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Just like any business, I have potential clients that I reach out to in an effort to see whether my services are a good fit. Recently, a potential client, who I had been talking to but hadn’t heard from in a little bit, suddenly “liked” one of my posts on my personal Facebook profile. While this does happen occasionally, I have always used LinkedIn as my primary method of connecting with people on a business level. Consequently, this Facebook interaction caught my attention and sparked my thought process for this blog.
Experts have advised for years that employers use social media to screen applicants and factor in a person’s online presence when considering whether to hire them. This also applies in the B-to-B world; business executives are increasingly utilizing social media as a tool to screen companies they plan to partner with.
Potential business clients expect a company to portray itself in the best possible light. As executives are the public front of any company, the fact is that their personal social media profiles are now also game. They are just as likely to be viewed as the business profile.
What you personally choose to post on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn may say more about your business than your website and PR efforts. Just as social media is used to screen applicants to help provide valuable insight into individuals, it can also be used to provide insight into the lives and personalities of company executives. This can then be projected upon the business. Executives would be wise to carefully consider the types of content they are sharing on these social networks. Some people choose to maintain multiple personal profiles – one of which is truly personal and includes a network limited to family and true friends -- while the other acts as their online business persona.
As I discussed in my last blog article, “Perception Matters”, companies must instill in their executives the importance of careful consideration when it comes to what personal content is shared online, especially when that content is shared publicly. If you are the executive charged with protecting your brand, consider that, in the eyes of prospective partners, the individuals that work for your company ARE your company. The higher a person is in a company hierarchy, the more likely it is that a potential client will review that person’s personal social media accounts when considering whether or not to do business with you.
On LinkedIn, you can see who has viewed your profile. Most members tend to be more business-like, just by the very nature of the network. Facebook, Twitter and other networks, however, tend to be more personal in nature. If you’re an executive at a B2B company, take time to review your personal social media profiles and honestly ask yourself whether you would do business with yourself.
Since most social media networks don’t allow you to view who is looking at your social media profile, you’d be wise to operate under the assumption that every potential client is. Otherwise you may end up losing business without even realizing it.