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Managing your Business Contacts on Facebook

by Helen Lee on March 21, 2012

For the past few months I’ve been writing blog posts that encourage you to set up a Facebook page for your business, and not use your personal profile to promote your work.

This blog is a little different, as I’m about to give you some ideas on how to manage your Facebook profile if you have business contacts or customers as friends. Your Facebook profile is you on Facebook as a person.

I’m not going back on my word – you should still set up a Facebook page to promote your business, no doubt about it, it’s unprofessional to set up your business as a ‘person’ on Facebook and unfair to expect your customers to befriend it – but that said, I know that you can end up with a lot of business contacts as friends on your personal profile. This situation can sometimes become awkward; no matter how nice your customers are, you might never have actually met them, and you’re not particularly comfortable about them seeing photos of your nearest and dearest, or your status updates about domestic life!

But there is a way that you can manage your different types of friends on Facebook by creating lists and using them correctly; here’s how.

On the left hand side of your Facebook Homepage, underneath the tabs for Newsfeed, Messages, Pages, Groups, Games, etc. there’s a little arrow and the word ‘more’. Click on that and it expands to show you the word ‘friends’. Hover over that, and you’ll get another ‘more’. Click on that ‘more’ and it’ll take you to another screen. On here you’ll find that Facebook has already created some lists for you, one called ‘Close Friends’ and few based on where you live and work, etc. If you’ll never use some of these, click on the pencil beside it and click ‘archive list’.

To keep this simple, I suggest you work with your ‘Close Friends’ list. Click on this list and it’ll take you to a new News Feed, just showing you things that people in this list have posted. On the top left of this screen you’ll see ‘Manage List’ click on this and select ‘Edit List’

A pop-up box will then appear, on here, click on the bit that says ‘on this list’ and select ‘friends’ from the dropdown.

Now you’ll get a full list of your Facebook friends. Go through your list and click on any people who you are happy to see your whole profile, photos, status updates, the lot. Then click ‘finish’ at the bottom of that box.

Now you’ve got a list of the people you’re happy to share things with, and you now need to make sure all your settings are changed so that only these people can see things.

Go to the very top right hand corner of any page on Facebook and click on the little arrow, then select Privacy Settings. You’ll then see this screen:

Firstly, click on ‘try editing your timeline info’ and it’ll take you to your personal information page:

This page allows you to edit all your personal information that is shown on the ‘About’ page of your Timeline, and it also allows you to hide any part of this information from certain friends. For example, you might not want your business contacts to be able to see your family connections, or where you live. To hide any of this information, go to the arrow to the right of it, click on that, then select ‘Close Friends’. This information will now only be available to the people who are on your Close Friends list you created earlier.

Whilst you’re doing this, it’s also worth noting that you can allow people outside of your friends list to see certain information, for example you might want friends of friends or even everyone to see who you work for (assuming it’s your DJ Business Page!)

Ok now go back to Privacy Settings, we’re going to look at the bit that says ‘Control Your Default Privacy’ – this controls who sees things that you post on your Timeline, including from any mobile devices you use, your iPad, Blackberry, etc. You’ll see 3 big icons (refer back to the screengrab above) Public, Friends, Custom. Click ‘Custom’ and it’ll take you to a pop up box that allows you to change the settings:

Where it says ‘make this visible to’ click that and select ‘Specific People or Lists’ then in the box below that, start typing ‘Close Friends’ and your Close Friends list will appear. Click that, then hit Save Changes.

Now go to your Timeline, to the part where you’d create a new status update or add a photo.

When you click in the box to start typing, you’ll see next to the ‘Post’ button that it’s telling you that this will only be visible to your Close Friends list. Job done!

That’s all well and good, but what if you want SOME of your posts and photos to be seen by ALL your friends? Simple, when you’ve written a post, click on that arrow next to ‘Close Friends’ and select ‘Friends’ or, if you want the whole world to see what you’re saying, click ‘Public’. (If you do this, when someone who’s not your friend clicks on your Timeline, they’ll be able to see that status) You can do this before you post your status, or if you forget, you can always change it afterwards.

I’d recommend that you also go through your photo albums, and decide who can see each one. To do this go to your photos, and where you see the page of albums, below each album there’s that arrow again. Click on that and select Close Friends. (You’re getting good at this now aren’t you?)

You could change the settings for each individual photograph… but life’s too short to be spending that much time on Facebook!

This is just a quick guide to how you can manage your friends list, you can go into much more depth and have several lists of friends and carefully control the information you’re making available to each list, but by following the above steps, it’s a relatively simple way of making sure you keep your business contacts separate from your private life!

And one more thing…. please don’t start sending out a load of business information on your personal profile, keep that for your Facebook Page ;-)

Any questions? Pop over to our Facebook Page and ask for me.

Helen x

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