Separating Personal And Business on Social Media

Posted By Debbie on February 5, 2018

One thing I always advise clients on is separating personal and business on Social Media. Most sites are personal. I wouldn’t invite clients to my personal Facebook account but they are welcome to follow our Facebook Business Page, Twitter, LinkedIn Company Page, etc… I also don’t add friends or personal contacts to LinkedIn (unless there’s business overlap).

I don’t give business contacts my personal phone number or personal email address. I don’t have friends contact me at my business phone or email. These seem obvious but the same is true for social media.

I really do try to keep the two separate. I recommend that. Not everybody is your friend. And that’s OK!

And remember when posts are public.

Tweets are public. LinkedIn posts can be public or just for your LinkedIn connections. Facebook posts have a variety of options but the short version would be: your post on Facebook is likely public or just for your Facebook friends.

All of my Facebook posts (except a couple… over 10 years) are friends only. This is my private, social world. This is my mostly inner circle of people I trust. Every time I post, I eyeball the privacy setting. Will this post be public or just for friends? I check to make sure.

You hear more and more that people Google each other. I do. You might also. They want to see what they can learn about you without asking. Let’s see their tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, maybe even Instagram. Heck, they might have Pinterest if people are still doing that. Business associates might look for a personal website. Personal contacts might try to learn more about your work or business. Expect this!

Here is someone who seems to think his post is non-public.

I landed on a guy’s Facebook wall after he replied to a comment on a Facebook page we both like. His first public post was a picture of a wall of tools. It might have been his cover photo. But the photo had a caption that I could also see.

“I realized that the old photo was visible to prospective employers and while I’m an adult and cool they’re likely not.”

He insults his potential employers. And they will see this. If they check Facebook for someone with his name (and then recognise his face from his profile photo), they can go to his wall like I did. The first post they will see is this one… declaring them uncool and possibly immature.

As I moved through his public pictures and posts on his wall, I think I found the image that concerned him. But it was also there and public, probably a former cover photo. I think he didn’t realise that all cover photos are public and making something a new cover photo doesn’t change the privacy settings on the old one.

I’m not a jerk so I sent a FB message to let him know posts and images he seems to think are private are actually public. I’m glad he thought about his privacy but execution matters.

And your email mailing list too.

I do business with someone who is very religious. He has an email mailing list for his business (which is medical and non-religious). The last time I saw him, he was telling me that he was thinking about sending an email to the mailing list about his church. I said absolutely NOT.

I had a frank talk with him about why we don’t overlap business and personal, especially religion, politics, etc… I told him he wouldn’t want to join my mailing list to hear my ideas and then get an email with a very politically liberal message. Oooo, that sunk in, he saw my point.

I suggested another mailing list for the religious stuff. People can opt in if they are from his church (and his customers) or just interested. Or have cards at the front that people can take if they are interested. But don’t email me this. I will leave the email list and miss your exciting business announcements.


Consider post privacy. Consider your audience. Check carefully. Don’t friend everybody! These are my suggestions.