Social media marketing is good for business — more than 40 percent of digital customers use social media to research products and brands. However, personal social media accounts are bad for business. Here are five important reasons to use a separate business profile, plus best practices on how to set it up.

1. Professionalism and credibility

For your business to be taken seriously, you need to present yourself professionally on social media. A business profile can help lend the credibility your brand needs to foster trust among potential customers. For example, if you run a mom-and-pop business out of your garage, a social business account can make you look like a global enterprise.

2. Privacy and control

You can’t control what friends and family post to your personal social media accounts — and you don’t want clients to see that embarrassing #ThrowBackThursday pic from your college days. Conversely, you probably don’t want potential customers to have access to your personal photos, friend list and contact information. Maintaining separate personal and business social media accounts grants you necessary privacy and control.

3. Multi-user management

Assuming you don’t want employees to access your personal information, only one person can manage your personal accounts: you. Business social accounts allow for multi-user management, often with different, role-based permission levels, so your entire team can promote your company on social media.

4. Paid advertisements

Some social platforms will not allow you to run ads unless you have a business account. This is important because social media offers targeted, affordable marketing for small businesses. Paid ads make it easy to increase your reach beyond your current followers, so don’t limit your marketing capabilities by using a personal account.

5. Useful insights

While personal social media accounts will tell you how many friends, followers and shares you have, business accounts grant access to in-depth insights about your audience. You can use those insights to understand audience demographics, identify which types of posts perform best and improve your social skills for greater exposure, engagement and customer response.

Best practices for setting up business profiles

Follow these tips for creating a successful business profile on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

  • Include your website URL, location and contact information so potential customers can easily get in touch
  • Allow direct messaging to encourage instant engagement
  • Completely fill out your profile, including your business “about” section, so people understand what drives your business, who you serve and what makes you different and better (your unique selling proposition)
  • Use keywords and hashtags in your profiles to show up in searches
  • Add high-quality photos that help tell your story and foster a sense of solidarity between your customers and your brand
  • Add a call to action if the platform allows it; Facebook is one that does
  • Add products and services to your profile, if possible (such as with LinkedIn)
  • Use your logo or other memorable brand visual for your profile image
  • Study competitors’ profiles to identify ways you can make yours better
  • Choose account management roles wisely to ensure control over your social content
  • Apply consistent branding between social platforms for memorable repetition
  • Strive for a professional, yet inviting, profile that promotes your brand values and encourages potential customers to follow you, share your posts and contact you

You don’t need to give up your personal social media accounts to start business accounts. Use these tips to avoid the pitfalls of personal accounts and take advantage of the marketing benefits provided by social media business profiles.

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