Specialist insurer Hiscox reports that only 13% of small business owners have no separation between their work and personal social media accounts and only 8% of respondents said they didn’t have a good balance between life and work. The other 92% are lying to themselves.
How many times have you sent a Tweet during dinner? Checked Facebook when the kids were waiting for the story you promised or blew off Sunday brunch to get one more article written and posted? Social media addiction is a problem for everyone, but for the small business owner, it’s even harder to cut the strings. Only 5% of the SMB owners said they didn’t work weekends and an even lower percent banned cell phones from the bedroom or dinner table.
Kevin Kerridge, small business expert for Hiscox says,
“These results highlight the innate drive we see in our startup clients. Starting a small business requires a high level of commitment, and there are few times when they’re not focused on their business and looking for opportunities to drive it forward.”
And it’s not just for startups. Everyone feels the push to post one more time before signing off at the end of the day (be it 5pm or 5am.)
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But let’s go back to the question of separate social media accounts. For many, the brand is their life, so it doesn’t make sense to divide the pot by running multiple accounts. Facebook forces the issue by requiring people to make profiles and businesses to make pages, but what if you’re a consultant by trade, or a freelance writer or designer where you are the whole business.
The real issue is how you use your social media accounts. Studies have shown that followers enjoy personal, chatty bits of information sandwiched in between updates about the company and the products. But your company Twitter is not the place to air your family problems, health issues, or views on politics and religion. Then again, maybe you shouldn’t be putting that stuff on your personal account either.
The problem with having separate personal and business social media accounts is that unless you hide your identity, both of them still represent you. That means both of them represent your business. You don’t have the luxury of writing, “my views are my own and not that of my employer” and I’m not sure that would matter anyway.
If you own a small business, you are your brand and that’s 24/7, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You may be able to balance your work and home life in the real world, but in the virtual world, there’s no such thing. Your customers are always watching.