Should business owners be on social media?

And my latest article on growing coffee as a houseplant

Notes from Jenn:

  • I bought plane tickets for early Dec to see my family. It’ll be my first flight since January 2020 and my first time seeing my family for the holidays in four years. I am trying not to be too anxious about this.
  • I bought this bug zapper to kill mosquitos but side benefit, it also kills gnats!
  • Zoey is going to be a punk rocker for Halloween. I had originally planned on her being an 80s kid but I ordered a size too large. Maybe next year! Crossing my fingers that she even walks with this on (she hates clothes).

Source request: Coffee pros who have created their own coffee traditions for the winter holiday season. Do you haul all the equipment home? Do you create a unique coffee cocktail every year? How does coffee show up for you in the holidays? Reply here if you’re open to a quick email interview!

📜 Published: The Joy Of Growing Coffee As A Houseplant, where I interviewed pros and hobbyists on the best conditions for growing fruiting coffee plants at home.

🔏 Paid subscribers last week received a personal reflection on my current career goals.

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Should business owners be on social media?

The short answer is yes.

Do business owners need to be on social media? No.

There are also a few other questions related to this:

  • How personal should your business account be?
  • Should business owners be responsible for social media accounts?

The larger, and more corporate your company is, the more it will benefit from having the business owner also be present and active on social media. However, not every business owner or executive should be on it. Some people shouldn’t be holding the reins at all, especially if they’re prone to knee-jerk reactions.

For a small business or a newly started one, it’s possible that one of your many hats is social media manager. Maybe in the future, you want to hire someone but that time is not right now. This is totally fine! And many small businesses do start out this way. I always encourage people to start on a new-to-them network with a personal account just so they understand how it works; then, create a business account.

I don’t know how to emphasize this more: business social media is different from personal social media. There are always exceptions (e.g., you are the sole owner and you have a strong voice, or there is no one else but you). But for the most part, this is a pretty solid rule to follow. An issue I often see is that people will hire someone familiar with social media, and in this usage, they’re familiar with it from a personal perspective. They’re unfamiliar with how it could be different as a business. They don’t understand company voice, branding, customer service, response times, crisis communication, and so much more.

Sometimes, business and personal do cross over. I gave two examples above, and I’ll elaborate here. If you’re the sole owner with some employees and you appear on your business accounts often, then sure, let your voice shine through. But you don’t need to post photos of your dinner or your latest vacation. If you’re the sole owner and you ARE your brand, and your brand has a history of transparency, then it’s up to you how personal you want to get (I do not operate two accounts because I am my business).

Everyone else, though, would be much better off having two accounts. Elevating your personal account CAN help your business if you look at it like a personal brand. You can use it to establish thought leadership on LinkedIn, give behind-the-scenes looks on Instagram, and build up your (company) brand’s reputation on Twitter. It puts a face to the company, which can increase transparency and trust. You could also be part of a larger employee advocacy program where everyone is encouraged to share about the company.

There are cons to being so present on social media, too. Any social media mishap or scandal that involves the owner directly affects the business. And if you are easily offended by customer criticism, you should 1) not hold the keys to the social accounts; 2) not personally respond to comments; 3) work on this issue.

The most effective brand-business owner strategy would be that you have a personal account that boosts your brand account. The next best is that you add some personal touches to your business account (like maybe your interest in plants also appears in your business). And the third is that you occasionally write a business post and then sign off with your name and title in the caption.

I do think more owners could benefit from being present and active on social media, but I totally understand why more aren’t. It takes so much time, and if it’s just you, you’re essentially taking care of two accounts, two strategies, and twice the amount of content.

Reader question: Do you think business owners should be on social media?

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🤳🏻 social media

Twitter: According to an internal report acquired by Reuters, Twitter is losing its most active users. Musk was at HQ today and has until Friday to close the acquisition or the trial is back on.

Instagram is testing adding music to profiles (hello MySpace?) and native scheduling features.

TikTok launched TikTok Academy for marketers. LinkedIn launched audio events.

📤 digital marketing

👀 interesting reads

  • Are Asian Americans people of color or the next in line to become white?: [The title is a little click-baity but the article itself looks at research on Asians and Asian Americans along the premise of “But what happens when we shift the frame from the social scientists who study assimilation and privilege to the voices of the populations we study?” You can also look at the interactive study report.]
  • Mexico’s new racial reckoning: A movement protests colorism and white privilege: [gated but I was able to read it in a private browser] For the vast stretch of Mexico’s modern history, many denied that racism existed here at all. But a growing social movement is challenging that thinking, thrusting discussions of discrimination based on skin color to the fore.
  • ‘You Don’t Look Anorexic’: [NYT Mag gated] New research shows that our assumptions about eating disorders are often wrong — and that many larger-bodied people are starving themselves.
  • Growing Old Online: [Wired gated but free] Millennials, the first generation to be online as kids, are starting to feel like we’ve aged out. Is there a way to age gracefully on the internet?
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philodendron brasil winding down a gold bordered bookcase
My philodendron brasil has made its way from the very top of this bookcase to the floor!