There are more than 500 million active Facebook users. Of course, with the movie The Social Network that number will either increase or decrease the number of users. The one drawback to Facebook is that you must choose either a personal or business profile — they are not the same. A personal profile has more options than a business profile which is why most professionals opt for a personal profile page. However, this may not be a good idea if your family and friends want to “friend” you.
What do you do if you have a personal profile page and your family and friends want to friend you? How do you handle it? Do you really need to know everything that’s going on in their lives? Do your potential customers and clients need to know? How about your business and industry associates? What about your co-workers? Using Facebook can be a sticky situation for some professionals. You may not want your family and friends on your Facebook page. If they post offensive material it could scare off potential customers and business partners.
The selling point of Facebook is that professionals and businesses can use it as marketing tool. You can create fan pages which people can “like” and you can advertise on Facebook. Using these tools can help you increase sales and the bottom line. It’s also a great way to network and build a database of potential clients, collaborators, and partners.
If you opt for a personal page, your family, friends, and childhood schoolmates from 20 years ago can find you, and they may want to be your friend. Is this a good idea if you’re trying to build a business? Probably not. Who wants to know that your cousin Larry and his wife partied every night on their Caribbean cruise? Furthermore, who wants to see the photos from the cruise? Looking at pictures of people in drunken stupors may not be a great selling tactic unless you’re a psychologist who treats alcoholism.
Before you join Facebook, ask yourself why are you joining? Is it to keep in touch with family and friends and to find your long lost high school love or is it to build your business? If it’s the latter, you may opt for a business profile page. If you want all the options that come with the personal profile page, gently tell family and friends you’re on Facebook for business reasons. And whatever you do, use Facebook responsibly!
Who’s on your Facebook? Business and industry associates? Co-workers? Clients? Potential clients? Family? Friends? A combination of all of these? Share.