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Social Media – How to Separate Personal From Business.

Last week I participated in a panel discussion on social media for SugarCRM. One of the questions that came up was ‘how do you keep business and personal separate?’ The three panelists gave various answers, the main theme being whether used for business or personal, as a salesperson or an employee,  remember that it’s there forever so be careful, professional and aware.

However, a more advanced way to help keep them separate is to go in with a plan and share it with all company participants. Give them the tools and training they need to be successful in this new arena.

Don’t Just Dive-in – Social Media is a Marketing Tool

I’m often heard to say that using a social media platform is just like any other marketing tool. Before jumping in you should figure out who your target is, where to find them (Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?) and what they’re looking for from a company like you. You would use this information to strategize on the best way to communicate with them and use your marketing tools effectively.

Are you using social media to raise awareness, educate about your service or industry or stay in touch with existing customers? What are they doing there? What’s their pain?

Social Media and Your Brand

Also like any other marketing tool, you’d need to hold it up to your brand and consider it in relation to everything else you use, like your website, brochures, etc. Chances are you’ve developed a look, a voice, a style, and specific marketing objectives. Though social media is often more of a personal approach, corporate brand should apply here too.

Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Your plans for social media should include:

  1. Where you should focus efforts (Twitter?)
  2. What you should do there (ie: discussions on LinkedIn)
  3. What you should talk about, your angle
  4. How it fits in with other efforts
  5. What are the objectives and guidelines for our participants (ie: no personal political comments)

With this basic plan in place it will be much easier to keep business separate from personal.

Educate Your Team

Just as you provide brochures and help prepare presentations, give your people the guidance they need to represent your company using social media. Remember that if you’re asking your professionals to be active like blogging, they may not be aware of brand guidelines at all and need briefing. It doesn’t hurt to do a little awareness education with other employees as well so they know what you’re doing and a little guidance as to what you’d prefer they did or didn’t do with their personal accounts. You can’t control their personal accounts but it doesn’t hurt to say ‘because our message is ____, we’d prefer if you didn’t mention ____.’

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