mirrorI’ve been doing this little dance between my personal and professional lives and I’ll admit, the line has become blurred. When I first joined Facebook I kept everything VERY separate – my business page had followers, I had friends, and I kept the list pared down to people I knew in real life only. (And even then, the list got culled annually.) However after much of my marketing strategy began to involve my online presence, and Facebook groups specifically, people started added me who I hadn’t met before, and some of them have become friends over time. (Until last week I was too shy to add anyone myself who I hadn’t already connected with a lot. But then I friended Sarah Hart who I’ve been following for awhile and whose work I love and admire and got a bit #fangirl when she accepted my request… but I digress.)

So when and where do you draw the line?

This is going to be different for everyone. For me, I tend to be an open book. I share my successes and my struggles in both parts of my business, and I don’t try to pretend I’m anything I’m not. So for me to drop an eff bomb, or admit to frustrations etc is no big deal. I am mindful on Facebook that people can see what I post, but honestly, if I hesitate, it’s probably not something I should be sharing in the first place. 😉

But I don’t have small kids with identities I need to protect. And I’m still picky about what friend requests I do accept. (ie: do they seem like a skeevy dude? do we have friends in common? do we run in the same virtual circles?)

The big question is this: Are YOU your brand?

If you’re a writer, a coach, a marketer… anyone in the service industry… If your business is aligned with who you authentically are, and you are your brand, then it’s probably okay to blur the line (depending on how you feel about privacy and security etc). You see it with celebrities: social media gives us a glimpse into their lives. Sure, a perfectly curated and crafted glimpse, but it seems to pull back the curtain a bit. I think of it like that.
(Not that I’m comparing myself to Beyoncé, c’mon now.)

But if the life you’re living  is incongruous with your biz, you’ll want to keep the two separate. So this could be like if you’re a wellness coach who just had a wild weekend in Vegas… you may choose to keep that on the DL. Or in the case of a client I had recently, she had a product geared toward Millenials, but was herself a woman in her 40’s. I advised her to use her logo in her profile pictures because while the personal connection is important, she is not her ideal client, and Millenials don’t want to be told what to do by someone who could be their mom. Get me?

What does blurring the line look like?

  • Images on social media: this could be your profile pic, Instagram shots, the pictures you share. If you are your brand and you’re okay pulling back the curtain, then share away… use yourself, the things you’re up to, events, shopping, the works.
  • Connections: you may add non-friend friends on Facebook or LinkedIn, you may start to create virtual connections in groups and forums online, you’re expanding your social circle and sharing of yourself to more than your immediate circle of peeps

Or this may NOT be your thing… Let’s be honest, privacy is a BIG concern, and if you’ve got a big social media following and people start popping up at the restaurants you’re eating at and stuff, that’s gonna get hella awkward fast, so you really need to decide what’s right for you, and your business. And of course there’s the trolls… So how thick is your skin? How well do you handle criticism? If sharing your authentic self is going to attract attention that will tear you down, it is simply not worth it. Transparency and openness can be awesome promotional tools because people get to know the person behind the brand (and people buy from people they like). It gives you credibility and exposure, but it needs to be at a price you’re willing to pay. So what feels right to you? Where will you choose to draw the line?

Sending you and your brand, oodles of love!

seryna signed