When I started my business, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was experimenting with different approaches, learning a ton about different aspects of the business.
Same happened when it came to creating my personal brand on social media and leveraging that for growing my business. I tried different things — from automating my whole Twitter profile, to using a bunch of hashtags to drive traffic. (Newsflash: Both of those experiments failed.)
But as I was starting out I got stuck on one question, one dilemma. And by talking to a bunch of you, I found out I wasn’t the only one struggling with this. A lot of you have been stumbling at the same question:
Do I create a separate social media account for my business? Or do I run everything under my personal name?
Let’s put this case to rest once and for all.
Note: This approach is most suitable for service providers. But that doesn’t mean there’s no value for others as well. Go ahead and read it, you might be surprised. 😉
Pros and Cons
There are always two sides of the same coin. Naturally, there are pros and cons to both approaches.
The big plus for running everything under your personal name is you don’t have to worry about updating two separate social media accounts. I have one Twitter profile (@mojcamars) where I promote my consulting business and tweet personal things. I’m engaging with my community on an everyday basis, and I can’t imagine being involved like that if I had two Twitter profiles to take care of. Exhausting!
I also have a chance of building my authority and recognition as Mojca Mars, a creative individual, and not as Super Spicy Media, a faceless brand. I can even get more personal with this approach! And social media is personal. Social media is people. Not brands and companies.
But here’s the downside: I (Mojca) am Super Spicy Media. There is absolutely no way I could pass my company to someone else with a single stroke. I am now the face of Super Spicy Media. Mojca Mars is Super Spicy Media. And Super Spicy Media is Mojca Mars. (You can tell I’m writing this in the evening, can’t you?)
Is that really the downside? Can that be the benefit? You tell me.
I have absolutely no interest in selling the company. Or having a business partner. (Other than my boyfriend perhaps who won’t have a problem with me being the face of the company.) I want to be the face of the business; I created it. And to be honest, I see the benefits of this personal approach too. Because Super Spicy Media is Mojca Mars and not just a random social media consultancy, clients and prospects are loyal. They don’t want to work with a random social media consultancy. They want to work with Mojca.
That said, if you have a business consisting of multiple employees (dozens, hundreds!), a committee or anything that doesn’t resemble an independent consultancy, you will probably have to take a different approach.
Whatever your approach ends up being, keep it personal. Don’t act like a cold corporate business. Remember — social media is personal.
But my personal recommendation for freelancers, consultants and micro-businesses is running your social media marketing with your personal account. In my case, that’s one personal Twitter account and a Super Spicy Media Facebook page. We’ll talk about my Facebook page later, but we have to discuss one more thing. And that’s the biggest misconception when it comes to having one social media account.
Biggest misconception EVER
“But … don’t I have to be professional to win business?”
When I’m talking to my audience about this whole ‘separate profile’ thing, this is their biggest concern. And truth to be told, so was mine.
We grew up in a time when businesses were something serious. I mean, they still are, but … they were cold. Untouchable. And the more untouchable you were, the better they thought you were. Professional = untouchable and cold. But let me tell you, times have changed my friend.
I’ve tried both. Being cold and professional on social media and being approachable and personal. By now you already know which one worked better. But why?
Social media connected us. The people that were once untouchable and unreachable were suddenly on Twitter. You could reply to their tweets. You had the chance to engage with them. And hey, they sometimes even replied back!
The curtains fell. Suddenly everything was about people. And that leads right to the next point I want to make …
It’s all about the people
As I was speaking at Double Your Freelancing Conference this year, an attendee approached me and asked me this question:
“But … I’m B2B, business to business. You’re telling me to be personal on Twitter? To post my personal thoughts and photos along with the updates to my blog? Why? How did that work for you? How come you weren’t perceived as a joke?”
Because there is a person at the receiving end. Not a robot, not a company, but a person. That might be a decision maker at the company, the CEO or the secretary. But it’s still a human being that reacts to certain triggers that bear a personal note.
Trust me on this, but we’re all soft inside. We react to faces differently than we do to logos. We love people, not robots. We want to work with people, not robots.
That’s why this strategy worked with me. Not only I built my authority with valuable blog posts, but I also communicated my personal brand with sharing my thoughts and personal photos with the audience. Because of the combination of my personality and the social media expertise I was communicating, prospects wanted to work with me only and didn’t want to hear about other consultants. I was different; I was personal. I was … Mojca.
Facebook’s system is a little bit different than Twitter’s so decision was a bit harder for me. I had the choice of creating a Facebook page ‘Mojca Mars’ for online personality or a Facebook page ‘Super Spicy Media’ for business. I chose the latter.
Do I conflict myself here? No.
Even though my Facebook page is called ‘Super Spicy Media’, I’m very personal on there. I don’t have a logo as my profile picture; I have my face. I share personal photos and stories with my fans. It’s a great combination of both — personal and professional posts.
Because Facebook has changed a lot since I was deciding which path to take, I’ll probably make a change from ‘Super Spicy Media’ to ‘Mojca Mars’ in the following months. Keep a close eye on the things. 😉
As a freelancer, consultant or a micro-business owner selling your services, you’re the face of the business. Don’t hide behind a logo, because people don’t want to communicate and engage with a faceless company or brand. People want to communicate with other people. People that are professionals in their niche, but have an unique opinion on things. People that are … people. Unique and beautiful.
So what is something you’re special for? And I don’t mean business-wise. But personality-wise. What makes you different?
Prepare 5 tweets or Facebook posts that will communicate that. That might be your unique opinion on things, something you are known for, whatever. Tweet that out within the next 7 days and see what happens.
Looking forward to you being different!