Is it possible to separate your personal life and work life on social networks like LinkedIn?

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Many individuals join professional social networks like LinkedIn for their own professional development rather than as brand ambassadors for their work.

Over the last year I have engaged with many people on social media platforms and have found it hard to separate the two on some networks such as LinkedIn. In my last position for a membership organisation, I often was personally contacted on LinkedIn and Twitter about the organisation. This led me to think about how, if I should or if I even could separate work from play.

Like many people I know I initially joined LinkedIn for my professional development and to keep in touch with contacts who I have met through networking, events and work. At first I wasn’t too sure what I thought of people contacting me directly about my work seeking more information. But it made sense as people like dealing with people who they can put a face and name to. Inevitably if you work in marketing and are doing your job properly you will probably end up becoming a brand ambassador whether you like it or not. If you do not want to be a brand ambassador for your company then perhaps you should rethink what and who you should work for.

With the explosion of social media not only the marketing team and stakeholders need to be brand advocates – all employees need to be as well. Employers also have to take care in making sure all staff will represent their brand in the right light or at the least don’t do the opposite. This does not mean that every employee has to be out there promoting the brand and company through their social networks, but that they should at least know how to respond and act. For example, if an individual asks for information about their workplace via LinkedIn employees should know how to respond and direct them to the right person who can help in their organisation.

Ultimately, my active use of social media over the years for work and play has highlighted how important it is to become a brand ambassador for my work. To me, this can only be done if I am passionate and believe in the organisation I work for. This is now a key factor in my job hunt for my next London marketing role!

I am interested to hear whether you have had the same experience and/or whether you have chosen to keep the two separate?

The bigger picture

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Think about the bigger picture – especially when recruiting

Recently I was at a Social Media Club event and started talking to a woman about jobs. We both found it very frustrating and quite simply rude when you apply for a job, have several interviews and consequently never hear back, or if you do it is via a generic rejection letter.

Even though it takes time to personally contact applicants it is still  important that you do. For example, a few years back I applied for a job at an agency and had several long interviews with each of the directors. I knew I was up against some tough competition, and since they weren’t too sure whether to go for a senior marketer or someone with a bit less experience, the applicants they interviewed ranged hugely in experience.

The agency took a long time to say which applicant they were taking on and their form of rejection was a plain generic email. Now the generic email part was a bit of an insult. Fair enough if you hadn’t had an interview then the email was adequate, but as I had several interviews I expected at the least an email saying thank you for coming in for the interviews. Ideally, I believe you should ring everyone at this stage to let them know why. I do understand that they most likely did not have time to ring everyone and probably had a similar excuse for the poor email, but to me it’s an example of their poor communication skills.

Now you might be thinking what does it matter? Well to me it does as in all of my jobs from time to time I have had to find and use an agency. When choosing an agency for a project the one key thing I look for and expect is excellent communication skills. Consequently I wont use that agency and not because they didn’t employ me but for their poor communication skills.

The woman I spoke with at the Social Media Club had a similar experience to mine. She interviewed several times for a position and never heard back. Getting tired of chasing them up she eventually gave up. Her less than perfect impression of the business has now hindered her business from becoming involved with them and the business in question could have benefited from this.

It is more beneficial than you think, looking beyond what is right in front of you and thinking of the bigger picture. Sometimes people will simply hold a grudge no matter which way you let them down, however it’s better to know that you have communicated in the best way that you could. And in my experience, especially when recruiting marketers there is a great chance that they could end up becoming a client and/or a business partner, so always have the bigger picture in mind.