stuff on your social media profiles:
Decide what you want to be known for
This should always be the first step when it comes to your personal brand. Taking into account your profession, your goals, and your hobbies, make a list of the things that best define you. Now narrow the list down to the few most important items (some personal, and some professional). These are the things you should be writing about on Facebook and Twitter. Obviously, it’s OK to stray away from them at times, but you should largely focus on a few key topics that make you, you.
Use the right social media platform at the right time
It’s important to use the right site for the right posts. For example, LinkedIn should be completely professional. The site is for professional networking, so your posts should always be related to your career. Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are more challenging to define. You have different audiences on both platforms, so consider the people who can see your profile before you post things.
Don’t alienate your audience
Your social media audience consists of friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, and more. You don’t want to post too much professional stuff or too much personal stuff. This is where most of the balancing comes into play. One suggestion for catering to all audiences is to post professional things during the day (when people are at work, and thinking professionally), and post personal things in the evening. However you manage it, try to keep it even between the two sides to your brand.
Think, would I want my future boss to see this?
No matter how you go about creating balance, don’t cop-out and create multiple accounts on the same social media platform. This makes things confusing for your friends, and leaves your brand seeming inconsistent. The things you wouldn’t want your coworkers to know about should probably not end up on the Internet at all anyway, so keeping them in mind when you post is a great way to keep yourself in check.
Your online brand can be both personal and professional. If you manage to find the perfect balance, your brand will be stronger as a result.
How do you balance your brand between the personal and professional?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.