One of your colleagues recently asked:
Can you speak about using your personal social media as an employee of a business while you have your own business – what are the benefits and drawbacks? Are there any things you can do to protect yourself? I believe I saw once that someone had to turn their personal social media over to a company when they left because they had been using it to promote the company. Any tips on navigating the best way to do this?
What a great question!
I can understand where using social media as an employee could raise some concerns.
After all, you never know how your employer will respond.
However, there are steps you can take to be confident in your decision.
🛑 Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. Talk with your lawyer and talk with your company about what is okay and what is not okay for your individual situation. 🛑
I’m a firm believer that transparency benefits everyone. You don’t want to hide your business from an employer. Even if you can keep it hidden, it will always linger over you. Instead, I recommend:
- Telling your employer that you have a business
- Continue using social media like you normally would
If you provide similar services in your day job as you do in your business, then this content will likely also benefit you and the company you’re at.
How does it benefit the company you’re at? Even if it doesn’t bring them, clients, it shows they have experts working for them because of the content you create.
Consult with a Lawyer
Protecting yourself is always a top priority.
You can talk to a lawyer and your employer about your social media. For some industries, such as the financial industry, they have strict regulations over what is and isn’t allowed. Make sure you’re staying compliant – always.
However, in most cases, you likely won’t have to worry if you’re (and not legal advice):
- Posting on your own social media account – not the business’s account
- Not saying anything negative about your employer
- Building your own personal brand
📚 On Brand by Aliza Licht does have a cautionary tale that everyone can learn from. Aliza built a 300k Twitter following for DKNY under the “DKNY PR girl” username. She may have made a mistake by building the company profile, but in the end, DKNY asked her to delete her account when she left the company.
Aliza did delete her account and lost the huge following that she had worked so diligently to build.
Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams
What happens if your employer doesn’t want you to build your personal brand online?
If there aren’t any legal stipulations and their reasons are purely personal, my honest answer is to leave.
If building a personal brand is something that’s important to you, don’t give up on your dreams.
You only have one life to live, and life is short. Find a company that would be happy to support you – there are plenty out there.
The question is: Why would companies oppose employees building their personal brands if they have no valid legal reason to do so?
There are many reasons why, but often, I find that these companies are concerned about their employees getting poached by competitors.
The reality is that if a company is offering a great opportunity and a positive work environment, the employee would have no reason to leave.
If your employer is concerned that your personal brand will make you leave, then they have bigger problems to solve.
We covered a lot of ground in this week’s Dear Katie episode, so let’s recap:
👉 Don’t try to hide anything from your employer.
👉 Consult with the company and a lawyer to see if there are any legal requirements that would prevent you from building your personal brand.
👉 Make sure that you’re using your personal profile for brand building (don’t use your employer’s profile).
👉 If building your personal brand is important to you and your employer isn’t supportive, leave.
That’s a wrap on this Dear Katie question.
Now I want to hear from you. Do you have a question?