I get asked a lot when speaking about whether people should mix business with their private lives when it comes to online networking. People are concerned that clients may see something which may show them in a negative light. Indeed many run dual pages on sites like Facebook to deal with this.
My take on this is simple; it depends!
I believe that for small business owners the lines are becoming more blurred anyway. Many people we meet in a networking context are growing into trusted friends and we may even be socialising.
Facebook is the real concern for most as it is the place where most of us connect with family, friends, neighbours and people we went to school with. For many it is a social site, not business. Somewhere we go to upload family photos, or find out what sort of pirate you are.
My take is this; If you are in a profession where you need to portray a certain image, it maybe a mistake to share those photos of you getting drunk with the girls/lads on that recent hen/stag party.
For example how many of us would feel comfortable knowing our financial investments were in the hands of someone who comes across as a hedonist online? How many of us would like to see our local undertaker pulling a moonie out of a car window? For some, you should consider creating a separate Facebook page just for work.
My Facebook page shows off Warren the father, husband, business person and party goer. When asked to connect via Facebook by a client, I simply let them know what to expect before and manage their expectations. If someone doesn’t want to do business with me because of something they see on Facebook then I am not sure it was ever going to be a long-term business relationship anyway? I would never be so stupid as to use it as a platform to express views on politics or religion etc but it does basically capture what I am about.
Sometimes it goes wrong…(Or does it?) Two years ago I was invited to a party organised by www.angelsden.com to celebrate their second anniversary. Typically I only scanned the invitation which said “Wear all white fancy dress“. So wanting to make an impression I tried on the astronaut, Elvis Presley and Pope outfits and settled on 7ft white rabbit (Well with a name like Warren what do you expect?).
When I arrived at the party I realised the invitation actually said “All white dress“. No mention of the word fancy at all! Everyone was in white suits, white dresses, white hats etc and I was the 7ft bunny. Yes slightly embarrassing, but I was the most photographed person in the room LOL…….. and they all ended up on Facebook!
Even more recently, over the Christmas holidays we had friends over for drinks. It wasn’t long before the ‘Just Dance’ Wii game was played. Before you watch, before the party I had been given some vouchers to spend in JJB. I used them to buy some running kit and from the Large stand I bought some jogging bottoms for lounging around the house. When I got them home I realised they were XXXXL and I could have fit into them 4 times!
So for fun I put them on for my dance… This was unfortunately kindly posted by my good mate Matt Heath (Git) over the weekend. From the video you will plainly see why I am trying to lose weight lol but I ask you this… Are you less likely to do business with me because you found this on my Facebook page or more likely because it makes me more human? More approachable? Shows I don’t take myself too seriously?
So to conclude, social media isn’t one size fits all. You have to be comfortable with what you share, but I guarantee you this; the more you share the more people will buy into you!
Just be appropriate!
I hope you have found this useful and if nothing else I have made you feel better about your own dancing ability!
Take care and please remember to tweet or Like if you found it useful.