These days ‘personal brand’ has become a buzz word that's thrown about a lot by experts when talking about building up your online profile and social media presence. Where small businesses, especially those trying to get started alongside a full-time job, struggle to differentiate who they should be and exactly what they are building online. As a result, you often see people selling from their personal profiles, business profiles perhaps over-sharing personal information or a bizarre hybrid of the two which can't quite work out what it's trying to be. I know how difficult it can be, trust me, I've been there myself.
As a general rule I always follow the advice of Gary Vaynerchuck who points out that if you want your business to succeed, then you need to be your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now I know that's not always possible for everyone, but hear me out, because I think he's got a very valid point. If you want any business venture to succeed, then you have to be thinking about it all the time. Your social media presence is no different in that respect either. In the real world, you are your business, because it simply wouldn't exist without you. That means every smile, handshake and word that comes out of your mouth can be a reflection on your business.
Take that into social media and it still remains true, regardless of whether you have a business profile or a personal one. Your comments, posts and conversations with other users all help them build up a picture of who you are, what you stand for and most importantly, build trust. My advice is that you should always be yourself at all times, but if you've decided to have separate accounts you also need to remember that what might be appropriate to your family and friends may not be something you want to share with potential customers. Too many accounts and it gets confusing, too many audiences and there's a risk that what your sharing will have little value to anyone. There's also a risk that you'll post things on the wrong accounts.
The essence of social media is personality and it simply doesn't work with robotic posting and scheduling of content without a person of character to back it up and actually converse with other people. There's no easy answer and no right answer for everyone, you'll need to weigh up the pros and cons of whether it's better for your business to have separate business and personal accounts or some combination of the two. It's a slightly different scenario for larger businesses, who should probably invest in business branded accounts anyway, and encourage CEO's, Directors and employees to be ambassadors and personalities for the business.
Why would you need to promote yourself over your business? Wouldn’t having and promoting your personal brand detract from your business? If we look at Gary Vee (Vaynerchuk) his personal brand only increases the image of his company and all the businesses he's started over the years . It acts as free, or at very least cheap, advertising. However it does have some drawbacks in that you can become intrinsically linked and inseparable from the image of your business. It can be a very useful resource for people in business where they need to promote themselves such as actors, writers, speakers, musicians and yes, even people that work in social media themselves .
At the end of the day, you should be clear what a great online and social media personal brand can do for you and your business before embarking on the journey of creating one. It takes time, it takes a lot of putting yourself into it and putting yourself out there. You have to be consistent. But it is rewarding.