Q: I see so many influencers posting details of their personal lives on social media and I wonder if I should do the same. I’m the face of my small business, so should I share personal posts (kids, pets, everyday life) on my business account or keep it completely separate?
Many influencers build their businesses on their lives, so naturally their social media accounts share everything from their latest brand collaborations to videos of their home renovations.
But for small business owners, it’s a little different. While you are the face of the company, you are not the only determining element. In most cases, your business accounts should probably be just that: dedicated to business.
That doesn’t mean you have to stay completely out of the picture, though. In fact, weaving in some personal content that’s also relevant to your business can help you build a more authentic, relatable brand.
The approach you choose depends on your audience, your industry, and your goals. Consider the following:
- How much does my company depend on my personal image? Do I want my company to rely on my personal image?
- Do the audiences of my personal brand and my corporate brand overlap?
- What is my audience searching for in my work and personal accounts? Are they similar or very different?
- Does it make sense to share personal updates with my business audience?
Let’s dive into a few scenarios based on your answer:
The personal brand became a business
- How much does my company depend on my personal image? Do I want my company to rely on my personal image? It depends on a good crowd and I’m fine with that.
- Do the audiences of my personal brand and my corporate brand overlap? Yes.
- What is my audience searching for in my work and personal accounts? Are they similar or very different? They are somewhat similar.
- Does it make sense to share personal updates with my business audience? Yes.
In this case, your business is likely an extension of your personal brand. Maybe you’re a fitness enthusiast who’s started a boutique gym, or you run a community for new parents, a category that you and many of your friends fall into.
Your Business and personal brandsprobably have similar audiences, and while they’re looking for slightly different things on different accounts, people are used to seeing you as the face of the company.
By having a regular presence on your company’s social accounts, you help build trust and authenticity with your audience and add a human touch to your work. Your business isn’t just another business, it’s a product and service with a real person and story behind it.
Still, you should mostly stick to content that relates to your business in some way. Here are a few ideas for founders looking to weave their own lives into a business account:
- Display business trips or events related to your product or service. Vacation photos wouldn’t be appropriate for every business, but a recent post on swimwear company Mara Hoffman’s account shows the founder on a beach. It works because she wears one of the company’s suits and connects her experience with the brand.
- Film content behind the scenes. The founder of wellness food company Golde recently posted a random insider glimpse of a photo shoot, an approach that can make customers feel extra invested in seeing the company’s products come to life.
- Present your dog or child in the office. This approach works perfectly for Sonshine Baths, which was founded because founder Tuanieha Simms couldn’t find a skincare solution for her son. He’s a regular on Sonshine’s Instagram — but even personal posts like this are connected to the business in some way.
The stand alone business
- How much does my company depend on my personal image? Do I want my company to rely on my personal image? I want them to be mostly separate.
- Do the audiences of my personal brand and my corporate brand overlap? Not really.
- What is my audience searching for in my work and personal accounts? Are they similar or very different? They are looking for different things.
- Does it make sense to share personal updates with my business audience? Rarely.
In this case, you and your company are separate entities. There isn’t much overlap in the target audience, and you want to separate your personal brand from that of the company as much as possible.
To establish your business independently, build a standalone brand for it instead of lending your persona. Create and use a different personality and voice unique to the brand.
Of course, there is also space for your presence, as long as it is directly related to your work.
Here are a few examples of business-focused content ideas:
- Tell us about your founding story. Shawn Askinosia changed his career and brought his daughter with him when he started Askinosie Chocolate. Most of the company’s social media focuses on chocolate, but here he shares the inspirational story behind the company’s origins.
- Show how you use your product as a customer. Olive oil company Brightland has its own brand, but its “Founder” Story Highlight founder Aishwarya Iyer shares some of her favorite recipes.
- Film a teaser video talking about a new product or launch. Farmgirl Flowers’ social accounts are more dedicated to her flowers than her founder, but she’s making an appearance here presenting one of the company’s Thanksgiving arrangements.
For every company
Remember, someone follows your business account to learn more about your business. Take the time to think about what your followers are looking for and the role you want your business to play in their lives. By treating your brand as its own personality, it becomes easier to decide what personal content is relevant.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- Does this affect my company?
- Will my audience be interested or benefit from it?
- Is it authentic to my business?
And finally, remember that your audience is always your best indicator. Do they love more personal posts or do they tend to scroll by? Keep an eye on your metrics to see what type of content your audience is engaging with the most, and then adjust your strategy from there.