The Answer to Setting up Multiple Social Media Profiles

Multiple hatsYou’re a complex person with a diverse set of skills, hobbies, likes and dislikes and friends. You’re a salesperson who’s also sports fanatic with a love of gardening.  You’re a marketing professional with strong political views and a love of cooking and great food. You’re an office assistant trying to break into the music business with your band. How do you showcase all these sides of your life on social media? Should you have more than one Facebook or Twitter profile? Should you set up separate LinkedIn profiles for the different business aspects of your life?

Here’s what I recommend, and in some cases, what’s permitted by the terms of service for these platforms.

Multiple Profiles on Facebook?

No. Setting up more than one personal account is against Facebook’s terms of service and, if they catch you, they could shut down both your accounts AND any pages associated with them. Why? A personal profile is what  you get when you register for Facebook with your email address. It allows you access to pages you manage. It’s how you connect with family and friends, share your personal brand, likes and interests, family photos, and like the brand and celebrity pages you enjoy. The data around likes, interests, and the authenticity of the personal profile is Facebook’s most valuable asset.  Multiple profiles defeat the purpose and confuse the data.

Multiple Profiles on Twitter?

Yes.  You can be as many different people on Twitter as you’d like. If you want to keep your personal feed of sports jokes, political views and television shows separate from your business profile there is nothing in the Twitter terms of service that says otherwise. Think carefully though. If you’ve put your name in some way on both accounts, the odds are that people are going to find both if they search for you, thus linking the two “yous” together anyway. If you’re really serious about using Twitter as a business tool, remember that both online personas will reflect on your personal brand.

Multiple Profiles on LinkedIn?

No. It is clear in LinkedIn’s User Agreement that multiple profiles are a misuse of the service. If anyone turns you in or if LinkedIn finds your multiple accounts they can suspend the service, or at the very least force you to pick one account to use in the future. LinkedIn is meant to be a place to showcase your professional self. This isn’t the place for your love of cooking, unless you’re a chef, of your love of baseball unless you play second base. This is the place to offer up your professional self and network with other professionals. If you wear multiple hats, use the skills, experience and specialties sections to showcase all your different talents. It’s possible to have more than one current employment listed, so use that feature to highlight your current diverse roles.

Multiple Profiles on Google +

Yes. This one is tricky. Each time you sign up for Google you automatically get a YouTube channel and a Google Plus profile as part of the service. You can have multiple Google accounts, but understand that Google plus IS Google. It’s the backbone of its personalization features.  The benefits of a Google Plus account include improved search engine ranking for articles you publish, the ability to show your profile alongside your published articles using authorship markup and different circles of contacts for targeted marketing. If you’re using Google Authorship for improved search results make sure your profile is clearly you, with a real name and a good headshot. Any other accounts should not confuse your audience. Martin Shervington explains Google Plus for Marketing clearly in this podcast. If you are using multiple Google accounts, here’s advice on how to switch between Google accounts easily.

Multiple Profiles on Instagram

Yes. Just like Twitter, it’s possible to have multiple profiles on this image sharing platform if you want to keep your hobbies and interests separated. Since this is a mobile phone app, doing so can be clunky and time consuming. Think this strategy through before deciding to move ahead. There are some apps that can making managing multiple platforms easier, as this blog from Digital Trends outlines, but rest assured it will be a bit unwieldy.

Bottom Line

Multiple personalities? The answer varies depending on the platform. Before setting up and populating multiple profiles on any account I recommend checking the terms of service to make sure you aren’t violating any user agreements. I’d hate to see all your work building connections and content go down the drain. I’d also recommend thinking through how this will support your overall personal brand and business goals. If the bottom line is if you’re worried that something you might post could hurt your business reputation, perhaps you should consider not posting it rather than hoping no one will connect the dots to the other you.

How are you handling your diverse talents on social media? Let me know in the comments, tweet me @suereynolds or post it on my brand page on Facebook, where I share my thoughts on social media marketing.

 

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About Sue Reynolds
Sue Reynolds is the founder and owner of Carmine Media, a web and social media consultancy. She is the manager of social media and web design at R+L Carriers, where she works with businesses and non profits to build their web presence and nurture brand loyalty.

6 Responses to The Answer to Setting up Multiple Social Media Profiles

  1. Dave Glardon says:

    Great topic Sue. Wonder where that came from??? 🙂

    I appreciate you taking the time to go through this with me last week, and then expanding on it in your blog to cover the various forms of social media.

    You know my situation – one very serious profession, and another that’s completely in another world. I wish I could keep the two separate, because both can benefit a lot from social media but the two don’t work well together in the eyes of someone who tends to see the world in black and white rather than shades of gray. But it is what it is, and I am what I am. Thanks for keeping me straight!

  2. Great post! We are encouraged to have a single account as part of being social is sharing more of yourself than strictly business posts. If you have all of your fun posts on another account, you may not be viewed by others as being authentic.

    Another question about Facebook. I use mine for personal use only and have everything set to be hidden to everyone but Friends. I view Twitter and LinkedIn as my business accounts and FB as my personal one. What is your view there?

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      I think you are right on target with your use of the platforms. Facebook profiles are intimate (well, sort of) settings where people expect posts from friends to be personal. If your following there is strictly professional then the answer might be different. As always, it depends on the audience.

  3. Pol Wirtz says:

    My challenge is the following.
    I commute between two countries and spend about 50% of my time in each. One is Luxembourg , whre I am quite active in Facebook and write in three or even 4 languages: Luxembouzrgish, German, French and english, which is quite common among the 2000 friends I have in this very paerticular and very small country.
    At the same time I have an increasing number of friends in Italy. And most of them do NOT unerstand any of the above mentioned 4 languages.
    I communicate with them virtually only in italian….
    Using two separate profiles on Facebook would be so logical.
    Is it possible? And acceptable to Facebook in this increasingly international world ? 🙂 ?

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      First of all wow, what a great problem to have!! Have you thought about using Facebook lists to sort your fiends by language, then targeting your posts just to them in their language? This would be a good solution to your issue without breaking Facebook TOS. Sue

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