Should You Mix Personal and Business on Your Blog and Facebook?
When you write a Blog post or Facebook status update about your personal life on your business sites, it sends a message. Is it the one you want to be sending?
Only you can answer that question. In yesterday’s MCP Actions blog post, titled The Ten Biggest Website Mistakes by Photographers, the guest writer listed number ten as, “When looking at other photographer’s blogs, one of the things that turns me off as a reader is too much personal blogging mixed in with their professional work.” I agreed completely with her other nine points and I published the article in full. But I disagree with number ten. I do mix business and personal on both my blog and Facebook.
Last night, hours after this blog post, it struck me like a lightening bolt. I was at the orthodontist office, and was intrigued by the soft-serve ice cream machine, wall of televisions set up with wii games, and the potential cost of braces for my nine year old twins. I picked up my iPhone and I posted the thoughts to my Facebook page. Having reached the friend limit in 2009, I find that many online friends only have the option to follow my business page, so I post most updates there.
Later, as I looked on my Facebook wall, my jaw dropped. My decision to post a status update about “braces” was under attack by a few Facebook fans. One photographer wrote, “I’m confused, is this MCP Actions a business or a personal Facebook account?” and another replied, “I’m confused too Ted – perhaps she put this on the wrong Facebook page – god knows what children’s’ braces has to do with actions!”
To answer the two comments above, “yes, it was on the correct page and yes it is my business account. You did not misread and it was not an error.” I am about more than just “actions.” I have a family, husband, hobbies, etc. I occasionally mention a TV show I love, like Dexter, or that I am at a sporting event, like the Detroit Tigers. I sometimes ask about a product I am interested in, such as “Just Dance for Wii” got more than 100 comments a few days ago. People love interacting, communicating, and feeling like that can contribute or give back. Based on sheer number of replies, off topic conversations usually are the most popular ones on my Facebook Wall.
One lesson I have learned since 2006, when I started MCP Actions, is that “you cannot be everything to everyone.” You need to run your business how it works best for you!
My decision on mixing personal with business…
This was a question I struggled with years ago. I surveyed my readers, asking if they wanted to occasionally see images from my vacations or hear stories about my kids. Most wanted to know what was going on in my life, and expressed how “real” it made me, but a small minority did not. Since you cannot please everyone, and because I did want to share, I made a conscience decision from that point to share some personal observations, images and thoughts on my social networking outlets.
I admit yesterday’s “dental debacle” stung for a moment, as I am human. It was inspiring to see how the other 60-something posters wrote interesting comments or how some even defended my status update. I loved seeing the “likes” pile up on people who supported me.
So should you mix personal and business on your photography site?
Ultimately you need to decide how much of your blog or business Facebook wall will contain personal images and thoughts. Take into consideration your audience, your desire for privacy, your personality, and your need to connect with others at a personal level. Take into consideration that some may buy solely on price, most people buy from people they like. There is a fine line between sharing too much and too little. Having seen this post on Facebook yesterday, you can see this line is different for everyone. Decide what works for you and stand strong! Take ownership of your website, blog and Facebook page and create your vision. No matter what choice you make, it can have repercussions.
If you decide to mix personal and professional on the same social networking platform, remember there are some things that don’t represent you well. For example, writing about how you got hammered this weekend is clearly a poor choice. Posting updates about illegal, immoral or ultra political opinions can reflect badly on your brand and image. Think before you type. Might people find it of interest? Could people be offended by it? Will it represent you well?
What this means for MCP Fans…
In conclusion, some photographers “like” MCP Actions on Facebook so they can download free Photoshop actions, while others want quick access to my blog posts. Many want to learn photography or Photoshop tips and others come so they can get to know me better. As of today 47,000 people “like” MCP Actions on Facebook. I hope most of my followers enjoy the variety on my wall, from a post about Photoshop to a post about a lens buying decision, to a place I am traveling. For those few who do not like that I come as a package, mixed with business and personal, I apologize that I am not the right fit for you. I promise not to take it personally if you chose to “unlike” me or stop reading my blog.
Share your thoughts…
What do you think? How do you conduct your business? Do you prefer business sites that are more personal or completely focused on professional materials?Previous Post: The Ten Biggest Website Mistakes by Photographers
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