Have you ever been scrolling through social media and found yourself overcome by a feeling of cringe?
Someone has posted themselves dancing around their kitchen in their underwear, pointing at thought bubbles that read….”Be Yourself” “Take Risks,” “Dare to Fail,” “Be Vulnerable.”
Being vulnerable and putting yourself ‘out there’ became the buzz phrases of the last decade — unfortunate timing given its coincidental collision with the rise and popularity of social media.
I’m a big fan of Brene Brown’s work, but it feels like some people may have missed her point, purchased the Cole’s Notes version, and THEN…read only the table of contents.
If you aren’t familiar with Brene’s work, in her book, Daring Greatly, she opens with this famous, poignant Teddy Roosevelt quote.
But at times, it feels like Brene’s message has been pushed beyond its limits.
Brene is not suggesting we show up naked at cousin Marty’s bar mitzvah carrying a purse made out of beaver pelt in an effort to become more vulnerable. Vulnerability is simply the act of letting go of your ego and removing the protective layer of metaphorical armour. But for Pete’s sake…keep your panties on!
In Daring Greatly, Brene goes on to say that “Vulnerability without boundaries leads to disconnection, distrust, and disengagement.” But it seems that many people didn’t quite make it past chapter 2.
And that brings me to this week’s topic.
Travel advisors often ask me whether or not I think they should keep separate personal and professional social media accounts. Most of them understand the tenuous tightrope walk between oversharing and misconnecting.
And I’m not here to say I have the answer to this one. I’m not sure there is a correct answer, and I know industry professionals who land on both sides of the argument. But I did want to share my thoughts on the topic and open this up for discussion.
And further to this debate, I think some core facts need to be acknowledged about the key social media platforms
A Facebook business page vs. a Facebook personal page
As far back as 2018, Facebook exec Adam Mosseri admitted that the company was shifting priorities to rank the content found in the newsfeed based on connections between friends and family over media shared in isolation. After all, Facebook is a social platform with an emphasis on the word “social.”
And if that wasn’t enough, the sheer number of Facebook advertisers vying for real estate inside the newsfeed made it almost impossible for small businesses to get any organic rankings. Essentially, unless a company has deep pockets, it’s challenging to get noticed using Facebook’s business pages.
So why even bother with a business page? In order to advertise or use Facebook’s own social media scheduling tool for either Facebook or Instagram, you need a business account. That’s a stipulation of the platform.
But just because you need a Facebook business account doesn’t mean that’s where you have to post your content. My recommendation is to post on your personal account. However, I’m often met with these opposing views when I say that.
Won’t my friends and family get sick of me promoting my business?
Ummm, yes. Nobody wants that. Your job as a travel advisor is to offer up value to your audience. In his book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” Gary Vaynerchuk suggests that you’ll want to offer value with no expectation of anything in return three times more often.
So you shouldn’t be promoting your business at every turn, anyway.
How will I keep my personal life separate from my business life?
The next counter position I hear is concern over sharing one’s personal life with their potential client, and this is where I concede that I don’t have the correct answer.
And it also brings me back to my starting point.
As travel advisors, part of our attraction is who we are. People tend to book travel with people they like, and how do they know if they like you unless they get to know you. I might not give that advice to Joe Parker of Parker Bros. Funeral Homes, but when it comes to travel, why wouldn’t you want people to get to know you? See that you love to take hikes with your dog or that your favourite Netflix binge is Ozark?
Sure, there is a time when too much information is really TMI, but I argue, should you really be sharing things so personal about yourself to 500 of your closest friends anyway?
I dunno? 🤷♀️
An Instagram business account vs. an Instagram personal account
When it comes to Instagram, the same rules apply, thanks to Facebook’s acquisition in 2012. To advertise, you need a business account, but…unlike Facebook, business accounts still get some recognition – at least for now.
The most significant and obvious advantage to having a business account on Instagram is in the ability to review account analytics. That’s simply not available on a personal account.
There are some other notable differences between the two platforms when it comes to personal vs business accounts, and they are:
- A personal and private account will not allow random new followers to view your content without your permission.
- Facebook won’t allow more than one account per person, whereas Instagram allows as many accounts and handles as one has pairs of shoes.
And this leads to the follow-up question many people have…Should I have an account for just my friends and family and then one for my travel business?
Clients book travel with travel advisors they like
This is so true that it deserves repeating. Whether you decide to use a personal account or a business account, keep them separate or merge them, it would be remiss of you not to allow a bit of your personality to shine through.
That’s the essence of what Brene Brown was saying. Allowing friends, family, and clients to peek inside your kimono (As long as you aren’t buck naked underneath) is a good thing. Sharing your thoughts, even if you risk them being unpopular, helps build your brand and show people more of who you are. A little bit of controversy usually gets people talking. Nobody connects with a milk toast personality.
Not everyone’s going to like you, but if you speak your truth…some people are going to like you a whole lot. And the rest…well…Bye Felicia – or is it Karen now? I can’t keep up.
A checklist for rules of engagement
By no means do you have to adopt this list, but you can if you want. It’s mine, and I don’t mind sharing.
- I never discuss politics (or religion) on social media. (well, except the other day when I thought I was replying to a close friend on WhatsApp but didn’t realize I was inside Twitter. Yikes. But yeah, while I love to talk politics, I keep those discussions between my handful of besties and family members who have no choice but to continue inviting me for Christmas.
- You’ll never ever hear me talk smack about any person on social media. Insults may ricochet between my ears like a pinball machine, but they never come out of my mouth or through my fingertips on a social media post. I think that’s probably a golden rule everyone should adopt.
- And I never post pictures of friends and family without their consent. This is exceptionally important, being a mother of two teenagers. I wouldn’t want it done to me. I won’t do it to others.
What do you think?
Do you keep your accounts separate? Do you have a set of rules that you live by when it comes to posting? I admit I don’t have all the answers, and in fact, I’m struggling with a conundrum on my own at the moment.
I started my Instagram account back when I still worked in corporate. The idea of becoming a coach and industry mentor wasn’t on my radar. The username @dianemolzan was taken so because I have a girl crush on Gary Vaynerchuk…I came up with AskTravellingD. Gary was @askGaryVee
But now, my travel industry coaching and education program goes by Digital Travel Academy. Do I change it? I’d love your two cents. Tell me what you think in the comments below. 👇