When Worlds Collide

September 6, 2010

Every time I speak on the topic of using social media to create relationships, someone, inevitably, asks about the separation between church and state or keeping personal and business contacts separate. I understand that many people are very personal and they don’t mix business and pleasure. For me, my worlds are one. I could not draw a line in the sand and distinguish my personal friends from my business friends. My business relationships have been strengthened by creating a personal connection to people – often through Facebook.

Have you ever attended a business lunch where the person that you were dining with jumped right into business. Did you trust them? Did you like them? Did you want to do business with them? Have you ever attended a business lunch where you never actually discussed business, but left the meeting knowing that the other person was now someone that would make an excellent business partner? What was the difference? Did you discuss sports or travel or kids? Did you establish a stronger bond because of your common interests?

Now think about Facebook. How can you connect with business associates in a more personal way? What do you share on Facebook? For me, I share everything. I share information about travel, food, dieting. You know, the stuff that real people talk about. And amazing things happen. I interact with business associates and get to know that they also love vanilla cake with buttercream frosting, Lady Gaga and long walks on the beach…wait this is starting to sound like a dating service. Well in some ways it is like dating. People do business with people and people like to do business with people that they like.

Social media allows people to get to know each other in very unique ways and can lead to some of the strongest business relationships that yield real business opportunities. Facebook, for example, lets people to share personal information, but also allows people to share knowledge. If I post an article that I like, I am, in a way, providing a service to my readers. Not all of my friends will be interested, but the article may be of value to one of my friends. I can’t tell you how many interesting and valuable articles that I have read because of a Facebook posting.

So while the choice is yours, if you are a business person that relies on relationships to make things happen, consider one world, one account. I think that you’ll be glad that you did.