Social Media: The Dangers of Mixing Business & Pleasure

Do you know what happens when you make a comment on a news story, “like” something, or share something? If you don’t have your privacy settings set up correctly, everyone you’re friends with, or who follows you will then be able to see pretty much whatever you do online. Maybe that doesn’t bother you but it could be a problem when it comes to business.  I can think of a half-dozen business owner friends who’ve had issues with this.

It’s become a practice to search businesses AND people before doing business with them. We all like making sure that we don’t find out something horrible about someone we need to trust. We like finding out good things about those with whom we want to work. But, it happens that we find out unflattering things about people with a simple Google Search. Even worse, people find out bad stuff about us too.

Things can be going along happily on social media. You comment on posts, you share a few posts, you post a funny picture, and then someone makes a derogatory comment and it’s not usually a friend or family member who does so. Usually it’s someone you connected with due to business. They’re sick of reading about your personal issues. You wonder what the deal is since this is your personal Facebook account and it’s your wall! (Never happened to me – everybody loves my stuff).  🙂

Perhaps you’ve made a classic error of mixing your business and personal social media together. Sometimes it happens without us realizing it’s happening. People find us on social media and want to be our friend, and we are too nice to turn them down. Before we know it we have 4000 Facebook “friends” who have unfiltered access to our personal lives and updates. This may not seem like a problem, but it can be dangerous to mix business and pleasure online just as it is in person.

Separating your social media accounts can be difficult at first, but it is more than worth it if you are a prolific social media person and have strong opinions on controversial topics. Sometimes you may determine that you need to instead create new personal accounts and leave the accounts you currently have as your business accounts. When you create separation between your business social media and your personal social media it will make it easier to:

  • Focus on your business — By separating accounts it will be easier to avoid personal distractions while updating your social media accounts.
  • Create better marketing campaigns – It can be awkward to focus on marketing when you know your friends and family are looking and are probably not your target audience.
  • Enjoy friends & family more – When you’re not thinking about business you can socialize with friends & family on your personal social media easier.
  • Organize better for the future – If your business and personal social media accounts are separate you’ll be able to create an exit plan for the future.
  • Avoid offending potential clients – Your clients may not always agree with you on personal matters, and that’s okay. If your business and personal social media are separated you won’t have to worry about that at all.


Mixing business and pleasure is best left for a golf game or an occasional cup of coffee – probably not for social media which should be used for promoting, marketing and expanding your brand.

If you like this sort of thing, stay tuned for Chamber sponsored webinars where we talk about social media, positioning, marketing, and other business topics all of the time.  Past webinars are archived at

About the Author:  Ken Ivey, affectionately dubbed ‘the Web Czar’ by peers – has been helping businesses embrace technology for 27 years. Contact him at or call 920-645-2700.