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Why your personal brand and business brand are so interlinked
In our 24 x 7 connected online world, your personal and professional brand is becoming intrinsically interlinked and any tangible difference between the two increasingly blurred. A digital search on any individual will enable you to draw a conclusion on that persons brand and reputation both professionally and personally. And that may not be from what they have posted but what others have posted about them!
Why? Because your job and your personality combine to form YOU as a brand.
Your personal brand creates an acute perception in the mind of your colleagues, customers and prospects, and whether you like it or not, creates an emotional attachment.
Most people will regard the personality of the CEO as the personality of his/her company. So it is tricky to separate the two. You can of course keep your personal social media content in line with your professional image but be cautious of promoting a conflicting opinion or value to the company you work for.
Ultimately, employers, prospects, colleagues and customers buy you and what you stand for along with the role, skillset and authority you command professionally.
While this is the case and with small businesses, the owner’s brand is essentially the company’s brand you can run your social media accounts to create some distinction.
While it is almost impossible to separate your personal and professional brand, there are ways to maintain some privacy and brand boundaries.
If you want to maintain a separation of your personal and business life, separate the content you post in relation to business vs. personal.
For example: what to do with Facebook
Because what you do away from work is different from what you do at work, with Facebook you can opt to keep the two accounts separate. In other words, have a personal Facebook page and a Professional page so that you can post the most appropriate content on each. The two are often not aligned and your work colleagues and customers may not want to see what you did at the weekend and who you socialise with. It may be more interesting, but is potentially not relevant.
The alternative of course, is to humanise your Facebook page and mix the two worlds in one profile. One of the easiest ways to build a brand is to humanise it! If you do this, just remember to tread carefully. Think of the example of Richard Branson with his personality traits of adventure, risk and positive nature transferring across to become the values of the Virgin brand and ethos.
Just beware of polarising commentary that potentially can put business opportunities and your personal brand at risk.
And remember the various groups of people you know will be interested in different forms of content so upload appropriately on each site. Through this separation of accounts, you can change your content to attract different audiences
With LinkedIn your personal brand usually is your professional page
With Linkedin, your brand presence is a mix of your professional and personal brand and as it is largely used for recruitment, and searching or checking on skills, it needs to have a corporate bias while also showing your personal interests and viewpoints. Again, think carefully about what you post to protect both your personal and professional reputation.
Whilst you can try to separate your personal and professional life through the use of social media platforms, humanising your personal brand can draw people in. The use of a strongly linked personal brand can enhance your professional brand and opportunities dramatically.
The digital world along with social media enables us to publicise what we think online and influence others in a way we have never been able to before. The key is to ensure your personal and professional brand is a 360 degree holistic representation of who you are and what you do. It is about being yourself with purpose in the digital age.
Sharon Williams is the founder CEO of Taurus Marketing, an integrated marketing, PR, social media agency. She is a Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor.