Twitter. Tumblr. Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. LinkedIn. Google+. Luxury Society. These are some, but not even close to all of the social sites where I currently maintain a *personal* presence. In addition, there are equally as many social profiles that I am newly responsible for managing on behalf of my employer. In order to better understand how the professionals handle this juggling act (and to genuinely pick up a few pointers myself), I decided to ask fashion social media stars Aliza Licht (of Donna Karan) and Cannon Hodge (of Bergdorf Goodman) how they handle it all.
What was the most interesting discovery? Neither devotes serious attention to any personal-level social media presences…their professional communications for their employers always win. Despite the fact that the “always on” approach that these two have mastered comes at a detriment to their own personal social media activities, neither seems to mind. Below, other interesting findings and pointers for social media professionals:
1. How many social media presences do you manage for your company? Do you have anyone supporting you?
Cannon Hodge, Bergdorf Goodman: Bergdorf Goodman is currently active on 12 platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, 5th/58th, Instagram, Pinterest, Weibo, Tudou, YouTube, Hunch, FourSquare, Google+). Support comes from many different angles – from our beauty editor, Felicia Walker-Benson, to contributing blog posts from our merchant team who even email me from Milan and Paris! We’ve all caught the social bug here at Bergdorf Goodman, and everyone is excited to be a part of it!
2. How many social media presences do you manage for yourself or for a personal blog/project?
CH: Just one. (Which one, Cannon? Inquiring minds want to know!)
3. Do you find that your personal social communications take a back-seat to your professional ones?
AL: Let’s just say that my personal Facebook page is very jealous of my work social platforms. Oh, and I have a personal Twitter account with one tweet on it. This makes total sense to me because my Donna Karan social media life is really my stream of consciousness.
CH: To be quite frank, I try to keep a low personal social profile…when I get home, I prefer to unplug, call my mom, cook dinner and read a book.
4. When you have a piece of content (an article, for example) that could as easily be shared from a company account and a personal account, how do you decide which to send from?
AL: If it’s important, I might choose to post on my Facebook. But, more times than not, work wins.
CH: Always work. Almost all of 5th/58th’s blog posts are shared through our social platforms or via Zite. If there’s an interesting article, a post commending my friends or a project that I’m truly proud of, I’ll personally share it.
5. What tools / dashboards do you use most?
AL: Tweetdeck on desktop, Ubersocial on Blackberry, Twitter for iPhone, Tumblr for both Blackberry and iPhone, Pinterest, Instagram and Pose on iPhone.
CH: I use Tweetdeck, WordPress and Google Analytics. We’re fairly hands on when it comes to sharing content because we like that extra level of control. Also, I like the authenticity of a real-time post. It just feels better than scheduling a post through Hootsuite. When I’m on the move, I’ll use Echofon for tweeting and Facebook’s iPhone app for answering service questions and sharing photos of designers and such when I’m in the store.
6. Any tips or other comments to share?
AL: Never underestimate the power of a separate computer monitor to keep abreast of the conversation (via Tweetdeck).
CH: In many ways, social media has changed the world. It’s affected the way we see things and interact with others; it’s made our world a smaller, friendlier and more inspiring place. However, it’s important to unplug for a while and engage in a personal, tactile way. My rule is to always keep my phone in my bag when meeting with friends – our time together is fleeting and the least we can give each other is an afternoon of undivided attention.
While I was talking with Aliza and Cannon, I couldn’t help wondering: at what point do we, as social media professionals, risk spreading our companies (and ourselves) too thin, socially speaking? How many individual profiles, each with its own specific needs, is too much?
For the other professional social media managers out there…how do you handle the balance of professional and personal? What are your feelings on social information overload? Any tips to share?
Photo Credits: Ryan McVay