Social media profiles (Part one): Individuality within your firm’s social community

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When you’re a professional who’s part of a larger firm, you have a duty to uphold your firm’s brand on social media. Your professional social media profiles must always remain in line with this brand identity…but should they be consumed by the brand, or can you let your personality shine through?

A good professional social media profile should combine both of these ideals: the overarching brand of the firm must be considered, but you, as an individual professional, should also be recognisable as an individual. After all, it’s the collective sum of individual professionals at your firm that makes your firm what it is.

This may seem difficult, and the truth is that it can be. You walk a fine line here – personal and firm identity. This blog is part one of an introduction to social media profiles and your professional workplace: individual social profiles, professional profiles and the relationship between the two.

Carving out your professional social identity

Many professionals opt for two different social media profiles on any given site. One for their personal life, used for connecting with friends and family, and then one for their professional life. This social profile is dedicated to business – both their personal business goals and their identity as part of a firm.

Your firm should most definitely know about your professional social media accounts. In fact, they may ask for them (or even require them) in an effort to maintain their brand among their partners and employees. Many firms provide guidelines for constructing your professional, social profile and provide education and support to their staff to implement them accordingly. This also helps clients to be able to identify firm members more easily, solidifying the brand.

The first step to carving out your identity is knowing where your boundaries are. This will be easy if your firm provides the guidelines mentioned above. If not, ask them about what they prefer on your professional social media accounts. Ideally, you will be allowed freedom to express your own ideas related to your area of expertise, but that coincide with what your firm is looking for.

Another question to ask is  ‘what websites or accounts are acceptable to share from?’ For instance, you may spy a relevant article on Twitter that you want to retweet, but the account in question is one that belongs to or that is affiliated with a competitor. Is this an acceptable source to retweet from?

Your own social media pages need to take these things into consideration. What is best for the firm? What is best for you? What makes sense to your Followers? More often than not, these things will overlap. Consider that promoting your firm’s brand also helps your own branding – it establishes you as part of something larger. It provides credibility both ways.

Also, remember this important social lesson that I’ve discussed before in a different context: don’t spill too many secrets. This applies in two ways: don’t overshare personal information on your professional social media pages, and also avoid spilling professional secrets on your personal social media pages. We have confidentiality agreements for a reason, so be respectful of this.

Now it’s important to understand how to establish a social profile specifically for a firm, as well as the relationship between a firm profile and professional profiles. Look for these topics to be discovered in Part Two of this blog series, coming soon.

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