There are two types of business owners in the corporate world. There is the business owner who focuses on building his individual brand, and there is the owner who focuses on building his business's brand, entirely separate from himself.
Let's look at two very different examples: Kim Kardashian and Muhtar Kent. When you hear the name Kim Kardashian, an abundance of information about the woman comes to mind. You've seen countless examples of her brand's marketing, from her personal Instagram, to every episode of 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' being available at the click of a button on YouTube. She is recognized for her socialite status, appearance in various commercials, and endorsements of assorted fashion entities- all regularly displayed in a manner that clearly states that the Kim Kardashian brand is, indeed, about Kim Kardashian. With every appearance she makes, Kardashian is steadily building her personal brand by the day, only causing her empire to grow.
Then we have Muhtar Kent. Never heard of him? Maybe you've heard of his company: Coca Cola. Kent is of the CEO variety to focus on the brand of his company, rather than on his personal brand. When you think of Coca Cola, a different set of ideas come to mind. You think of the target words the Coca Cola marketing zeroes in on: family, tradition, togetherness, nostalgia, friendship, etc. Watching any viral Coca Cola video, there is a clear absence of the brand's heads. Coca Cola has become its own entity.
Two very large presences, Kardashian and Coca Cola, run very different ways to gain the success they have attained.
So how does this translate to marketing for small business owners?
Should you be marketing your business as its own brand, or as a part of yours? As you can see by looking at the two above examples, both work for different reasons. Although becoming successful purely off of a personal brand can be extremely challenging when starting from the bottom. Most successful personal brands spring into life after some initial success, such as with a prominent career as a fitness guru (Jillian Michaels) or chef (Gordon Ramsay). From both of their given professions, Michaels and Ramsay were able to spin their success into huge, personal empires.
Though, as is the case for most small business owners, it is uncommon to start a new small business with any sort of fame to get things moving, thereby making it difficult to gain success purely as a personal brand. Applied to small business owners, branding is all about attaining the perfect balance between personal and business.
How to implement the perfect balance and showcase it on social media:
This isn't to say that there should be no personal branding done. If people are searching your name on the internet, they'll most likely end up at your website- and that's the whole point of branding! You want to label yourself as an industry expert. Seek out interviews to participate in, get in on webinars, write press releases about events you're speaking at, blog, blog, blog, and showcase them all on your company's social outlets. If your customers see you being showcased as an expert everywhere they look on the internet, they'll know they've chosen the right company to give their business to.
Though showcasing interviews and articles you've been featured in is great for your personal brand (and therefore your business's brand) that should be the extent of your personal branding. Leave the pictures of your family's latest vacation off of the company's Instagram. Showing a human side to your business is important, but it's also important to draw a line of professionalism that's appropriate for your individual business. Pictures of you and your employees on Facebook enjoying a catered lunch in honor of a birthday, graduation, or baby shower is a great way to show off the faces of your business without getting too personal. When posting a picture, video, status update, or tweet, ask yourself, "Will this gain me business?"