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8 Tips to Balance Your Personal, Professional Lives on Social Media

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Social Media has become the norm. We’ve heard it time and time again: If you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. This is especially true when you are running a business or providing a service.

Without question, the benefits of using social media in your business strategy are extensive; it allows you to engage with customers and prospects, deepen relationships with existing customers and reach prospects in ways that were not possible a short time ago.

For financial advisors, however, it’s not always easy to know how to present your personal side on social media while maintaining a professional presence, and the lines are often blurred as to what is and is not acceptable to post.

Your profile on social media – while remaining authentic and compliant — must maintain the right balance between your professional and personal side. After all, the more relatable you are, the easier it is for people to trust and connect with you.

So, how do you balance your personal and professional side on social media without going overboard?

The following 8 tips will help you stay on track.

Tip 1: Share something personal…

People like to connect with people. Sharing personal details about your life – such as your hobbies, interests or interesting tidbits about your family life — will help you remain genuine and stand out as a real person. Do you have a favorite sports team? Share it on social media. Did your child’s sports team just win the championship? Social media is a great way to highlight that. Did you just get married? That’s okay to share on social media also.

Tip 2: …but don’t give away ‘TMI’

While it’s important to share something about your personal life, less is often more when it comes to sharing the details. Avoid sharing “too much information” – basically anything that is deeply personal or extremely sensitive in nature. Also, your connections don’t need to know about the mundane things in your life, such as what you ate for breakfast or what you did the night before at a party.

Tip 3: Share something about your industry or company…

Establish yourself as an industry expert by sharing relevant content that helps your connections understand their evolving financial needs. This will not only spotlight your expertise in your field, it will allow you to remain top-of-mind through multiple touch points.

Examples include:

    • Thoughts on how the changes in the market will affect your customers financial needs
    • Explain the impact of new regulations in layman terms to educate your audience
    • Highlight new trends or hot topics in the industry
    • Announce a key activity in which your company participates

Tip 4: …but don’t be overly promotional

Social media is about authentic communication with you audience, and no one likes to read news feeds clogged with ads and overly promotional content about your brand, products and services. Moreover, it can be a huge turn-off to many and may even jeopardize your credibility as a brand.

What is an “overly promotional” post? According to Facebook in an announcement last year, overly promotional posts in news feeds include:

    • Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
    • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
    • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Tip 5: Share something local

With social media, you have the opportunity to share with your connections local news and events that are happening in your area. This will not only help you keep a pulse on your community, but allow you to provide valuable information for others to potentially engage with.

Examples of what to post at the local level include:

    • Commentary on local news stories
    • Events or activities that you are personally participating in (such as a food drive, sporting activity, or fundraising event)
    • Announcements of local community events that may be relevant to your audience (e.g. job fairs or free tax planning workshops)

Not sure about where to source local content to incorporate into your social media posts? Subscribe to local industry publications, follow local bloggers, follow local news sources on Twitter, and/or create Google Alerts for local events.

Tip 6: Share interesting, appropriate photos

Posting photos on social media can be tricky for some. At a recent SIFMA social media event, one financial services executive cautioned advisors not to use Twitter at a party with a phone in one hand and glass of wine in the other — mainly because you never know how someone in your network might perceive a photo of you in certain situations.

A good rule of thumb is to think twice before you post that photo on social media. You wouldn’t want to share something that might put you in an unfavorable light.

Examples include:

    • Photos of you drinking alcohol at a bar or at a party
    • Photos of you showing too much skin on the beach
    • Photos of you in questionable costume gear (e.g. a racy or scary Halloween costume)

Tip 7: Avoid posting negative comments or complaints

Social media should not be used to vent your frustrations or share negative comments about a person, place or thing. Everything you say on social media will follow you, and you wouldn’t want to come across as being vindictive. This would include comments and complaints about current or past employers, competitors, former or present co-workers, or current and past clients.   

Tip 8: Avoid anything you would not feel comfortable sharing with your boss or clients in person

Before sharing any content on social media, consider how you’d feel if your boss or client read or saw what you posted. If it would offend anyone because of the nature of the post – such as foul language, religious views or hotly debated positions about a political candidate – it’s probably best to leave it out.

It’s very easy to jeopardize your social presence by sharing too much or too little or simply not the right kind of content. You can strike the right balance that highlights both your personal and professional side by sharing what is suitable and helpful to your connections. In the end, this will help you stand out as someone your clients can trust – which is essential for providing financial advice.