Are you undermining or creating synergy between org and personal social media?

brand EvangelistI’ve been ruminating on a communications / social media dilemma that has the potential to be either a major problem or major opportunity depending on how it’s handled. It’s a bit complicated and is going to take several paragraphs to explain, but there’s a pretty good chance you’re facing the same dilemma, so I hope you’ll bear with me…

You, the “Brand Evangelist”  

Since you’re reading this post, there’s a pretty good chance that you are the primary communicator or “brand evangelist” for your organization.

  • You’re the CEO or communications director for your company
  • You’re the pastor or communications director for your church
  • You’re the principal or communications director for your school
  • You’re the director or communications director for your ministry or nonprofit

If you believe in the value and power of social media, you probably have social media profiles for both your organization and yourself on Facebook and Twitter, perhaps Google+ and YouTube, and perhaps even others like Pinterest, Instagram

As the primary communicator and brand evangelist, you probably find yourself sharing your organization’s content on your own social media profiles in addition to your organization’s. You’d be wise to do so. Your shares and tweets expand the reach of your organization to more people and can lead to better search rankings. Plus research has shown people are much more likely to connect in social media with other people than organizations, especially if you compare individuals who use an image of themselves for their profile pic vs organizations that use a logo. (Link?)

However…

This interaction between organization and personal branding is a tricky dance prone to missteps

If you personally retweet/share everything your organization posts, you may undermine the need for anyone to connect with your organization. Why would someone follow your org if they know they’ll get the same info from you?

Even worse, if you personally tweet/share your organization at the same time your organization does, people who follow both of you would get back to back identical posts, which is annoying and appears to be self-promotional. The end result is you could actually damage your reputation and cause some people to stop engaging with both you and your organization.

This post is already pretty long as it is, and I don’t want to jump in and start offering solutions yet. So, let’s just get the conversation started..

  1. Are you the primary communicator / brand evangelist for your organization?
  2. Do you share your organization’s content/announcements on your personal social media profiles?
  3. Are you concerned at all about the potential pitfalls of sharing your organization’s content described above?
  4. What if anything are you doing to ensure that what you do personally with social media creates engagement with your organization rather than undermining it?

Stay tuned as I’ll follow this with another post to discuss potential solutions.

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

10 Responses to “Are you undermining or creating synergy between org and personal social media?”

  1. I am the primary communicator for three organizations. However, my organizations' content is not important to everyone in my personal circles. I agree with all the pitfalls that you mention. I also believe that if you repost a FEW things on your personal places, that carries exponentially more weight. If I'm directly involved with an event, there's a picture that I love, or a story that I think is really meaningful, I'll repost. It is good publicity for my organization as well. Someone who IS interested in the content might say, "I'd like to hear more."

    • PaulSteinbrueck Apr 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks Katie! Good point that in this case less can be more. :)

      I think you're comment gets to the principle that instead of thinking, "How can I get my org's info out to more people?" we should be thinking, "What are the people I'm connected with on this platform going to find valuable?" Furthermore, since we're connect with different people on Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc, it makes sense that we would share more/less/different content from our org with the people on each platform.

  2. Post smarter, not more!

  3. I think that an organization needs a face and a voice. That said, if Main Street Church's twitter account has identical content to Rev. Smith's, but the good Rev also adds in other stuff, you're right that one isn't needed. I think there can be overlap, but if one account is a complete subset of another, that's a problem.

    Imagine a venn diagram. If the church account is one circle and the individual's account is another, I think an overlap of 30% (enough to make you want to follow both) is fine. Each just needs to be separate.

    I can see an advantage to two accounts being identical if (and only if) they're on different networks. This isn't ideal, of course, but I cross post my stuff to G+, Twitter, and Facebook from my primary account at Twitter. When my organization gets big enough, I'll want unique content in each place, but for now, each has its own audience, so I'd rather not neglect any of them.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Apr 12, 2013 at 10:46 am

      "Venn diagram"… ah, I never knew partially overlapping circles had a name. Cool! That's what I'm thinking too.

      For what it's worth, I don't think there's anything wrong with cross posting content to multiple platforms. My philosophy is that each is a different channel, and we want to give people the option to connect with us on the channel that they prefer. But we do need to be aware of the culture & etiquette of each platform which make lead to different formatting, frequency, media types, etc.

  4. I struggle with this as well. My blog started on my domain and as a more personal agenda to share my knowledge. However I decided a few months in that it needed to be separate from me. Although I would be the only person writing the content (at least for some time) it needed a different identity.

    My personal following on Twitter is bigger than my new "brand" I'm associated with. So often I'll retweet a lot of what my "company" posts. Many times however I want to hesitate and wait a few hours before doing this… just so that annoying "double posting" does not occur for those who follow both my personal and company accounts.

    Good topic with great potential for debate. Only time will tell as to how companies, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and everyday people handle the split between channels, brands, and messaging.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Apr 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Stephen, I think waiting a couple of hours is before sharing something that's already been shared on your company's social media profiles is a good idea. I do that too.

  5. There is a big difference between personal and organizational social media. Short and understandable official posts are good to achieve the right target.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Apr 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Thanks for reading the post. In the future, please post your comments with your name rather than targeted keywords, so I know your comment is genuine and not simply a link building campaign.

  6. Social media has improved every genre people online purpose significantly. So it's good to learn personal and organizational viewers are serious about their social media concepts and by making successful social media presence anyone can achieve huge popularity globally. Thanks.