Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

How to Keep Personal Social Media Accounts Professional

DEAR NATALIE: I am the executive director of a well-known nonprofit here in the city. I have a personal Facebook page but don't do much with it because I am afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and having it reflect poorly on my organization. I don't want to make my page "private," because I make a lot of good connections for the nonprofit through Facebook. However, I find myself avoiding it altogether because I don't want to say something that could be hurtful to my brand. Any suggestions for how to navigate the tricky waters of social media? (I find I have the same hang-up about Twitter, as well). -- AFRAID TO SPEAK

DEAR AFRAID TO SPEAK: This is a dilemma that plagues a lot of people in a similar position. Keep your personal page as "work focused" as possible. Meaning, if you wouldn't talk about it at the office to acquaintances, you probably shouldn't be posting it on social media. For example, people don't need to know your political thoughts (this will be divisive) or how you REALLY feel about whatever hot-button issue is making the rounds on CNN or every gory detail from your last doctor's visit. Keep your posts light and positive. Be uplifting and create a sense of community. This will work well for your brand as well as create positive energy around you. 

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Don't have any business cards? Make sure you get other people's and follow up with them within 24 hours to remind them who you and what you are doing, so that if there is a positive connection, you expand on it before they lose interest. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)