Do You Keep Your Social Media Profiles Separate?

Mixing Business and Pleasure Can Sometimes Go Too Far

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[ Social Media]

In some cases it may be wise to keep social network profiles separate from each other. What I mean by this is that business shouldn’t always be mixed with pleasure. I don’t mean this in the same way that the Wall Street Journal meant it however. Perhaps a better way to put it would be not all business should be mixed with all pleasure. Do you keep your social media profiles separate from each other? Tell us.

I am a firm believer that the two should be mixed within your social media efforts. For example, if all of your tweets or Facebook status updates are only promoting your product, "friends" are likely to quickly lose interest. That is one reason why injecting a little personality and a touch of your own life is usually the way to go.

In fact, in many instances, it’s even wiser to keep it personal mostly and inject a little bit of business. The more your social media habits are about you, the less sales-pitchy your efforts will seem. It all of course depends on what your goals are. What works well for one company maybe a completely different strategy than what works for another.

A Lot of Twitter Followers It is often hard to strike the right balance between business and pleasure on social media. It becomes harder the more "friends" you make. In business, it’s easy to forget that social networks are for personal use too.

When mixing business and pleasure goes wrong is when something from your personal life that others need not know about gets thrown into the mix, or when you’re annoying your real life friends by marketing to them.

You may find that keeping your social networks separate is a good strategy for you. Perhaps all of your friends and family are on Facebook, but not on Twitter, but you have all kinds of business contacts on Twitter, not to mention an ever-growing supply of potential customers. In this case, maybe you should focus more of your marketing/business networking efforts on Twitter. This will spare your true friends and family your marketing strategy.

Granted, there are privacy settings that can be adjusted in Facebook, and lists set up, and whatnot. But it can be a lot of minutia to deal with within the already large and complex field of social media marketing.

Facebook Privacy Settings

And I’m talking about your personal Facebook profile, by the way. I can’t imagine too many social media strategies where Facebook doesn’t play some part. It is after all the largest social network in the world. There are always Facebook "Pages" for businesses (not that it should always be limited to this either).

This is only one example anyway. Again, different strategies for different businesses (consider your goals). In addition, there are plenty of other social networks that can be utilized for business or personal reasons.

Just keep these things in mind:

– Do you want your Facebook Friends and Twitter friends to receive the same messages? (something to consider when using apps)

– Not all friends are going to be interested in your business messages

– Likewise, your business friends aren’t always going to be interested in your personal life

The point I’m really trying to make here is that you have to think about your audience in each network. It’s kind of an extension of the mentality from my Be Careful What You Tweet For post. Sometimes it might be wise to keep your networks separate. Sometimes integration is a much better strategy. Either way, you have to think ahead and anticipate the outcome. And don’t forget about those privacy settings. You don’t want to become one of tomorrow’s headlines for a social media faux pas.

What situations call for a separation among social media profiles? Have you ever wished you could take back something you posted? We want to read your comments.

Do You Keep Your Social Media Profiles Separate?
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  • http://www.alvinkoay.com AlVin Koay

    Hi …

    Nice article and just exactly what had been keeping me pondering on in the past 2 weeks! In fact my idea was to create separate accounts, one for business and another for personal, BOTH in Facebook & Twitter.

    This way, your friends will not receive marketing tweets and your clients personal ones. I just made an announcement once to my personal account so that if any of my personal friends want to receive my business tweets, just follow me or add me on my business account.


    • Chris Crum

      Separate accounts are an option too. It all comes down to how many accounts you want to keep up with I suppose. For many of us, just keeping up with one account on each network is hard enough, especially for those using more than just Twitter and Facebook.

  • http://www.wchingya.com Ching Ya

    Absolutely. It’s really not easy to manage various types of social media sites. Especially when we hope to keep our personal life and business separated. I’m still in dilemma on how to have 2 accounts for one particular social media site, I don’t really know whether it would be beneficial/productive in the long run, however only by trying it out I may have the answer for it.

    Thanks for pointing out some relevant points. It will be in my consideration while making the decision.

    Social media/blogging

  • http://www.thechaosplan.com TheChaosPlan.com

    Separate accounts can make sense. I’ve done both for two of my businesses and the one that I rarely log into is separate from my personal account….sooooo, it makes sense as long as everything is professional, otherwise it can be a lot of accounts to keep up with and a real time waster.

  • http://digiphile.wordpress.com Alex Howard

    I maintain two separate accounts on Twitter, one for work and one for my own use. On Facebook, I created a personal account and a page for my employer. It absolutely makes sense to separate the two and adjust usage and messaging style accordingly.

    To get you get a sense of what that means in practice, compare:



  • http://nicknorris.net Nick Norris

    I agree with the idea that your friends would get bored reading your business updates, and vise-versa, but the art is in the balance. My friends know me well enough that when I promote something, it’s not spammy and annoying, so mixing the two works fine for me. I try to follow the idea that if it wouldn’t go on my blog, it shouldn’t go into my status updates.

    Having an online moniker is pretty important, and as long as your not bookmarking porn or warez sites, why would it matter if you mix business and pleasure? I think mixing business and pleasure makes you appear more authentic and it gives people a better idea of who they are connecting to.

    It’s a balancing act IMHO…

    • Chris Crum

      I absolutely agree with you about mixing business and pleasure to make you appear more authentic. And if you can balance the two to satisfaction then that’s great.

      I think some people like to keep their personal lives a little more private however, even if they’re not posting porn/warez sites. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

      Still we see headlines quite frequently, where somebody posts something that they might be fine with their friends seeing, but not necessarily a business associate/employer/etc. Granted, the headlines generally lean toward the more extreme side of the spectrum, but I’m sure it happens everyday to people over much more miniscule things. Even if these don’t lead to job loss or something like that, it can still lead to personal embarrassment, animosity, or just general discomfort.

      That said, I would never suggest taking your personality out of your business practices.

  • http://www.deannatroupe.com DeAnna Troupe

    I don’t keep separate accounts. I use multiple social media tools so it just wouldn’t be practical for me to keep separate accounts. If I’m about to say something controversial, I will preface it with something like, this doesn’t reflect anyone’s views but mine (or something like that). Just my two cents.

  • http://www.webjuris.com Heather Berreth

    Considering that my work and personal life are one in the same these days, I don’t need to have separate accounts. However, a while back I did toy with the idea of having two separate Facebook accounts, and found it very…messy! Unless your work and personal contacts know you by two different names, there is bound to be overlap and confusion(not to mention twice the work!). Nowadays I abide by the old standard of keep it clean and professional, no matter what site your on.


    • Chris Crum

      I can see the overlap getting a little messy. Again, you’ve got to do what works for you. Personally, I use Twitter more for business and Facebook more for personal, but there is overlap with both. Granted, that’s my personal Facebook page. We also have a facebook.com/pages/Lexington-KY/WebProNews/7727219941″>WebProNews Page that we can use to communicate people.

  • http://www.novatedlease.com Damien Kingman

    I have numerous social networking accounts and NEVER mix business with Pleasure using social sites SIMPLY because people are seeing you under a different light and they can use things against you. Never do it.

  • http://www.neutralsystems.com Newsletter Group

    As in most things young and old, all can only co-exist with a clear mutual understanding of social boundries. Social media is no different.

  • http://www.leglessfool.com John McMiken

    As an amputee now, my only business these days is trying to sell my book, an autobiography entitled ‘Legless in Thailand’ and because this never ending story (my life) is continuing on a daily basis, then for me this profile separation is not an issue at all.

    Cheers for now

    John McMiken (The legless fool)

  • http://storecomp21.blogspot.com money-money

    If it should be very private and the family better separate course, except for the name of good business we need to show more for the profile can be seen by readers

  • http://www.chrisgrayson.com Chris Grayson – Art Director/Digital Marketer

    I have about 50% overlap between LinkedIn and Facebook. I’m connected to everyone I do business with on LinkedIn. If I work directly with someone on any regular basis, I’m also connected to them on Facebook, but I’m also connected to old friends (I’ve lived in several cities… lots of people track me down on Facebook from different periods of my life). I extensively use the filter/security preferences in Facebook. My profile page looks completely different for some users than for others.

    I predominantly Tweet as a lens or filter of my interests that others can subscribe to– I’m a voracious reader (non-fiction and periodicals) who’s interests sit at the intersection of Art and Technology, with some personal interests like augmented-reality, virtual-reality, futurism, space-science and eco-tech. I tweet these interests. No personal minutia. I will reply to other people on occasion, but I’m not “chatty”. I only Tweet personal details if it is something significant in my life– I may mention going to a concert or museum, but I don’t think anyone really cares what I’m having for lunch (nor do I care what anyone else is, for that matter, and I will unsubscribe to anyone who constantly tweets their life’s mundane trivia).


    I also participate in a whole kaleidoscope of vertical communities.

    Like, say, TED:

    Or Behance:

    These niche communities have much more depth, but are generally less ‘active’. Facebook/Twitter and even LinkedIn are more fast-paced/real-time.

    The tools available to segregate personal from professional are sophisticated enough that people should be able to manage these relationships (particularly in Facebook). I have a toe in so many different ponds, it’s not so much the deliberate intent to separate personal from professional, so much as that vertical communities are self-segregating: only people who share those interests (whether personal or professional) are going to be there.

    The issue of separating these personal vs professional networks is really only an issue in the very large, general purpose, social network sites.

  • http://cherylsgifts2go.com Cheryl Piemonte

    No, I don’t keep separate accounts in the social media sites. I also thought about it but, I am on so many I know I wouldn’t have time for one or the other.

    I spend hours everyday going from one site to another. Since Cheryl’s Gifts 2 Go is an online retail store, I let all my friends know when there is a sale or, that new products have come in. I don’t saturate these sites with advertisements and, I don’t keep sending advertisements to my friends on any of the sites as some people continuously do. I try to be curtious to all my connections.

    The friends you find in the social sites can always check your profile for more information on your business. Also, I want them to know that I have a personal life and, my business is part of it.

    Thanks for asking the question and, posting all the answers. I learned alot from reading them.

  • http://www.beijingjourney.com Tony

    I do not see this as any different than keeping thiings separate in face to face contact. The man who walks into a store doesn’t want to hear all about the owner’s life, and your friends do not want to hear all about what you are doing in your business. Keeping the two separate makes sense. However keeping the two apart, doesn’t mean that business social media is impersonal. Let your pesonality show in your writing style and the personal comments that you make; just the way you would if you were meeting people in your brick and mortar store.

    • Chris Crum

      That’s a pretty good way of looking at it if you ask me. Some people might feel more comfortable overlapping the two in face to face contact as well. It depends on your own personality and who your friends are I suppose.

  • http://www.archcityhomes.com Karen Goodman

    This post is perfect timing for me (thanks to @missouriagent who tweeted the link).

    I’ve been struggling all morning with this issue. I fall into the camp of mixing business and personal. I will connect with anyone on Twitter, where I spend most of my time. I use Facebook exactly the same way, mixing personal and business, but I don’t post there nearly as often and have a lot less interaction with people than on Twitter.

    I promote my Twitter account on my blog, e-newsletters, email signature and business cards. My goal is to have as many potential clients follow me as possible. It’s a bonus that some of them are becoming friends.

    Facebook has been strictly for people that I have met in real life. It is mostly friends, family, casual acquaintances (business and personal) and high school classmates. In the past, I’ve declined friend requests from someone that is a friend of a friend who I have never met.

    But, I’ve been struggling with my approach since in the last few weeks I have gotten a couple of referrals off Twitter from people I have never met. They’ve followed my tweets and like what they are seeing. So, wouldn’t the same work for Facebook? If a friend of a friend seems my mix of personal/business updates and likes what they see, maybe they will contact me when then need a real estate agent, or pass on my name to one of their friends. If these strangers opt to not hire me because of something personal I said, is there really a loss? If I hadn’t friended them, they would never have hired me either because I would have been off their radar.

    But, I don’t promote Facebook on any of my marketing materials since I’m not really looking for strangers to friend me. Maybe that’s a mistake. I have been thinking of setting up a business page and promoting that. Strangers that want to sign up can, and anyone that asks to be my personal friend will get a ‘yes’ response.

    I’m not all that worried about my private info out in the public domain. As a real estate agent, my website has my cell phone and email address. Anyone can find me. I don’t have kids, so no pictures of them to worry about. And, if something is really private, it goes in a private message regardless of which site I’m on.

  • http://www.abundantace.com/ ace

    I would keep them separate. I use microsoft excel sheets to keep track of what accounts I have where. Using spreadsheets is easy to do.

  • http://www.castironcookwareshop.com/ Doyle

    This is an issue I have been conflicted about and as a result of reading your information, I have decided not to mix business with pleasure. Besides, I have caught some negative reactions from mixing them. I think the critics were right.

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