Working with companies on their social media campaigns can pose a tricky dilemma for the consultants: on the one hand you’re hired because you know your way around the social media sphere, which of course you do because you’re very active there. On the other hand, you don’t want to abuse your personal social network for your clients. After all, who likes Tupperparty-style personal interactions?
So how much of your clients’ work should be mixed into your own social networks: Blog, Twitter, Facebook? I think we can all agree that full disclosure is the least all of us in the social media sphere need to do. (Here’s a list of my most relevant clients, and I’ll fully disclose wherever a conflict of interest may arise.) But that shouldn’t be all.
I’ve had situations where my business and private activity got mixed up. Partly that’s a good sign, as I often get hired to do stuff I love to do. At other times, there just wasn’t time to set up separate accounts. Sometimes, you forget to log out of your private account and into the campaigns account – it can happen. And frankly, it’s not the end of the world. After all, if I wouldn’t want to be associated with my clients, I wouldn’t work for them.
Still, it feels like all of us – together, or each of us individually – will need to negotiate best practices, guidelines, rules of thumb: Where do we draw the line? What’s ok, what’s annoying, what’s abuse of personal ties and friendships? How many invites to become fans of this new sneaker or that band or this party do we really want to find in our Facebook inbox?
Using Overly abusing your personal friends for work will burn your social capital cost you friendships, and no job is worth that.
So here’s what I think I’ll go by, my personal rule of thumb:
- Facebook: My Facebook is mine, and mine alone. I might decide to post stuff there if I personally care about them. But I won’t run another campaign inside my own Facebook – everything beyond setting up a Facebook page and handing it over is just too socially awkward.
- Blog: I might blog my observations and thoughts on a campaign or project, mostly on a meta level.
- Twitter: I might post a link to a project or campaign, with disclosure. The higher frequency of posts per day allows more liberal handling. Where possible, I’ll opt for setting up a dedicated Twitter account.
For all of these, I’m the only person to decide what I run in my personal outlets, how I run them, and what not to run. I won’t ever post anything a client or third party tries to pressure me into.
All of this is in flux, and will have to evolve over time, but it’s a start. And I’m very curious about your take on all this: How do you go about it?