The fine line between business and personal: The Trump conundrum

February 9, 2017

 

We were reading the recent news headlines on Donald Trump wading in on Twitter (no surprise there) about his daughter’s label being dropped by a fashion brand.  Nothing massively out of the ordinary there, just a dad protecting his daughter’s interests.  If he was any old dad, that would be seen as fine, but as he’s now one of the world’s most powerful political leaders, the situation is completely inappropriate.

 

That got us thinking…

 

Putting politics aside for a second, we have to ask the question: When is it ok for a business leader/owner to get personal on social media?

 

We’ve all seen it. Brand X gets some criticism and in wades the owner with a tirade defending the business they’ve worked so hard to build.  Or the owner has had a few too many on a Saturday night and up go the photos from their party, thoughts on the political world or allegiances to unsavoury organisations surface.  In some cases it can be laughed off, in others it causes irreparable damage.  So where should the line be drawn?

 

We’re not believers in the thought process that your personal and business social profiles must remain completely separate, there are massive benefits to having staff/founders/managers amplifying your business content and adding a human face to an organisation.  Social advocacy can be an amazing thing for your brand.  It’s simply a case of drawing a line in the sand and knowing when posts are appropriate for the business audience and when they are not.

 

We advise clients who want to post on their own business profiles from time to time to follow a 3-step process to establish how appropriate the post is:

 

Motive

Why are you posting this?  If you are angry, if you are reacting to something or decide (perhaps after a few drinks) that you just have to ‘tell the world’ about your activities… don’t!  It’s simple; if any of these reasons form a part of the motive for posting, it’s unlikely to reflect well on your brand.

 

Audience

Who do you want to reach with the content?  Is it your business audience or a select group?  If it’s the latter, keep the conversation private. There are many ways to have a private conversation (or dispute) that are less public and therefore less damaging to your brand.

 

Relevance

Relevance is a key factor in all social posts and timing is a big part of that.  You might think that jumping on the latest news story and sharing it with your audience to get in ahead of the competition is a great idea.  Sometimes it is, but we would ask you to assess whether your brand has a reason to discuss this news in the first place (search for ‘Crocs David Bowie’ for a classic example of getting it wrong).

 

If you can convince yourself of the requirement to post after going through these questions, go ahead, it’s probably appropriate enough for your business audience.

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