Mixing Business with Pleasure on Facebook

Over and over again I hear clients and colleagues saying how they don’t want their personal facebook mixed with their business:

“I want my Personal and Business Facebook kept separate”.

They fear to share too much information. Some think unliking your own Facebook Business Page is the answer. I truly do not recommend this and here is my argument why:

Unless your friends and family have no idea what your business is (my example is always… “unless you are running a porn business…”) why would you worry about any business page updates showing up on your personal Facebook news feed.

If you hide what you do for a living in real life, then yes – keep it separate. If you don’t, then share it.

Most likely your family and friends have an inkling what you do for a living, imagine if they knew a bit more??? They might even learn enough to refer a client to you… or become a client of yours themselves.

We always see way more on our own wall/news feed of ourselves than any friends. You will, it is your profile. Friends don’t see near the same amount about you as you yourself do. And maybe they see none if the timing is off.  The average Facebook user has 130 friends, think of the newsfeed popping in everyone’s accounts. We will not see it all, well unless maybe you are the person who visits (stalks) and reads every friend’s wall. But really, how often do you do that? You don’t. Your activity and networking on Facebook is guided by your notifications, newsfeed and now even the new ticker on the right side.

You will click and click to see these, much more than you will to scan through a friend’s every wall post.

Don’t be afraid to let them intermix a little.  It’s alright to post something a little business-y on your Personal  Facebook and the same on your Business Page. Just don’t cross the line of not being professional – on either side.

The next common request I hear is:

 “I don’t want people connected to my business learning about me personally”

Why? What is the harm?   If you were at a Networking event in person and talking to someone new… would you hold back on details about you the person if they asked? Most likely not.  If they get into questions like “are you married, have kids, what did you do this weekend?” What are you going to say? You would never stop and say: “Sorry I can’t answer those questions they are too personal”. You would answer in a way that shares info at a level your are comfortable with.  Why think it is any different for those people you network with online?

Networking on Facebook and Twitter is very much the same as networking in person. The difference is the unknown of not seeing the face of the real person, seeing who you are talking to. If you are being sensible about your private info… it is okay to mingle with people online. The whole point of using social media is to take advantage of the viral and word of mouth marketing and networking opportunities. This does not happen if people are not seeing your updates, your news feed items.

How can you feel safer and more comfortable about missing business with pleasure?

Be sensible about the info your share.

  1. Use a fake birthday.
  2. Use facebook friend lists and block the family from seeing some of your business type-updates and only share the more personal ones with those n your family list.
  3. Be clear on your privacy settings, photo sharing, who can see your profile and the info you place on your profile.  Check your settings for geo-location sharing of info – especially on smartphones.
  4. Get a PO Box, you are in business! For $140 a year you have peace of mind on your home address is safe.

I always thought my family was sick of seeing my biz stuff as occasionally I post biz type updates on my personal profile, but guess what? Most of them love seeing the info. They have told me so:  ”I don’t understand some of it, but it is so interesting.” One cousin loves getting my newsletter – she says she “loves reading about all these new things and wishes she was as smart as I am”. (How can something like that not boost your entrepreneurial ego?) She has also referred clients to me, as she has a good idea of what I do for a living. I had another family member contact me on facebook to ask us to do a research project for him. If I was hiding my business from my personal facebook none of this would happen.

Online networking is done by typing updates… but they should be very similar to what you would say in person to people to make them as effective as possible. Get yourself and your business out there, let people know who you are and what you do – even your friends and family.  Be cautious and safe, but get online and network.

If you are holding back or keeping everything very separated because of the types of fears or concerns noted above or what you perceive as annoyances, be careful and think about the real outcomes of this separation …you could be stopping yourself from meeting your next client, or making a sale.