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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Should I Add My Beer-Focused Instagram Account To My LinkedIn profile?


This is my response to a question originally posed on Quora.

The answer, like lawyers tend to say, is: “It depends.”

Not knowing what you do for a living, let’s assume that your LinkedIn profile is typical, meaning that it reflects the image of a corporate professional.

Would your boss, or a prospective employer, think badly of you for promoting your passion for beer?

Traditional product branding says that you should focus on your unique selling proposition fairly single-mindedly. Your goal is to create a space in the customer’s mind dedicated to your brand so that when they want to purchase something like it, they shortcut all alternatives and go straight to you.

So from a product branding point of view, putting a personal beer account on your professional profile is distracting. It tells an employer that you’re not totally focused on the encyclopedic and ever-evolving knowledge, skills and abilities required to do your valuable type of job.

However, people are not products, and applying the product branding model to an actual human being in the employment marketplace is problematic.

In the real world, people want to work with other people who are “normal,” meaning human, relatable, and interesting. And so (presuming that the rest of your employment profile looks solid) I think an employer would be highly likely to value your personal passion on a topic of interest to many.

Frankly it’s also reassuring to know what people are into on their personal time, given the number of absolute and total freaks that appear to populate our planet.

Some personal branding advisors might question the fact that your passion involves alcohol. However, I think beer (and wine) live in that zone we would call “moderate,” and is therefore not a problem.

If you crafted that beer at home, it would be even better, but that kind of wizardry is not a requirement.

As you said, it goes without saying that drunk vacation photos don’t belong on an Instagram you connect to your LinkedIn account.

Frankly I don’t think it’s a good idea to take drunk vacation photos in the first place.

All that said, I don’t believe most people should connect their Instagram accounts to their LinkedIn profiles. This is because for the vast majority of people, such accounts contain photos of personal interest. Unless your personal brand hinges on being a “personality,” such photos distract from your professional accomplishments.

Frankly, they also make you seem lacking in judgment. I know this may be a controversial statement in a world where people wear jeans and flip-flops to the office. But I am one of those people who believes that there should be a distinction between your professional and personal self, most of the time.

Some people don’t really get that, and they will post links to every single social media account they have, as though some economy were gained by sharing them.

Don’t.

The bottom line is this: If your Instagram account, or other social media account, reflects something worth sharing professionally — then post it.

Otherwise, it’s better for your income to keep the two separate. Even the other account is public, and it is possible for any interested party to find out what you do in your spare time.
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All opinions my own. Public domain photo by Pexels via Pixabay.