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Social media is so engrained into both society and business the differences between what you should say on each platform can often be blurred. If you’re talking to your friends outside of work on Facebook how does this reflect on any potential business contacts you have on there? The last thing you want someone you’re hoping will be your customer seeing is embarrassing photos from the weekend! Even though each social media channel has dramatically improved their security and privacy settings in recent years, it’s still advisable to separate your personas and audience for each presence you have.

Whilst there are no set rules on who you should communicate and engage with on various platforms, the traditional approach still holds a certain weight: LinkedIn is for business contacts, Facebook is for personal friends (with Twitter bridging the gap between the two). LinkedIn requires that you know the person you are connecting with and asks you to identify where you know them from. This should be a good indicator as to the purpose behind the platform – it’s aimed at bringing together contacts and to allow them to network with each other. There is little to no gain in terms of your personal social life. Conversely (although this is gradually changing) Facebook was set up as a way of sharing news, photos, gossip with your friends. Twitter is so ‘real-time’ that it’s possible to be both professional and sociable without damaging the image of either.

The boundaries of business and personal are blurring but it is a good rule of thumb to maintain the original purposes of social networks: LinkedIn = business contacts, Facebook profile = personal friends.

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