Have you become your business?

- June 4, 2012 2 MIN READ

Blurring the boundaries between who you are and what you do can seem like the ultimate in work/life balance, but when it comes to marketing on social media, it’s not always a good thing.

A by product of the fact many of my friends are soloists is my Facebook and Twitter feeds often look like advertisement reels touting achievements, events, exhibitions, gigs and business news. Some friends have really nailed a good mix of promotional updates and playful, personality-filled musings. Others, especially artists whose identity is intertwined with their work, lay the promos on thick. I love my mates, but I often find myself scanning over these all-work-and-no-play updates, which clearly isn’t the result they’re after.

It got me thinking – can becoming your work, work against you?

Tim Burrowes, editor-in-chief of media and marketing industry website Mumbrella, is familiar with this fusion of business brand and personal identity on social media.

When Burrowes launched Mumbrella in December 2008 he registered the company’s Twitter account under his own name, with the username @mumbrella. When the business took off and Twitter became huge, Burrowes the person and Mumbrella the business were inextricably linked. The brand and name became so synonymous on Twitter that it felt inauthentic to separate them, and to this day Burrowes still tweets personally to his nearly 40,000 followers.

While the Twitter scenario hasn’t been bad for Mumbrella, it hasn’t been all good, either. It’s limited who can tweet on the company’s behalf, and in hindsight the editor admits he should have created a general account to be the “third person voice” of the company. When it came to Facebook, “Burrowes” and “brand” were deliberately kept separate.

Want more articles like this? Check out the social media section.

“I have friends who spam their profiles with work stuff and I tend to reset them to low-priority updates,” he says.  “If you rely on friends to like your page then your strategy is probably not working. You should be aspiring to a bigger scale.”

He still recommends business owners put their own personality behind their brand, “but try to plan on how you will scale up if the size of your enterprise grows beyond you alone,” he says.

If your brand is closely aligned with you yourself – if you are your business – and your social media audience is made up of both friends, clients and anonymous followers, consider how you will best engage such a diverse audience. Perhaps two separate pages are in order, or perhaps your updates need to be tweaked. Your friends won’t want to hear all about work, and your clients won’t want to hear all about your pet dog.

Do you strike a work/life balance when marketing on social media or take the two-account strategy?