Social Media Q&A- An Interview with Shaleah Dawnyel


As my specialties come together – social media photographer, corporate headshots and online dating photos in San Francisco- I find myself getting asked so many questions from my clients. And while I have a lot to say about how to look great in your business portrait and how to feel your best in your dating photo, I sometimes have to ask an SEO expert when it comes to social media questions.

So I decided to collect some of my recent client’s questions and interview a good friend of mine, small business coach Shaleah Dawnyel. She has always had the ability to explain social media and SEO in a simple and down to earth way. So we spent a bit of time chatting about a few things my clients have been wondering about.

1) I have just launched my new website and I’m wondering what social media sites I should focus on in the beginning as I have limited time.

All social media is not created equally, so the good news is- you probably don’t need them all.

When selecting your social platforms start with the big ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Unless you have a very specialized business that some obscure social platform caters too, don’t bother with it- stick with most well-known forums. Then narrow it down as much as you can- I suggest starting by focusing your efforts on 3-4. Think about where your customers are hanging out. If you cater to internet geeks, g+ is a good idea. If you offer business to business services, LinkedIn is essential. If your brand has to do with design, think about creating boards on Pinterest so people can get a good concept of your visual identity. If you take the time to think this through on the front end, you can avoid spreading yourself too thinly when it comes to actually cultivating these networks.

2) Is there a way to make my Facebook profile completely private? I don’t want anyone I know from work to find me on there.

Man Hiding Face in San Francisco

If you are really worried about your privacy, I recommend picking an alias or staying off social media altogether.

The short answer is- you can’t make Facebook totally private even though they recently updated their privacy settings. You can go through each part of your profile to make it mostly private, but it will still be social- MEDIA. If you want extreme privacy, I say pick an alias. I have friends and clients that work very hard to protect their space by making it impossible for people to tag them in photos without their permission and by never using their real name in any online forum. In this digital age, total privacy is difficult. But if you are willing to put in the effort, you can maintain at least a bit of it.

3) As a counselor, I know I should promote my work through social media but because of the confidentiality of my practice, I would like to keep my business and private life very separate. Do you have any tips for that?

I suggest a big separation of church and state here- make sure you have a professional page.

To avoid your personal details leaking to your clients you need to make sure your personal life is only online to a minimum and/or you are online under a name that only your friends and family know (see previous alias suggestion). Having a professional social presence can be important to establish yourself as an expert in your field and to give people things they can share with each other. I recommend choosing your platforms very wisely here and making sure that you create the kind of content that people would feel good about passing on to others. I recently wrote a blog about tips for social media, and point number 1. “Inform” is all about education. I would focus your social media efforts on that and keep your personal life offline whenever possible.

4) I just started online dating but have photos of myself on Facebook from my past relationship. How do I un-tag and/or delete them in order to move on?

Relationship stuff on social media is just like high school all over again; except now it’s online forever instead of the bathroom wall for an hour.

For process questions you can always type this stuff into your search bar. Here is the short version of the answer and here is the long version.

As a general note I recommend posting relationship photos very sparingly. Things change fast in life and the web is kinda forever. It’s a good idea to be cautious about what is being posted because even when you un-tag yourself, unless you have the person who put it up originally take it down, it still lives online even if its hidden from your feed.

5) Perhaps I’m a bit slow to the game, but do I really need Twitter? Am I missing something?

This reminds me of an old post by my SEO mentor Ariel Davlin called “Everyone hates Twitter, it’s not just you.”

Twitter is known for keeping it short- 140 characters to be exact. So the charm of this thing is that news and updates are being passed around by your network in quick, digestible pieces. Back to the school example- most people are more excited to read little notes in class than long letters. I used to hate Twitter. But then I started using it more and found that I get tons of interesting news from it. Perhaps, if you give it a little time, that blue bird might just grow on you.

Got a burning social media question- Send me an email (