Social Media Ettiquete: Your Personal Profile Is Not For Business

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I understand that there was a time when social media sites only had personal profiles and if you wanted to do something for business you did it there, but times have changed. Now there are business pages and fan pages for you to take advantage of. Even though most people don’t realize it, it’s actually against the rules (or highly frowned upon) on most social sites to use your personal profile for business now. Plus, it’s really annoying.

When a person connects to your personal profile on a social network, they want to see things by you and about you, not see constant pitching of your stuff. If they wanted that, they’d connect to your fan or business page. I know, we all want to tell the world what we do and get attention for it, and that’s fine. However, it’s just bad form to use your personal profiles for nothing but business. It’s also a great way to get people to stop following you.

So what’s the rule for personal profiles? Well, there are no set-in-stone rules, but it seems that the general opinion is to keep your pitch posts to less than 50% of the total posts to your personal profile, and go get yourself a fan/business page to use for the constant advertising. Of course, even on a fan page, you should do more than sales pitches to keep people interested. Personally, I try to keep my business posts at 25-50% of my total posts, usually on the lower end.

It may feel like a pain in the ass to go make a new page and start posting to it, and to get all the people from your personal profile over there, thinking that most of them won’t go. However, it looks better for you, it’s better for people viewing your personal page and fan page, and it keeps you within the rules of the social media networks. You can actually be banned from FaceBook for using your personal profile for only business. And do remember “I haven’t been caught yet and they won’t notice” isn’t an excuse for doing it wrong. Plus, general SEO and Web Practices standards discourage the use of a personal profile for business because it makes you look unprofessional, doesn’t have the SEO juice of a business page and on some networks doesn’t allow you to have as many connections.

By the way, this applies to bloggers just as much as people who sell things. If all you do is post links to your blog and nothing else, it’s not going to make you look very good. Get a business/fan page for that and use your personal profile as intended. And remember, even a fan or business page needs some personal love. People don’t like faceless entities that just post links. Be sure to talk now and again, and also share other content that your fans or customers will be interested in. It’s all about letting people know that you’re a real person that they can connect with, not just a link producer.

In all honesty, I stop following most people who do nothing but pitch on their personal profile. I’m trying to get to know people, not their business. I’ll gladly follow their fan page if I’m interested. A lot of people are the same way, and it’s a fairly hot topic online, with the general consensus being that you need to have both kinds of profile to really create lasting relationships with your viewers. At very least, you need that business page to be an official, proper page, and actually talk to the people you’re trying to pitch to.

So, while it may be some work, it’s really the better way to go. If you’re currently using your personal profile to do nothing, or almost nothing but pitch your goods or services, now is a great time to stop. Go set up a proper page for what you do and start leading people over to it, while increasing the ratio of personal to business posts on your personal profile. It’s fine to show off what you do, just be responsible about how much you do it. Breaking the rules or doing nothing but selling only makes you and your business look bad.


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