When it comes to managing both a professional and personal social media presence, it is extremely important to try and be aware of how you are representing yourself. You don't want to put off any potential clients by acting in a manner that might be misconstrued as unprofessional.
There are two rules of thought when it comes to your personal and professional social media presence. You can keep the two completely separate: using personal to social media account management stay in touch with family and friends, and then using a professional account to appeal to colleagues and patients. Or you can have one social media account that does both. This all boils down to your own personal preference, but it is a big decision to make.
Separate Social Media Accounts
The big appeal of having separate accounts is obvious. Some people want to have personal social media accounts where they can socialize freely with friends and family, and then have professional accounts so their colleagues and patients can engage in conversations with them as well.
For those who want separate personal and professional social media accounts, the big thing you need to concern yourself with is not mixing the two up. There are countless stories about employees who accidentally post something to their company's social media account when they actually intended it to be a private post on their personal account. This can land some companies into some hot water.
Take, for example, the recent news story of a Microsoft employee who was helping to manage the network's Twitter account. At the time, Microsoft had roughly 300,000 Twitter followers. The employee accidentally sent out a tweet bashing political pundit Ann Coulter, believing that he had been sending the message from his personal account. The employee quickly deleted the tweet, but not before the mistake brought the company some severe backlash.
Also, even if you keep the two separated, that doesn't mean that your colleagues and patients can't look up your personal accounts. Privacy settings can help you to a certain extent, but you should still be somewhat mindful of what you are posting to your personal account.
Joint Social Media Accounts
Having joint social media accounts in which you combine both your personal and professional lives is appealing because everything is consolidated. You don't have to worry about accidentally posting something to the wrong account, nor do you have to remember two usernames and passwords for each account. It is, in a way, somewhat simpler to have joint social media accounts, but there are definitely some downfalls.
Keep in mind, though, that you will have to walk a very fine line. Should you or should you not post 50 pictures of your cat napping? This might be cute to your Aunt Sally who just adores felines, but a referring dentist in your area might think it is, well, weird.
Another downfall of having joint accounts is what others might post to your accounts. You may have a friend who is heavy into politics and decides to share his/her feelings with you via Twitter. Even though you had nothing to do with the post yourself, it still could turn off a lot of your colleagues and patients.
Using social media can be a great (and, some would say, necessary) way of taking a business or career to the next level. Social media sites allow us to reach more people than social media account management ever and connect with customers, colleagues, and employers on a more personal level. Ultimately, it is up to you whether you want to have joint or separate accounts. Keep in mind, though, that you are not only representing yourself online, but also your practice.