This week I am going to go back to a blog I wrote a little while ago as I have had several friends contact me who run businesses and also had a message posted on my wall about this issue. It does not look like it is going to go away so I thought I would give you my opinion on it.
When you run a business and are the owner of that business, it is inevitable that you will come in to contact with clients, colleagues and associates. The difficulty comes when these people send you a friend request via your Facebook page.
There are a couple of different options when it comes to managing your personal Facebook account but let me make a couple of points clear that are a fact:

  1. If you have any ‘friends’ on Facebook that run a business, that you know professionally, are clients or met through networking, then your personal page is not PERSONAL. It is now an extension of your business page.
  2. Having business connections on your page means that every single post you put up needs to reflect your business persona. There is no way around this and you need to adopt the same principles that you would on your business page and this includes (but is not limited to):
    1. Sharing your personal views on religion, politics and any other controversial topics like vaccinations or gay marriage.
    2. Using appropriate language. If you have met me, then you will know I am not averse to swearing but trust me when I saw, swearing looks much worse when written and there is no tone or other visible cues that may lessen its impact when written.
    3. Many people that are now your ‘Facebook friend’ may not actually know you very well so consider what you are sharing about your personal life.

Before I launch in to managing those relationships, I would love you to have a read of a blog that I wrote that covers managing your security and settings. Click here to read this blog.
In this blog, I suggest you watch a video that I consider to be incredibly useful. The video is just over an hour long but if you implement all the suggestions in it, you will find managing the different relationships from your personal Facebook profile a breeze. Click here to watch this video.
I watched this video and took the time to implement all of the recommendations that it suggested. It did take some time but now I feel very confident about my lists of Facebook friends and how I can share certain posts with certain lists.
But I don’t want to be your friend!
This is a really common complaint from many people who run a business. They use their Facebook page for personal use and do not want to connect with people they know professionally. Can I just take a moment to say, that is absolutely fine. It can be hard when we are growing our business as we know that having business connections are important but you need to find your boundaries. It is vital that you are authentic and consistent and do not be afraid to say to people
“Sorry my Facebook personal account is private and I use it only for my personal life. If you would like to connect, please check out my business page and drop in the link”.
Remember, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your online presence and you need to feel comfortable with what you share, who you are connected to and what you can say.
It is not for me to say what is right or wrong for you and your business. As the digital life evolves and grows, we all need to explore and discover what is right for us and our business. We also need to be brave and consider revisiting this from time to time to ensure it is still working for us.
Stop spamming me!
One complaint I also hear frequently is people who use their Facebook page simply to sell. If this is you, STOP IT! People will unfriend or unfollow or hide your updates. It is ok to share sales content from your business page but be sure that not every single post is about this. This will annoy people and get them to opt out of not only you personally but also your business. This is not the correct way to manage your online presence. If you are connected to me on Facebook, my profile has a lot of business connections and I do share content from my business page, often when it is free or I think it is useful. But this is not the only content I share. It is all about finding the balance. One way to do this is to look at people you are friends with and consider your feelings about their updates. If you find them annoying, then chances are other people probably do too. If in doubt: LESS IS MORE when it comes to selling from your personal page.
Good luck! I wish you well in creating your authentic online presence.