by Jessica Weimer

People want to do business with people, not brands. I keep reading this phrase over and over as I help  Lorraine with research for her branding presentation in August. It’s an interesting conversation though, and one lots of people are asking about. How should businesses make the decision to separate professional from personal brands?

“Lorraine” and “Roundpeg” used to be interchangeable. When the business started maturing, she made the tough decision to cut the cord and present Roundpeg as what it was becoming: a team effort. There are now separate Twitter accounts for Lorraine, the brand and Roundpeg’  the company.

Where do you draw the line?  How do you decide between your personal vs. business branding? How  and why do you merge the two? It seems exhausting keeping the reigns on two accounts. It’s not as bad as it seems if you approach it with a brainy strategy.

  1. Social media consultant Mari Smith says to balance personal and business accounts using a simple 9:1 ratio. For every nine personal tweets (or Facebook posts) from a personal account, tweet one thing business. From the other way, you should tweet something personal for every nine business related tweets. This is a great way to go about connecting separate business and personal social media accounts. It’s not overwhelming either way, so your personal friends won’t unfollow you because of too much business talk.
  2. Jeff Korhan, online marketing consultant, says in terms of your personal account, your friends and followers value your loyalty, honesty and personality first. That can translate into them putting their trust in your business. Basically, don’t put on a sales face. These days, people will see right through it if they’re not blind. Done right, a personal account can have more impact than a business one.
  3. The Great Office Escape writer Mike Lazear advises to think of yourself (if you’re a business owner) as an “employee that just so happens to call the shots.” With one combined personal and business account, other employees won’t be as willing to put their own personality into social media efforts. If your company employs more people than just you, it’s time to act like they exist. This will also help you out if the opportunity ever arises to further expand your company. Roundpeg’s account retweets employees, whether we’re talking about work, cats or anything else entertaining. The balancing act isn’t so hard.
  4. Professionals that have separate but cross-promotional business and personal accounts agree that the two work together, hand in hand. Chad Pollitt and John McTigue of Kunocreative phrase this as, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Personal postings can help the business, but it also goes the other way. The business account can open doors for your personal brand by connecting you to people and providing opportunities to get in touch. For example, if Roundpeg’s followers retweet about a blog post I’ve written, I thank them from my personal account. It definitely makes for more unique, memorable conversation and not just business-driven politeness.

When Roundpeg wasn’t just “Lorraine’s baby” anymore, new possibilities began to open up. Roundpeg has the best of both worlds by cross-promoting our business and personal brands. The beauty of social media is that it makes it so easy, you just have to know how to use it.