yoga teacher on left. yoga studio on right. thumbs up icon in middle.

As a business owner, social media will probably be an important part of your marketing. As you start to set up your profiles on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media sites you might start to ask yourself whether the profile should be created under your personal brand vs. business brand.

There are two questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Are you using your personal name or your business name?
  2. What type of account are you creating?

Personal brand vs. business brand profiles on social media

We’re going to start by looking at the types of accounts that are available to individual people vs businesses.

On some platforms, especially Facebook and LinkedIn there is a distinct difference between a personal account and a business account. Both types of accounts can post, share, and comment in nearly the same way, but there are some differences.

A personal account:

  • Uses your name
  • Usually features a photo of you for your avatar 
  • Allows messaging to your inbox
  • On LinkedIn, a personal account will show your employment history and education
  • Has one login

A business account:

  • Is named for your business
  • Is called a ‘page’ on Facebook and Company page on LinkedIn, so it’s a bit different than a personal profile.
  • On LinkedIn, a business account will show your employees
  • Gives you more functionality and options for advertising and analytics.
  • Allows you to set up different admins and users to help manage the account.

On Instagram, they make it fairly easy to switch from a personal account to a business account, but on the other platforms they are completely distinct and you need a personal account first to create a business account.

Can I use my name on a business page or account?

Yes, you can name a business page with a personal name

For example, look up Martha Stewart on Facebook and it looks like a personal page (uses her name and photo of her), but it’s actually a business page.

You can use your name and create a personal profile, or use your name to create a business profile.

Should you use your personal name or business name on social media profiles?

This is the real question as it pertains to your brand!

Whether the account is technically a personal profile or a business page, what’s more important is if you are promoting yourself as a personal brand or a business brand. 

  • Is the name of your account your personal name or company name?
  • Do you use your headshot or a company logo for your avatar?
  • Do you use ‘I’ or ‘we’ when talking about what you do?
  • How much personal content do you share?
  • Do you have multiple businesses or side hustles that you want to showcase on social media?

A personal brand vs. business brand on social media will have different types of content. Your type of business and growth plans can determine what’s best.

Consultants and freelancers

Consultants, freelancers or others working alone and under their own name should focus on personal branding.

Coaches, consultants, solopreneurs, freelancers, sole proprietors, and small business owners often have one person who is the public face of the company. For a consultant or freelancer who intends to stay as a one-person shop, there really is no company behind the person – it is all about that person. 

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram accounts can all be set up under your name. 

You will need to decide how personal and how strictly business you want to be with those accounts. On the one hand, showing a human side is important, but if you find a lot of clients or potential clients following or linking to you, you may want to limit the amount of personal information you share. A good guide is to consider is how you act at an in-person networking event. Do you keep conversations all business, or do you prefer getting to know people outside of their business roles?

Small, but growing businesses

Sole proprietors, entrepreneurs and small business owners are often led by one key person, but they may be working under a different name. Whether they are set up as a DBA, an LLC or a corporation there may be one key individual who is the face of the business, especially when it is young and in the start-up phase. 

However, if you hope to grow your business with employees and become a company that is bigger than just the founder, make sure you use social media to promote not just yourself, but the company’s brand.

On Facebook, create a page under your business name in addition to your personal profile. This would allow communication to be business-focused and keep your personal life separate. On LinkedIn set up a business account and mark yourself as an employee of the business.

On Instagram, you have the choice of naming your profile with your personal name or business name. Try to get a ‘handle’ that’s very close or exactly matches your personal name or business name. Think about what type of content you plan to post and make a decision based on that. You can also have more than one Instagram account: one personal and one for the business. Just be careful what gets posted to what!

Let your goals (not your current place) guide you to develop the best brand

While you may only be one person right now, is that where you want to stay? If yes, then build a personal brand. Your personal brand and personal connections are what will fuel your growth.

If you want to build something bigger than yourself then both your branding and online social presence should reflect that in name, look, and content. Work under a company name that is different from your own, and use that business name whenever it makes sense, including your social media accounts.

When you work to create a brand, the goals and aspirations for your business should take the lead even if you are not where you hope to be in the future.