The differences between social media for professional and personal use

POSTED BY   Laura Baines
31st August 2018

Social media has changed remarkably since its inception, and is continuing to change every day. It started out as a network to bring friends and family together and has developed into a place for businesses and self-promotion. It’s also created a brand new career opportunity as the demand for online marketing grew and social media management roles were born. Something I’m certainly grateful for as I write this!

So how exactly are social media for professional use and personal use different?

When it comes to using social media for your business, the end-goal is different. The aim is always to promote your services and ultimately, make money. This is where internal ads and analytics come in, features that were built specifically for professional use. Learning how to use these tools is something a regular user wouldn’t need to do. Using social media as part of your marketing strategy is challenging, but necessary in the digital age we’re living in.

colourful social media icons

For tech companies entering the industry, there is always going to be competition to stand out and attract business, which puts the pressure on. That’s one of the key differences between professional and personal – you can’t sit back and relax when there’s money to be made.

When writing social content for your business, tone of voice is an important consideration. The way you speak to your friends isn’t going to work for the professional persona you present to your clients.

Put simply, using social media in a professional capacity becomes a job. It’s no longer fun – you have to work hard in order to get the results you want. Especially when building your brand as a start-up, a lot of effort is required in creating content, sharing posts and engaging with influencers. This is the reason why so many companies seek social media support from agencies like us!

We’re all pretty familiar with the way social media works for our personal use. Sharing photos, chatting with friends near and far and generally filling our spare moments with details of other people’s lives. There isn’t much commitment involved and there’s no real obligation to be a part of it – aside from feeling left out when everyone you know is online.

Five people standing and chatting on their phones

If you fancy a digital detox or to disappear from the online world forever, you can. But when you’re running a business, this just isn’t going to work. It’s been found that the majority of customers now look for a company’s social media pages before they look for a website or other contact details. Logging on to find they haven’t been posted on for months doesn’t look like a thriving company!

With company accounts, the success (or lack of it) can be put down to a number of factors: you haven’t found your audience, the content isn’t interesting or your business idea isn’t developed enough. With personal accounts, there isn’t anything to hide behind. A lack of ‘likes’ or interaction with your latest holiday photos or selfie doesn’t point to an issue with something external, i.e. your business, but with you. Or, if we’re really looking at it, other people’s attitudes.

Scrabble pieces on a table spelling out 'facebook'

Although this is a very bleak way of looking at it, it’s no secret that young people in particular look for validation and self-confidence in the amount of likes they receive online, or how many digital friends they have. Seeing others who are a similar age to you, in seemingly similar situations get thousands of likes when you only get a handful can really impact on self esteem.

Of course, seeing a tumbleweed running across your business accounts isn’t fun for anyone, but somehow it doesn’t cut so deep than when it’s your own. The lesson here is to discover how social works for the two seperate functions and own it! Also, not give a shit what other people think, but that’s something for another day…

Don’t worry, we’ll never share details with anyone.

The differences between social media for professional and personal use

Laura Baines

Laura Baines is TDMB's Social Media Queen! After studying journalism and learning the ropes as a freelance copywriter, she now creates and manages social media across all our clients' platforms, building exposure and connections for companies across all areas of technology.

Get in Touch With Laura Baines

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