Managing Your Brand & Personal Social Media "Friends"


Friends_stick figuresFor the most part, social networks and social media were never really intended for business communications. Expect for LinkedIn of course. Think about it.

Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ began life helping people connect to family and friends. In that context it made total sense that you would "friend" someone you wanted to invite into your digitial world. 

When savvy brand managers saw their customers were congregating aroiund these virtual water coolers, ah ha moments began. Before we knew it enterprises were stepping into the game. Some smartly. Some like a bull in a china shop. However the world of social media networks would never be the same. 

The culture of social networks (transparency, authenticity, honesty and let's throw in some of that passion stuff) led enterprises down an interesting rabbit hole. One where most had never been, envisoned or intended to go.

They were now in the messy world of public conversations. Even the teeniest comment could be magnified. People from champions to the disgruntled could use the very pages that the brands built to complement or vent. Enter The Big C Word: Control. There was none. Listen and you can still hear teeth shattering in fear from many corporate ivy towers.

However, what we learned was that we could Manage. Smart marketers began to develop guidelines or house rules that set expectations for both sides of the conversation. Nicole Landguth, Olgivy 360' Influence has a terrific post that details how to create Facebook Guidelines that can be used as a basis for any social network.

We're taking care of the "brand side" of managing social media conversations. But what about the personal side?

Small business owners understand the merging of business and personal all too well. I grew up in a family business where "The Business" was almost like an extra family member. Toddi Gutner has some interersting ideas on how to keep that work/life balance in check in her MSN Business on Main article .. worth a click visit.

As our business and social media worlds converge who do you "friend?" Must you follow every client, colleauge and prospect on LinkedIn? What do you do if a person you barely spoke to an offline Chamber event wants to be your Facebook friend? Do you connect to every stranger who requests on LinkedIn? Managing the personal side of your social media experiences is as important as the brand side. 

Here's an exercise I use to help clients think through the process. 

Who will you friend_matrix
The next part of this exercise is to determine How Much To Share. For example, I talk about Max my YouTube rock star pup and sometimes my family. Will you share details about your children or vacation or the restaurant you discovered at your last out of town conference? I call this building business relationships talking about the mundane

At the end of the day, brand or personal, it circles back to your comfort level. What works for you, your brand and your culture may not be right for everyone. Isn't that really the name of the social media game?

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.


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Really great tips for people that are looking at clients and friends with the same lense.

Posted by: jane hr on Jan 23, 2012 7:35:08 PM

This tips should be taken down and be rememebered.

Posted by: Dennis Parkerski on Jan 24, 2012 9:36:32 AM

Thanks for such great tips!

Posted by: Maria on Jan 24, 2012 1:59:55 PM

I've been muddling through this recently as I am trying to figure out how much of my personal self needs to be exposed professionally. Some of the things that make me good at my job (clever, weird, big ideas, thoughtful, brand obsessed) are the things you can see in my personal communications. On the other hand, some of the t hings you see in my personal communications may be less than favorable from a corporate view (ADHD, love of beer and bloody marys, two kids).

In either case, I very much appreciate the chart - I think I should complete that...

Posted by: Rebecca Ryan Hunter on Jan 24, 2012 6:19:59 PM

Thanks for your comments.

@Rebecca, it can be a slippery slope as you well described. At the end of the day, your professional digital footprint comes down to how you want to be perceived in the workplace. If you're a marketing vip for a rock group the beer might fit in just fine. However, if you're working with a conservative law firm .. perhaps not so much.

Keep in mind also that Google has a long memory and what worked today may not tomorrow. Our world has grown so complex and complicated. Perhaps we should discuss it over a beer ;-)

Posted by: Toby @tobydiva on Jan 24, 2012 11:24:59 PM

Thanks for the info, good article! Yeah good to think about if you use your facebook to communicate with everybody!

Posted by: Joe Anderson on Jan 25, 2012 2:11:16 PM

To successfully market your product and establish your reputation in social media sites, the marketer should set standards and guidelines in the implementation of social media marketing. This way, 'too personal' posts are avoided and professionalism is maintained. Great points written in here.

Spatch Merlin

Posted by: How to Blog on Jan 27, 2012 10:57:56 PM

You made some really excellent suggestions to help the owner/manager level of small business really asses and confirm, or assess and adjust the culture their corporate culture. We would suggest using this guide as an addition to our Online Marketing Manual to help them factor in any real-world adjustments they may make in order to reflect their business online for clients & customers to find.

Posted by: DragonSearch Online Marketing Manual on Feb 2, 2012 6:56:15 PM

A very well-written post. I read and liked the post and have also bookmarked you. All the best for future endeavors

IT Company India

Posted by: Marsh on Feb 22, 2012 5:03:36 AM

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