Perhaps that title was a little misleading. I want to talk about social media as a general friendship network and social media as a business tool - and how the lines need to be kept clear.
A common "meme" I see on social media is "This is a random egg...friends will share pictures of a random egg, but if you start a business they don't share that."...the post goes on to ask people in a slightly less passive aggressive tone to "give some love to the friends who run their own business."
Some of you who, like me, "are" your brand, with a facebook, instagram and twitter page might well be nodding - "Damn them, they can't even be bothered to share my latest blog!" But is this really fair?
Social media is a powerful tool for business, yes, but it is also used for people who simply want to keep in touch with each other; to share their news; to show relatives overseas that their children have graduated, or celebrate with friends they don't see so often that they've moved house, or eaten a lovely birthday meal. As a brand and as a "user" - you are both.
Remember who your friends are.
Friends and family are not a free marketing team
My friends and family are not people who I've enlisted to do my brand marketing for free. If they want to share one of my "Dr Audrey" posts because they find it useful and think their friends will too - great (and thank you!!), but their role in the life of Mrs Audrey S (my personal side) is to be in the photos making memories that I can then share - should I wish - on my personal "wall", and with my cousins in Malaysia whom I only see at Christmas.
Next time you feel a little aggrieved ask yourself this: How many posts of your friends' work do you share? Actually, firstly, they probably don't share that many because they don't need to talk about their job at xxx, so secondly, instead think about how many of your friends' new dog/new baby/new house posts you share. Privacy aside, those are the things that they are as passionate about as you are about your business...blurring the lines slightly, what about charity causes they are supporting? Do you share those?
The social network is used for social networking - on a personal level too! Don't cross the streams!
When you are your brand, your marketing strategy is to post a regular stream of content, but that is your job. No-one said it was easy. If your friends shared everything you posted, yes, you'd probably be going viral by now admittedly, but that's not necessarily why they are on social media. They don't want their walls which they share with their friends and relatives covered with whatever you are doing next!!
I will always "like" posts from my business social network, and in return they do the same for me because we know that it does "bump" up the visibility of the post itself, but actually a "like" and even moreso a comment(!) from my friends on one of my brand pages means a tiny bit more because it means I connected with them in some way through what I do, and that makes me feel nice...but it's not expected.
Photos of friends are to capture a memory not an "opportunity for likes"!
I'm ashamed to say my husband has had to tell me on occasion "I made that joke for you, not for facebook". I'm careful with what I share through my brand, but sometimes I can't help wanting to (over!?)share some things on my personal page too. Now I ask him first before I post!
I've always been a bit of a poser in any case, but I see my friends shake their heads and roll their eyes if I try and set pictures up too much...they generously let me get away with it - I've done it for 40 years - even before social media and I can't help myself...but again, I try to always remember the actual point - the photo is for me to look back and smile before anything else!
Now I've also learned to ask my friends before I share photos of their children privately, let alone publicly - this (and the earlier) pic included! ...and I know it's a sore and probably hypocritical point, but I struggle with instagram accounts for children unless they are models.
It's always your choice, but think about the reasons why you are posting...what need is there that the quick dopamine fix of a "like" or a "heart" is going to assuage - for now...and can it be better met a different way?
If friends/family are promoting their work and it works for you both, great!
Sometimes my friends join me in my work - 'mum' pictured at tea above made a very beautiful Cinderella when we did a special location shoot for The Chrissy B Show (pt2 - click the photo) I also know that there are a number of entrepreneurs in the family including my cousin who runs Pop up Street Food "Tangy's Tasty Stuff" and my brother-in-law's "Lost Boys Brewery" Photos with them which showcase what we do are always mutually appreciated. But even in photos that go on your personal page - try and spare a thought for everyone on display...I will often forego a photo now if I know someone will hate how they look. With friends it's not about the "likes" but about the experience!
Social media crosses two worlds - the personal network and the public one. I find it helps me to do the following:
1. Keep a personal page (under a different name) as well as a brand page. I will sometimes share something I'm particularly proud of on my personal page through my brand, but generally different things feature on both.
2. My personal page is "locked down" and not "everyone" is my "friend", my brand pages are public.
3. My brand pages "talk" to each other so I don't need to worry about them greatly. A social media presence is essential, but it doesn't need to take over my life!
4. I will always ask if I want to post my friends and family as relating to my work, and I will be aware of what I post personally.
5. I thank my friends when they share a brand post - they have no obligation to do so!
Audrey is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), and the author of "The Leader's Guide to Mindfulness" (2018) and "Be A Great Manager - Now" (2016) She is a CPD Accredited speaker, trainer, and qualified FIRO-B and NLP Practitioner. She is the founding Development Coach and Training Consultant with her training consultancy CLICK Training, and the resident psychologist on The Chrissy B Show (Sky191), the UK's only TV programme dedicated to mental health and wellbeing. She consults, coaches and often presents at National and International conferences in the fields of leadership and team cohesion, as well as being part of the Amity University conference panel. She currently lectures in Personal Development and Mindfulness and provides psychological consultancy in these areas to organisations.
And sometimes, even when you didn't initiate it, it just doesn't work out the way you hope!