Walking the Line Between Personal Social Media and Your Professional Business

How to Keep Personal Social Media from Affecting Your Business

Social media and the internet are part of our lives and culture, and their importance increases with each advancement. As a small business owner, ignoring the positives social media can provide for your business runs the risk of being forgotten and falling off your market.

Despite this, acting like social media is only positive and can be equally damaging to your business. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of social media for your business, the importance of a social media policy for your business, and general social media do’s and don'ts to help make sure the digital footprints that can be linked back to you and your business stay clean.

Pros and Cons of Social Media for Your Business

Social media can provide ample positive attributes to your business, such as:

  • - Networking opportunities - Your ability to reach out to other experts in your field, learn and have conversations with people in your field, find new resources for your business to use, and find employees and prospects.

  • - Advertisement - Social media ads that can be targeted, announcing new products or services, promotions or sales, and much more.

  • - Customer and client engagement - You can communicate with customers more, which can attract more clients and customers, check and receive reviews to help perfect your product or service, and learn what your customers want and how you can better provide for them.

  • - Larger outreach - Social media can connect you with more than just those in your business’s vicinity. Social media connects you to communities and audiences worldwide, which raises your chances of finding your target audience more easily and increases the number of those within your target audience who can learn about your business.

Resources for Social Media -

We’ve written articles on social media use for small businesses and basics for social media pages like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, so be sure to check those out as well!

Some of the cons that social media can have for your business are:

- Legal issues.

if you or your employees misuse social media pages. If you or an employee of your business posts something others perceive as unfavorable or in bad taste, this could be connected back to your business and can affect your business’s reputation.

- Negative aspects of your business are more open.

Negative reviews and complaints can be seen by more people and spread across social media pages.

- You open your business to misinformation.

The internet runs rampant with misinformation, and this could be information about you, your business, or your employees and can negatively impact your business as a whole.

Using Social Media Responsibly

Even if you don’t use social media for your business, your personal social media pages and those of your employees are still aspects that need to be taken into account. This means that it’s in your best interest as a business owner to make sure you and your employees use social media responsibly.

Ways to use social responsibly are:

- Have your personal social media pages separate from professional social media pages.

- Your personal life is best kept separate from your business to maintain a work-life balance and help manage and maintain your business’ image better if given its own platform to engage with.

- Remember that social media is permanent. Every post, comment, video, or picture will have a digital trail, has the ability to be saved by others, and can be shared on other pages. Deleting a post will not erase it from the internet as a whole, so make sure anything you share you’re comfortable with being permanent.

- Managing privacy settings. Don’t accept every single add or friend request you receive and keep personal social media pages private if you want to make sure your personal and professional pages stay separate.

- Not using social media to air out professional grievances. It is recommended that anything you have to say about an employee or anything an employee has to say about you, or your business is kept off social media. It may feel like a good decision in the heat of the moment but saving it for a professional setting where it can be appropriately handled and mediated is best for all parties.

How a Social Media Policy can Protect your Business

With the risks in mind for what social media can do, implementing a social media policy into your work policies can help you and your employees ensure that social media's risks are less likely to affect the business.

Now, you can’t tell your employees what they can and cannot post outright due to infringing on their rights through the National Labor Relations Act, especially in their personal time.

However, you can inform them of ways to use social media responsibly and make policies that limit their interactions with social media while on the clock.

Some aspects of a social media policy you should include in your business are:

- Guidelines on how to use social media responsibly.

The main goal of your social media policy is to inform those who work within your business how to manage their social media use positively to limit the negative effects of social media.

- Security and confidentiality measures.

Include a section of policy to prohibit those within your business from sharing confidential information from your business, clients, and other members of your business.

- Limit social media use within the business.

As an employer, you can request your employees stay off their phones or other devices they use on the clock and make sure they use work devices only for work-related tasks.

- Rules against defamatory and inflammatory comments and statements.

While employees can speak on social media about “concerted activity," you can make policies that prohibit comments or remarks that can be seen as defamatory or inflammatory towards your business.

Check out these articles for more information on what to include in your business’s policy.

- Why Your Business Needs A Social Media Policy And Eight Things It Should Cover

- What Are Social Media Policies?

Social media use, both professional and personal, can affect your business and its reputation with those you work with and your clients and customers. Making sure you and your employees know how to responsibly use social media and being mindful of the risks it can pose is important to make sure nothing comes back to negatively affect your business, you as a business owner, or your employees.

For help finding out what would be best for your business and navigating how to use social for you, your business, and your employees, contact Comprehensive Consulting Solutions for Small Businesses and we’d be more than happy to help!