Facebook Boundaries–Separate Your Personal and Business Lives or Mix it Up?

Sep
2011
21

posted by on facebook, google+, social media, traffic

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Now that Facebook has become such a fixture in both the business and personal lives of hundreds of millions of us around the globe, the question of how to keep your business and personal worlds from colliding on Facebook is one that eventually pops up.

Create a company Facebook Page
The first step is to follow Facebook’s terms of service and use a free fan page or company page to do business on Facebook, and use your personal profile for communicating with your friends and family. Yes, the personal profile is far better suited to engaging with your audience, but there’s no use investing a lot of time and effort building up a business following on your personal profile if it will get you shut down. I personally know of at least one author and speaker who had a huge Facebook following on her personal profile and Facebook shut her down completely.

Once you’ve created your company page, the best way to get an initial influx of ‘Likes,’ is to invite your friends to ‘Like’ your company page. But first you’ll want to get a nice supply of posts in there so that they have something interesting to read and comment on.

Segment your friends into lists
If your Facebook profile is anything like mine, it’s a mixture of family, friends, former co-workers, current business contacts and other random people. In order to create some kind of boundary–if that is what you want to do–you can first segment your people into lists. Going forward you can pop new friends into the appropriate list or create a new list. (Google+ style ;-)

On your profile page click on ‘Account’ in the upper right-hand corner of the page and then click on ‘Edit Friends,’ from the dropdown menu that will appear. You will see a friend’s photo on the left and a ‘Friends,’ button on the right. Click on the ‘Friends’ button and another dropdown menu will appear with several lists along with the option to create a new list.

Let’s create some new lists. You may have current customers and clients, colleagues and prospective customers as Facebook friends. You can decide how you are going to divide people up. Give each list a name and then as you go down your list of friends, click on which list you are going to add them to. Be mindful that when you create these lists that Facebook will sometimes send them a notification that they have been added to a particular list. Just be careful what you name your lists and this information is not for your eyes only.

Choosing who sees which status updates
Now that you have placed your friends in lists you can decide who sees specific status updates. When you send a notification about a company event, your aunt Sadie in Buffalo doesn’t need to see that.

When you click on the box on your profile that asks, “What’s on your mind?” you’ll see a down arrow to the left of the ‘Post’ button. When you click on that down arrow a dropdown menu appears allowing you to select which list you want this update to go to.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of segmenting your Facebook friends into separate lists, or if you are of the mind that you are your brand and that personal and business can mingle happily, then you might want to send a note to those contacts who are interested in your business activities inviting them to join your company page and include a link to it.

Of course, who knows how long these instructions will be valid because Facebook is constantly changing its layout and features, which should serve as a reminder that you don’t own or control your Facebook profile, so always create ways to bring your friends to your blog or website and encourage them to sign up for your email newsletter so that you can stay connected.

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