Kevin is not a dull dude. He’ll show up, he’ll make you laugh and you’ll leave the evening thinking “that Kevin Bratcher – he’s a funny guy.” A few days later the sneaky Instagram algorithm will suggest you follow him and you do.

And then you’re confused.

Because @k.bratcher can’t be Kevin. They look the same, your mutual friends also follow this Insta, but it can’t be right. Kevin seems pretty normal but @k.bratcher is obsessed with chia.

There’s Kevin with a jar of chia butter on his head, there’s Kevin pointing to a bottle of chia oil in a grocery store, there’s Kevin kickin’ his little feet up in front of a screensaver displaying the brand of chia he’s most obsessed with : Beyond The Equator.

Kevin Bratcher is the Director of Business Operations at Beyond The Equator, a retail producer of nutrient rich superfoods (e.g. chia). And @k.bratcher is actually doing something pretty genius. By blurring the line between his personal and professional feeds, he’s able to add some personal levity (cuz, like I said, he’s a pretty funny guy) to BTE’s products and reach a wider audience. It’s micro influencer marketing and it’s working!

Kevin – who has a MBA, btwexplains it like this, “In such a competitive business space you have to fully embrace what you are doing, and it becomes a part of your persona.  If I only worked on BTE from 9-5, it would be significantly more difficult to grow and introduce it to everyone we would like to reach. I have to be the first person to buy into what we are doing before anyone else will.”

So here’s our message to other entrepreneurs unsure if they should promote their product on their personal social feeds – do it. Kevin sells chia and it’s working for him.

According to Kev, he’s been able to “reach consumers outside of standard retail spaces via social media.  A lot of BTE’s customers have become brand ambassadors and use word of mouth to help us grow.”

Here’s 5 indisputable reasons
why entrepreneurs should blur the line between their personal and professional social personas :

1. Tap into your network and reach a wider audience

We were only semi joking about influencer marketing. Your network knows you, trusts you and (if you’re Kev) maybe even thinks you’re funny. If you start promoting a brand you believe in, they’ll be significantly more likely to check it out.

We don’t recommend spamming your friends, family and followers with boring photos of your logo. Instead, get creative!

Going back to our good buddy, Kevin – instead of posting a beautiful but boring product pic on his Insta, he took advantage of national chia day to promote chia … an apparently his insatiable appetite for the seed.

This borderline psychotic post reached Kevin’s followers – bringing a chuckle and chia awareness to people who may not have ever heard of the product.

2. It’s a free place to experiment with your message

Social profiles are a great way to experiment with your message at low risk and no cost. Kevin was able to experiment with the BTE brand and target audience through both his personal channels and @btequator (where he also blurs the lines between pro and personal, re : the account’s profile pic is Kev with a dog).

And in his own words, Kev says to “create trial runs targeting a number of different markets with a number of different ads.  See how they perform over time and hone in on your ideal social media target market.  Your overall target market for your products may not be the same as your social media target market, it depends on what you are selling and how your end consumer uses social media.”

Experimentation in traditional marketing channels is expensive – but on social media it’s free! Does your target audience buy more chia when they see a video of how it’s bottled, or when you tell them which aisle it’s on at the grocery store? Kev knows – and it didn’t cost him a dollar.

3. It’s quantitative

Free is important, but the fact that social media efforts are measurable is the real win.

Let’s take a look at BTE’s company Facebook page : /BeyondTheEquator. There are a lot of great posts here, but since the launch of their page in November 2015 the posts that received the most traction are about the health benefits of chia, product launches (including the nutritional label – smart, imo) and the history of chia.

I could have predicted the first two, but it’s interesting that chia’s origins and historical uses peak so much interest. And because of Facebook likes, Kevin knows his audience wants to know more about this! And we re-enter the virtuous circle of social media marketing – experiment, learn, refine and message (all for free).

4. Add personality to your brand

After talking and working with Kevin I think the only barrier to making your personal feed a great place to showcase your brand is your own creativity.

Let’s examine two Insta posts. In the first Kev is pointing to BTE’s Chia Seed Oil at Langenstein’s (a local New Orleans grocery store) with the caption “First product, first supermarket, first step to world domination! #GoBeyond #BuyBuyBuy”. The second is a beautiful professional photo of chia oil and seeds with a caption about the health benefits of chia oil.

Kevin wrote both these posts and they both performed well. Both have a decent number of likes (89/61) and both created customer traction through comments. But only the first one has personality.

5. Connect directly with customers

This is probably the most valuable benefit of blurring the line between your personal and pro social accounts. Your customers are/will be  much more likely to connect to you – a passionate entrepreneur dedicated to your customers – rather than an info@ email address on your website. According to Kev, “being able to interact with these customers has given us incredible feedback on our products, design, website, and everything in between. I didn’t expect as much interaction as we have had with consumers – on both Instagram and Facebook, consumers let us know how they are using our products, which competitors products they use, which health benefits are most important to them and whole lot more.”

So take it from Kevin, who took the plunge and showed the world he was passionate about chia (aaaaanndd other superfoods) – blurring the line between your personal and pro social accounts is worth it.

We’ll be posting the complete interview with Kevin soon, subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know about chia social media, influencer marketing and other ways to grow your business.

Subscribe to the &SONS newsletter

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Sophia Williams
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