Do you have just one social media presence that encompasses both professional and personal networks, or do you have more than one? As a writer who works under multiple pseudonyms, I have to maintain several. And I’m intimately familiar with the challenges.
I even have days where I feel like I have dissociative identity disorder, bouncing around between different profiles, different names, and different “modes.” I’m more fortunate than some people in that I don’t go so far as to take on different personas. I’m me, no matter where I am in the social media space, and no matter who I represent. Different sides of me might be highlighted more with certain profiles, but at least I never worry that friends and followers on one account might see things posted to another. I’m in a position where I can actually encourage that.
That said, I occasionally have a day when multiple identities get the better of me. Just last week I accidentally tweeted a colleague from my main Twitter profile using an account for one of my pen names. Oops! Fortunately she figured it out, and I caught it quickly too. But imagine the confusion (and potential problems) it might cause if you accidentally shared something personal on a professional account — or worse, your client’s or employer’s account.
Has something like that ever happened to you? How can you avoid it? Let’s look at a few situations when it might make sense to have more than one social media presence or multiple profiles on the same service. And then we’ll explore some ways you can manage these profiles without making a mess of things.
Why Have Multiple Social Media Identities?
Here are a few examples of people who might benefit from multiple social networking profiles.
- Writers / Authors — It isn’t uncommon for writers to publish under multiple pen names. And sometimes the work done under one pseudonym isn’t fitting to be tied to work done under another. In that case, from a marketing perspective, it’s often better to have separate social media identities.
- Personal / Professional Users — There’s something to be said for personal branding. But it doesn’t make sense for everyone. While there’s nothing wrong with having your name tied to a business social media profile (and in fact, it’s beneficial to tie a face to the name), you might also want a separate company account managed by you, employees, and / or contractors. The information you share on each can be very different, and personal sharing can be inappropriate in some business contexts. If you’re trying to keep yourself separate from your business to some degree, multiple accounts might be your best bet.
- Webmasters — Along those same lines, if you’re a webmaster who owns a large number of websites, it might not make sense to have one social media account covering them all. You’ll likely want to promote sites in different ways and network with different groups of people. If that’s true for you, having a separate social media presence for each site or brand, can be beneficial.
Tips for Managing Multiple Social Media Presences
Personally, I fall into all three of these categories. I have my main social media presence where I keep things more personal, but still network with other writers and some folks in the PR and social media communities. I have some site-specific profiles (I own and manage dozens of them across a variety of niches). And I’m a writer who needs to maintain a social media presence under multiple pen names covering different genres. I’ve also managed social media accounts for clients.
While I’ve occasionally slipped up (like the Twitter miss I mentioned above), for the most part I’ve been successful at managing these separate accounts without feeling like I have completely different personalities when moving from one to another. And in most cases, I even cross-promote accounts (separate accounts for pen names is good for marketing, but I have a lot of network crossover).
If you’re struggling with multiple social media identities, here are some tips based on what I’ve learned from my own experiences:
- Don’t try to manage every account individually. It’s too easy to forget to logout before posting an update meant for another audience. Use online tools that are designed to make this easier. For example, I use HootSuite to maintain several Twitter accounts.
- Schedule your time with each social media presence. I find I’m more likely to post to the wrong account if I’m trying to update and monitor several at the same time. Wear one hat at a time. This can be especially important if you manage accounts for clients. It’s one thing to bring your personality to those accounts. It’s something else to confuse their professional network with your personal one.
- Prioritize your social media profiles. It can be difficult enough to have more than one social media presence. But it gets much more confusing when you have multiple profiles on multiple platforms. Prioritize not only the most important presence you maintain, but also which platforms you spend the most time with. The more profiles you have to manage, the less likely it is you’ll have a lot of time for each. Remind yourself that it’s okay to spend more time with one than another. Not every network has the same needs.
- Don’t overdo it. Know when it’s time to walk away. If you try to do too much, all of your social media accounts — and the networks you’ve built — will suffer. If you can’t be there to interact with your readers, colleagues, or whomever else you’re networking with, look for other ways to connect or decide to cut back. For example, if you’re reaching the same people, in different places, with the same information, you can trim out some of those platforms.
Do you maintain multiple social media presences? If so, why? What other tips can you offer to make juggling these accounts easier? Have you ever slipped up and posted something to the wrong account? How did it work out? Can you recommend specific tools to help people organize multiple profiles? Share your tips and stories with us in the comments.