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Who are you? And who do you want to be?

This is no ordinary existential crisis. This is a 21st century question we should all ask ourselves. Who do you want to be on social media? What is your brand? What do you want to broadcast to millions of people over the Internet?

With social media, we truly have the power to impact how we are perceived. And, like it wasn’t difficult enough, we now have to answer these questions for our two identities: personal and professional.

Whether you are a freelancer, agency owner, or entrepreneur, you have a professional side and a personal side. And when it comes to creating social media profiles, we are faced with how to reconcile these two personas. Is it worth having different social media accounts? Or, do you just combine both and share content that relate to each?

If you want to leverage the power of social media for your business and brand, we recommend creating a professional social media presence and a personal one.

Here’s why:

It’s easier to cater to your target audience. Having two social media personas helps you identify your target audience, objectives, goals, tone, voice, and more. For me, it’s a lot harder to tweet from my personal account when I have no idea who would read the tweet nor what to say that people would care about. On the other hand, tweeting from my professional account immediately narrows down the content I should share and helps me find the appropriate hashtags to reach my target audience. It’s much easier to build a following on social media when you’re talking to a specific, niche group of people.

You can create a rock-solid brand: Think of your social media profiles as an extension of your website or blog. You wouldn’t post pictures of your family vacation or friendly happy hour on your professional website, so apply these same brand principles to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts. And, having professional social media profiles allows you to reuse your logo and colors, getting more eyeballs on your brand.

You can avoid mixing business and pleasure: In real life, your friends don’t want to hear about your work for hours on end. This is no different on social media. People “friend” or follow you on social media to stay in touch and see what you’re up to. They want to see pictures of your family and your vacations. But, you don’t necessarily want this type of content to go out to potential clients or colleagues/managers/employees. Instead of filtering what you share, give the people what they want. On your personal account, share the personal stuff. On your professional accounts, share client testimonials, projects, and thought leadership content. Your friends don’t need to be bombarded with how great your work is all the time and potential clients don’t need to see your whole family’s trip to Mexico.

What to Post on Your Professional and Personal Profiles

Here are some examples of content you would publish on professional and personal social media accounts. In this example, let’s pretend you are a freelance writer.

Professional

  • Links to recent articles you wrote that have been published
  • Industry news or trends
  • Live tweets or pictures from events or conferences you attend
  • Promoting a webinar you are hosting
  • Sharing posts from your blog

Personal

  • Pictures of you and your family
  • Posts that share your personal beliefs or strong opinions about religion, politics, money, sex, etc.
  • Pictures of your food
  • Posts about what you’re doing right now

Establish Different Brands, But Remember: You Can’t Hide Anything

And, one last thing to remember. Just because you have two different social media profiles doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to stay 100% independent of each other. You can post different content and change your tone and voice, but if someone Googles your name, they will most likely find both of these profiles. So, even though you are building two different brands, they do not exist behind a firewall. Anyone can find anything on the Internet, so make sure you’re okay with a potential client seeing a cat meme you posted on your personal Facebook page.

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