Should I have separate Twitter accounts for business and personal?
November 17, 2015
When I first started Excellence Expected I received this tweet:
@MrAsquith sorry dude, you should definitely set up a 2nd account for the podcast stuff 😉
— Kimb Jones (@mkjones) November 8, 2014
To which I replied:
@mkjones nah, It filters people who aren't interested :0)
— Mark Asquith (@MrAsquith) November 8, 2014
Maybe that was a little flippant, but hey, we're all friends.
The reason that Mr. Jones sent me that initial tweet was that he didn't want to see my “professional”, and thus more frequent, tweets. Rather, he simply wanted to see my personal musings.
He unfollowed and we all went about our days beautifully.
Fast forward a few months and I began thinking more about that instance and pondering:
“Should I have two separate profiles for my personal and “business” accounts?
Since early this year I've been giving that some further thought, even speaking on it at a few events, and have come to the conclusion that there is no right or wrong here.
All there is, is what works for you.
The usual convention across much of social media for small business posits that two accounts are better than one, with “unprofessional” personal musings and relationships siphoned off into the personal account, and the “marketing stuff” plonked over on the business social media account.
And you know, that works for some companies, including:
- Businesses with an amount of employees that results in a central social media account on any of the platforms, simply being more efficient and “parameter” led.
But we're here to talk about small business, and in particular I want to approach this from the perspective of the 1-5 person team.
A business of that size relies on each and every team member knowing the business inside out, left to right and up and down.
More so, it also stands to reason that each member of a team of that size will be pulling the brand tone around together and will also be communicating in a solid, brand-led fashion on a personal level to customers and prospects.
In a business of that size: the people are the brand; the brand is the people.
Taking this a step further, a small business is typically so focussed on being the very, very best at what it does that the people involved in that business end up seeking “a different channel of focus” to help avoid burnout, or satiate a desire to have fun outside the environment that is a busy small business.
This can very often manifest in the form of side projects or spin-out businesses.
Before I take this any further, let me make it very clear here that I believe that a small business is only as strong as its people.
Very rarely do customers of a small business make a call to that business to speak to “someone in accounts”.
Much more often, they make that call to “William in accounts.
The reason is simple: if people buy from people, then people also seek resolution from people; support from people; help from people; ideas from people.
The people are the brand; the brand is the people.
Dialling this in a little more, consider that by virtue of setting up a business as an individual and making money from it, we open up opportunities.
These opportunities may not fit wholly with our business and thus, we may well end up spinning out other profitable businesses thanks to these opportunities.
We end up the nucleus of a network of solutions for people that exist to help varying types of customer, sometimes with a skills / service overlap and sometimes without.
When we begin down this path, we stop being the brand of our business(es) and we become a brand for ourselves.
Each of the businesses / services / products we put out over our lifetime become associated with our person.
Each is imbued with the values, ethics, quality and personality that we bring to our life and hey, who's to say that the business we set up today will be the business we build our life upon for the next two decades?
If we are entrepreneurial then well, ideas just aren't a problem.
We will always do more.
If we were to jump in to a DeLorean with a crazy wild-eyed scientist or a kid with a book, take to the skies and catapult ourselves 20 years into the future, we would likely be surprised about what we were working on.
Because opportunity continues to knock for those willing to listen.
I know what you're thinking:
“What does this have to do with Twitter?”
You are a brand. I am a brand. We are all a brand.
Our brand is made up of more than our products and services, it's made up of our personalities, our idiosyncrasies, our beliefs, our ideas and every other tiny piece of humanity that shapes us.
Early on I made the decision that I would run Excellence Expected on Twitter through my personal account for one simple reason:
I believe in it, just like you believe in your business.
Remember, people buy from people and building up several, small fragments of a following across multiple different Twitter accounts is completely pointless.
There's no relational value or nascent monetary value in “yet another project from Mark” and in fact, this can have negative connotations: seeing a Twitter account with little activity, and a couple hundred follows from a person with 4 other Twitter accounts implies that none of the other projects were a success, or that we lost interest.
As people, there's real value in knowing each other, connecting with each and every one of our audience and being able to leverage a continually growing personal following regardless of the business we're working in at any given time and regardless of the products or services we're selling at that time.
When we launch a new project, we already have an audience of, worst case: referrals; best case, customers.
Because they've built up trust with you over a longer period of time.
People want to work with you. So connecting with them using one, solid personality led Twitter account rather than “fit and start” project-driven accounts will ultimately serve you much better, in my opinion.
And if people don't like your brand then well, Twitter comes with an unfollow button.
Don't forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel.