Forget Separation of Personal & Professional in Social Media

Personal and Professional Arenas Blur Together

Note: This is the final installment of our 3-part series on findings from the BrandingPays Pulse Survey on current attitudes on mobility and social networking among professionals.

For professional branding, I’m active on Twitter and LinkedIn (with some activity on Google+).  I have, for the most part, reserved my Facebook account for personal friends and family.  Hmmm…big mistake.

The results of our BrandingPays Pulse Survey have made it very clear that my desire to have a personal online realm separate from my professional realm is delusory.

Facebook #1 Platform for Personal Branding Among Active Users

In a survey that focused primarily on jobs and how people were enhancing their chances, I was surprised to find that Facebook was the #1 platform to help you “define or communicate your own personal brand” among active users.  Granted, some people may have locked into the word “personal” and immediately marked Facebook.  But, I would guess that most of the respondents kept branding for job mobility in mind as they responded.

Let’s look at all the results in chart below.


Twitter is a Distant Third to Facebook and LinkedIn

I was surprised that the totals were 51% for Facebook versus 41% for LinkedIn, the professional networking site, since the personal branding question was asked in the context of a jobs and job networking survey.  Because I’m on Twitter so often, I assumed that everybody else was, too.  I was wrong.  Only about 16% of respondents are on Twitter a lot. I wasn’t so surprised, however, to see that only 8% used Google+ often or all the time.  Google+ is new and many people are adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

Most Respondents Seldom Use Google+

A whopping 83% seldom or never use Google+, followed by 73% for Twitter.  Facebook received 32% of the responses and LinkedIn, with 27%, had the fewest respondents who seldom or never used its site.

Your Personal Brand is a Blended View

OK, so what did I learn from this survey?  My big Aha! is that I have to open up my Facebook account so that there are no walls between my professional and my personal persona.  Facebook has improved its privacy controls so I just need to be better about putting people in groups so that I share appropriate content.

Recruiters rely heavily on Facebook to vet job candidates for employers.  Since nothing is really private anymore, you do have to think twice before posting a controversial comment, photo or video.  That doesn’t mean that you have to be bland.  We want to see you as a human being with a personality.  We just don’t need to see how you look when you are totally sloshed at a party.

If you are true to yourself, then how you brand in your professional and your personal worlds shouldn’t be that far apart.  Details on the fringes may change, but your core image should be consistent.

Acknowledgements: I’d like to thank my friend Pam Kline Smith, a Silicon Valley marketing strategist, for co-authoring and analyzing the BrandingPays Pulse Survey.  I’d also like to thank the folks at iCharts ( for helping us create and embed our great web-friendly charts.  


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