Q: I see so many influencers posting details of their personal lives on social media and I'm wondering if I should do the same. I'm the face of my small business so should I share personal posts (kids, pets, daily life) on my business account, or keep it totally separate?
Many influencers build their businesses based on their lives, so of course, 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. You may be the face of the company, but you’re also not the sole defining element of it. In most cases, your business accounts should likely be just that: dedicated to business.
That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to keep yourself fully out of the picture. 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 to take will depend on your audience, industry, and goals. Consider the following:
- How much does my business rely on my personal image? Do I want my business to rely on my personal image?
- Does my personal brand and business brand have an overlap in audiences?
- What is my audience looking for on my business account and my personal account? Are they similar or very different?
- Is there value in sharing personal updates with my business audience?
Let’s dive into a couple of scenarios based on what you might have answered:
The Personal Brand Turned Business
- How much does my business rely on my personal image? Do I want my business to rely on my personal image? It relies on a good amount, and I’m okay with that.
- Does my personal brand and business brand have an overlap in audiences? Yes.
- What is my audience looking for on my business account and my personal account? Are they similar or very different? They’re somewhat similar.
- Is there value in sharing personal updates with my business audience? Yes.
In this case, it’s likely that your business is an extension of your personal brand. Perhaps you’re a fitness buff who started a boutique gym, or maybe you run a community for new parents, a category that you and many of your friends fall into.
Your business and personal brands, then, likely have similar audiences, and while they might look for slightly different things on different accounts, people are used to seeing you as the face of the business.
By being regularly present on your company’s social accounts, you’re helping to build trust and authenticity with your audience and adding a human element to your works. Your business isn’t just another business, it’s a product and service with a real person and story behind it.
Still, you’ll want to stick mostly 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:
- Show business trips or events that relate to your product or service. Vacation photos wouldn’t be right for every company to share, but a recent post on swimwear company Mara Hoffman’s account shows the founder on a beach. It works because she’s wearing one of the company’s suits, tying her experience back to the brand.
- Film behind-the-scenes content. The founder of wellness food company Golde recently posted a casual insider look at a photoshoot, an approach that can help customers feel extra-invested in how the company’s products come to life.
- Showcase your dog or child in the office. This approach works perfectly for Sonshine Baths, which was started because founder Tuanieha Simms couldn’t find a skincare solution for her son. He makes regular appearances on Sonshine’s Instagram—but even personal posts like these are tied back to the business in some way.
The Standalone Business
- How much does my business rely on my personal image? Do I want my business to rely on my personal image? I want them to be mostly separate.
- Does my personal brand and business brand have an overlap in audiences? Not really.
- What is my audience looking for on my business account and my personal account? Are they similar or very different? They’re looking for different things.
- Is there value in sharing personal updates with my business audience? Rarely.
In this case, you and your business are separate entities. There isn’t a big overlap in the audience, and you’d like to keep your personal brand mostly separate from that of the business.
To establish your business apart from you, build a standalone brand for it instead of lending your persona. Create and use a different personality and voice that’s unique to the brand.
There is, of course, still room for your presence, as long as it directly relates to your work.
Here are a few examples of content ideas that stay focused on the business:
- Talk about your founding story. Shawn Askinosie changed careers and brought his daughter along with him when he started Askinosie Chocolate. Most of the business's social media is focused on chocolate, but here, he shares the business’s inspiring origin story.
- Show how you use your product as a customer. Olive oil company Brightland has a brand of its own, but its “Founder” Story Highlight shows founder Aishwarya Iyer makes a few of her favorite recipes.
- Film a teaser video where you talk about a new product or launch. Farmgirl Flowers’ social accounts are devoted to their flowers rather than their founder, but she makes an appearance here showcasing one of the company’s Thanksgiving arrangements.
For Every Business
Remember, someone is following your business account to learn more about your business. Take the time to think through what your followers are looking for and the role you want your company to play in their lives. By thinking about your brand as its own personality, it’ll be easier to decide what personal content is relevant.
When in doubt, ask yourself the following:
- Does this relate to my company?
- Will my audience care or benefit?
- 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 on by? Keep an eye on your metrics to see what type of content your audience is engaging with most, and then adjust your strategy from there.