Social media has become a way of life — how we get our news, stay in touch with Grandma, and find fun things to do. When it also becomes a tool to market our personal brands, the line between personal and professional can become very blurry.

We don’t believe there must be a line — at least not everywhere.

Successful personal brands are just that: personal. People want to feel that they are making an authentic connection, even if you are trying to sell them a book or course. You make it feel authentic by being authentic. Sharing who you are, what your life is like, in addition to promoting your thought leadership. However, that does not mean sharing your vacation photos with strangers.

Here’s the approach we recommend

Keep the platform you use to connect with family and close friends private. This is where you let your hair down and roll out those vacation pics. For many people, Facebook is the real-life relationship platform. You can occasionally share your work here, but this is where you are primarily connecting with the people who mean the most to you.

If Facebook is your family place, you can create a public Facebook page to connect with readers and fans. This page is where you share your thought leadership, with occasional glimpses of other aspects of your life. It’s authentic because it’s you, with content shaped and directed by your thought leadership. For example, say you snap a cute photo of a squirrel in your bird feeder. It’s content you can share with your friends and family with a personal message, then share it on your page with a message referencing your thought leadership. You give your readers a glimpse of your life and personality, without getting into anything too private.

Instagram is another platform where you can keep two accounts, so your private life is private and your public brand has a rich and interesting outlet. Some of the content will overlap, but the messaging should be written with the specific audience in mind — friends or fans.

We recommend keeping both Twitter and LinkedIn brand-focused, while still showing personality. No need to have private and public accounts on these platforms. They are both very much public spaces.

Here are some ways you can balance your public and private social media.

  • Share something about your children or grandchildren without sharing names or their photos.
  • Share about your travels without revealing exact location.
  • Reveal who you are by sharing memes, articles, videos, and your thoughts on them.
  • Ask friends and family to support your work when you have a new project, but don’t make your personal posts ‘asks’ all the time.

When in doubt, follow Brené Brown on social. She does a great job of being personal and authentic, but keeping a definition between her public and private life… and you can, too!